The biggest mistake the average member of a frequent flyer program makes when it comes to using their miles for travel is believing that you just go to your airline’s website, enter the city you’re traveling from and where you want to go, and the website will spit out your options.
It’s a perfectly reasonable expectation in 2017, but it’s not how it works. Different airlines do better and worse jobs at this, of course. Some don’t have all their partners online. Some won’t show all possible combinations of flights.
- Iberia Business Class
American Airlines has been a laggard even compared to United and Delta. AAdvantage started talking about adding booking of partner airline awards to their website back in fall 2011.
- They added Alaska Airlines flights to online award search in November 2011.
- They added British Airways and Hawaiian awards in April 2012.
- airberlin and Finnair were added in October 2012
- Besides that only Qantas and Royal Jordanian were added.
American has finally added another partner to online award search: oneworld member and joint venture partner Iberia.
Iberia awards now show up as options at AA.com.
And they show up even when not searching awards from the U.S. as well.
While United, Delta, and especially Alaska have the bulk of partner airline award searchable on their websites (though none of those are complete), American still does not offer any of their Asian partners online. Search flights to Tokyo or Hong Kong and you’ll see only (lack of) availability for American Airlines flights even though American partners with Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines. American won’t show you awards on Malaysia Airlines using AA.com either.
Similarly their Gulf partners Qatar, Etihad, and Gulf Air aren’t searchable on their website. So if you just use the website to search award availability, you wouldn’t see their options. You’d be largely restricted to Royal Jordanian and British Airways (with its extortionate fuel surcharges).
However it’s good to see Iberia space at AA.com because transatlantic awards using AAdvantage miles are so hard to get. Most of the space you find on Finnair is phantom, ultimately not bookable. American awards are hard to get except in limited spurts. And their primary transatlantic partner British Airways offers both a poor business product and is more costly to redeem for (because of what amounts to a cash co-pay similar in cost to buying an economy ticket). Iberia at least provides another option — with negligible but not no fuel surcharges.
Of course for those of us ‘in the know’ it means much more competition for limited Iberia award space, which I usually find to be most available ten to eleven months in advance of travel.