Via Milepoint, and as promised a week ago by AAdvantage President Suzanne Rubin, the American Airlines website is now capable of searching for Qantas (and its Jetstar subsidiary) award space.
This is especially useful because while the Qantas website itself is one of the great tools for searching award availability — if you want to search for awards on oneworld airlines, American AAdvantage members sign up for a Qantas frequent flyer account (free for folks outside Australia), and it’s great for finding flights on partners like British Airways and Iberia but which does not include Japan Airlines — there is more Qantas award availability offered to Qantas’ own members than to partners. The Qantas website will often show award seats, for instance from Los Angeles to Sydney, that are available to Qantas members but not to American AAdvantage members.
The workaround up until now has been to search for Qantas award space on the British Airways website. If it’s available there, it’s available to American members. But the BA website is clunky at best, and sometimes doesn’t show seats that are available. So having this functionality on the American website is a nice step forward.
Of course, finding premium cabin award space on Qantas can be a real challenge. Australia/New Zealand is the toughest frequent flyer award there is. It’s a long flight with plenty of premium traffic, the airline tends to be conservative about releasing award space. Qantas loads its schedules around 355 days in advance of travel, but American is only able to access those seats 331 days out — so while award space isn’t restricted to right when the schedule opens, the seats that are made available at that time are often claimed by Qantas, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles members befoe American frequent flyers have a shot at them. Nonetheless, 331 days out remains a good time to look for Qantas space, even as I often say it’s not the best time to look on many other carriers.
The Los Angeles – Brisbane route tends to have reasonably decent business class award space. Occasionally you can get first class awards Los Angeles – Sydney or Melbourne right when American opens up access to schedules. But in general Qantas award space to Asia and even between Asia and London can be good. Melbourne-Singapore and Sydney – Bangkok are good routes on which to secure premium cabin award space.