Update: Proof that I am an idiot. I swear I saw CX space but it must have been in my dreams or something, sigh. Anyway, I’m gonna leave all my stupid text in here for posterity, but I’ve edited the post.
British Airways website has long been touted as the go to award search engine for Oneworld award space. I don’t dispute that, but being that I am looking at flights to Asia a lot (even though the idea of taking a preschooler and a lap infant seems insane right now), I am often searching for
Cathay Pacific award space and it’s nice that you can get it on one award using Emirates. I have long used British Airways site to search for Oneworld award space, but a funny thing happened last week when I was searching for Emirates award space on Alaska Air’s site. I realized I much prefer Alaska’s search engine for Cathay award space, or even British Airways award space itself. Here are seven reasons why.
1) You don’t have to log in
Man, do I hate how British Airways makes you log in every single time you want to search for award space. What’s worse, I find they are kind of quick on the trigger to log you out as well. On Alaska’s website, you don’t need to waste that time logging in.
2) It doesn’t take multiple clicks to start searching
There is no reason in this day and age that a website should have a separate search page for paid flights and award flights. It should be as easy as just checking a box that says “use miles”, but it takes multiple clicks to get to the book with Avios page with British Airways. Combined with generally clunkiness, it makes searching for award space pretty frustrating at times, especially when I’m doing hundreds of searches for clients. You can get right to business on Alaska Air’s landing page.
3) It’s easy to start a new search or change parameters
I’ve long found British Airways site super clunky for starting a new search. Finally, finally, they put a “change” button at the top to let you start a new search easily, but it still resets your cabin class to economy every single time. You also don’t need to click through that annoying “do you want a stopover?” page when you are starting a new search. Every click matters!
4) You don’t have to click on every single individual day to search for award space
British Airways claims to show you a week of award space at a time, but that’s not really true, is it? You have to click each individual day to search for space, and it will remember if there was none but you still have to search day by day. Meanwhile, Alaska gives you all that information up front. Compare:
5) Better award calendar
This category isn’t even fair. British Airways only has an award calendar for flights on British Airways metal, and it looks like this:
I mean, that’s pretty useful if you have the amount of Avios needed memorized, I guess? But again, this only applies for British Airways flights so it’s not like I’m getting an overview of CX space with this. Meanwhile, over at Alaska Airlines, as long as you click the “Award Calendar” button:
This award calendar is not as great as AA’s, but it’s still way more useful than British Airways – especially if you’re searching for space on Cathay.
6) It’s not as cryptic whether the award is mixed cabin or not
Take a look at the British Airways graphic from #3. What that isn’t telling you is that the award is mixed cabin (coach to Miami). You have to click once again to reveal that, as shown below:
Come on, man! And it’s not like it clicks and pops up – it clicks, loads, then pops up. Meanwhile if Alaska shows some chair emojis, you know it’s mixed cabin (though you still have to click through to see exact details).
7) Alaska is just so much faster
It’s not even close.
I find now that I’ve been searching for awards for a long time, I keep going to the same tools. That’s great, because you learn and master those tools, but then you sometimes forget that there might be other things out there that work better. Now obviously Alaska is only going to be better than British Airways in niche situations
(searching for Cathay space), but when you are searching specifically for that – do yourself a favor and try it out. You’ll never believe what happens next!