(With apologies to Hunter S. Thompson, but it’s the only way to explain the conclusions in this story.)
James Gilden looks at US domestic airline award availability and online booking and gives the highest marks to Continental.
Of course, Mr. Gilden (1) looks only at a single route, different for each airline (2) over a specific set of dates (3) booking only online (4) and choosing a form of redemption that’s generally low value anyway (domestic coach award).
There’s no way that Continental miles are better to have than United’s or American’s currency.
And all airline award websites are fairly limited in their functionality, even with marked improvements over the past few years. It’s still important to call when you don’t see what you want online.
And really it’s rare that you should be redeeming for domestic coach awards anyway. International business class upgrades is generally the most leveraged use of points, followed by international first class awards. Just try redeeming one of either of those with Continental NonePass miles!