Award flight availability can be a contentious issue among the members of frequent flyer programmes. Certain routes and travel classes are highly coveted and virtual fisticuffs can occur at the drop of a hat. Getting the seats you want can seem more like art than luck sometimes.
We are very lucky to be living in the digital age, especially as frequent flyers. The sharing of information instantly adds so much to airline alliances and partnerships. Being able to earn and redeem points on different airlines is something that was unheard of even 30 years ago.
Airlines Share Award Flight Availability
It’s no secret that airlines share award flight availability. As a member of the British Airways Executive Club, I can happily book flights with Qantas in Australia and vice versa, for example. There are, of course, a plethora of other options too.
You’d be forgiven for assuming members of each programme see the same seats available to snag with points. Well, that is not always the case as you will see below. When logged in to Qantas Frequent Flyer, you can see on 25 December 2023 there are seats from Los Angeles to Sydney in the Business Classic Reward category.
Searching the same route and date in the British Airways Executive Club shows exactly zero flights available. Both airlines are members of the oneworld alliance, so surely the same redemption availability should be presenting, right?
Well no. Airlines will sometimes offer award flight availability to their own frequent flyers and keep it hidden from their partners. This does make some sense, as you’d want to give your own customers first grab at the goodies. However it can be frustrating if you are a member of both programmes and can actually see it in action!
Everything is not always what it seems when it comes to reward flights. Throw in airline revenue management to the mix and what you have is a constantly spinning carousel of ever changing availability.
This is why choosing a frequent flyer programme is so important and so specific to a person’s individual needs. In my case, I moved from Australia to Ireland and had to swap Qantas for British Airways. I haven’t really looked back… except at those Qantas Lifetime Status Credits that will always haunt me!
What do you think of airlines ring fencing award flight availability for their own frequent flyers? Good thing, bad thing? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons.