Quantcast

Seven reasons I prefer the Alaska Airlines award search tool to British Airways

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:

Do those days have availability!?

Do those days have availability!?

Hey, Alaska knows!

Hey, Alaska knows!

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:

Useful...?

Useful…?

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:

Look at that, an award calendar for partners that includes pricing and can be filtered by cabin class!

Look at that, an award calendar for partners that includes pricing and can be filtered by cabin class!

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:

Click.

Click.

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.

Final Thoughts

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!

 




Leave a Comment

  • Brian February 10, 2016, 1:20 am

    If you’re doing a lot of searches I would just bite the bullet and get a better tool (AwardNexus, KVS, EF, etc). It saves a boatload of time

    Reply
    • Joe February 10, 2016, 11:00 am

      No doubt no doubt. I have EF, but don’t really like the interface of AwardNexus or KVS. In the case of the latter I’m probably too dumb to figure out how to use it well. But it’s not a matter of cost it’s a matter of speed, AS has solved my CX search problems

      Reply
      • KVS Tool February 10, 2016, 8:36 pm

        [Awards/AS-MultiAlliance] is actually one of the Method choices in the KVS Tool, so you can enjoy all of the benefits of that Engine at an ever higher speed, as well as clear displays of mixed-cabin itineraries (without the use of “chair emojis” or clicking).

        [KVS Tool 8.0.0/Diamond – Awards/AS-MultiAlliance/US]
        NYC New York Metro NY US = JFK LGA
        EZE Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini BA AR [SAEZ]
        WED 09 Mar 2016 | 1 Seat

        Carrier Flight From Depart To Arrive A/C St Award Availability
        ——— —— —- ——– —- ——– — — ——————
        DL 479 JFK 19:25 ATL 22:10 M88 0 FS- CS- WS~ YS+
        -> DL 101 ATL 21:00 +1 EZE 09:10 +2 764 0 FS- CS+ WS~ YS-
        DL 2047 LGA 20:00 ATL 22:48 M90 0 FS- CS- WS~ YS+
        -> DL 101 ATL 21:00 +1 EZE 09:10 +2 764 0 FS- CS+ WS~ YS-
        AA 1399 LGA 05:35 MIA 08:56 738 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 EZE 07:01 +1 777 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        AA 1301 EWR 05:45 MIA 08:54 738 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 EZE 07:01 +1 777 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        AA 2266 LGA 06:45 MIA 09:56 738 0 FS- CS- WS/ YS+
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 EZE 07:01 +1 777 0 FS- CS+ WS/ YS-
        AA 373 EWR 07:55 MIA 11:15 738 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 EZE 07:01 +1 777 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        AA 200 JFK 08:00 MIA 11:26 757 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 EZE 07:01 +1 777 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        AA 1103 LGA 10:00 MIA 13:21 738 0 FS- CS- WS/ YS+
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 EZE 07:01 +1 777 0 FS- CS+ WS/ YS-
        AA 1311 LGA 12:29 MIA 15:52 738 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 EZE 07:01 +1 777 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        AA 1614 EWR 12:45 MIA 15:59 738 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 EZE 07:01 +1 777 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        AA 1365 LGA 13:30 MIA 16:56 738 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 EZE 07:01 +1 777 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        AA 1621 LGA 15:35 MIA 19:08 738 0 FS- CS- WS/ YS+
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 EZE 07:01 +1 777 0 FS- CS+ WS/ YS-
        AA 65 JFK 15:40 MIA 19:11 763 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 EZE 07:01 +1 777 0 FS+ CS+ WS/ YS-
        AA/YX 4390 JFK 15:40 MIA 20:46 E75 1 FS+ CS- WS/ YS-
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 +1 EZE 07:01 +2 777 0 FS+ CS- WS/ YS-
        AA 1598 EWR 17:20 MIA 20:38 738 0 FS+ CS- WS/ YS-
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 +1 EZE 07:01 +2 777 0 FS+ CS- WS/ YS-
        AA 2240 LGA 21:00 MIA 00:21 +1 738 0 FS+ CS- WS/ YS-
        -> AA 909 MIA 20:00 +1 EZE 07:01 +2 777 0 FS+ CS- WS/ YS-

        Reply
        • Joe February 10, 2016, 8:50 pm

          Alright I’ll bite. Next time I’m in the market for a flurry of award bookings, I’ll try your product. I’ve always been put off by the UI – but everything’s worth a try for science!

          Reply
        • Ben February 11, 2016, 9:14 pm

          The reason GUIs were invented was because massive blocks of text are hard to parse for useful information. I’d rather have a chair emoji than be hunting through sixteen lines of text for one character.

          Reply
          • KVS Tool February 12, 2016, 4:01 pm

            The “chair emoji” cannot (and does not) provide any information about what the mixed cabins actually are, so one still needs to click on each individual itinerary/cabin option to see it, if they don’t use the KVS Tool.

  • PedroNY February 10, 2016, 11:24 am

    Great post, thank you. It is indeed better for a lot of searches! What do you mean by your last paragraph about Alaska being a better tool than BA for CX space?

    Cheers,

    PedroNY

    Reply
    • Joe February 10, 2016, 2:36 pm

      I just mean when I’m searching for Cathay space I prefer using Alaska’s website better! Except I’m a moron, see other comment

      Reply
  • Hank February 10, 2016, 12:57 pm

    Did I miss something here?!?! I don’t see CX as an option on AS.

    Reply
    • Joe February 10, 2016, 2:40 pm

      Proof that I am a moron and should not type after midnight. I swear I saw CX space but obviously I am smoking something…editing entire post now…

      Reply
%d bloggers like this: