Book American Airlines Awards Like a Pro:
- Part 1 – Introduction
- Part 2 – Types of Awards & Charts
- Part 3 – How Much Will My Award Cost?
- Part 4 – One-way, Openjaws, Stopovers, & North American Gateway Cities
- Part 5 – American Airlines, Alaska Airlines & Hawaiian Airlines for North American awards
- Part 6 – International Award Routes
- Part 7 – Finding British Airways Award Availability
- Part 8 – Finding Cathay Pacific Award Availability using the British Airways website
- Part 8b – Finding Cathay Pacific Award Availability using Japan Airlines’ Website
- Part 9 – Finding Iberia (& European) Award Availability using the Qantas Website
- Part 10 – Finding LAN & South American Award Availability
- Part 11 – Finding Air Tahiti Nui Awards to France & French Polynesia with FlightStats
- Part 11b – Finding Air Tahiti Nui Awards to France & French Polynesia with ExpertFlyer
qantas Award Website
The Qantas website is easier to use than the British Airways website and lets you see a 30 day calendar of award availability for American Airlines, British Airways, and Iberia flights. This makes it a bit easier when searching for awards to Europe.
But it is quirky in that it doesn’t show Japan Airlines award availability (use the British Airways website for that) and that it sometimes shows award availability for Cathay Pacific (better to use the Japan Airlines website) and other airlines, which can’t be booked by American Airlines (also known as phantom availability).
It also doesn’t let you search for all cities (Kansas City is a grave omission), and the results sometimes show mixed class of service (for example, a business class flight could actually have only 1 segment in business and the rest in coach).
If your departure city is not listed as an option on the Qantas website, you can search from a different gateway city and then use AA.com to find you how to get to that city.
But I do like the Qantas website to search for awards on Iberia and for awards to Europe. That’s because the British Airways website tries to route you via London on a British Airways flight, whereas Qantas shows you the American Airlines, British Airways, and Iberia options.
However, Iberia availability from the Qantas website doesn’t always 100% match up with what American Airline agents can see. But you can always double check via the British Airways site. And sometimes you just have to hang up and call back until the agent can book the Iberia flight.
Iberia Departure Cities
Iberia flies to Madrid from the following North American cities:
- Boston, Chicago, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Juan
Iberia flies to Barcelona from the following North American cities:
- New York & Miami
Using Iberia gives you another option to get to Europe from the US. For example, you could:
- Fly from Iberia or American Airlines departure cities in the US to Spain and then connect to other cities in Europe on Iberia
- Fly from the US to London on American Airlines (no fuel surcharges) or British Airways (with fuel surcharges) and then connect to a British Airways flight to Spain and then to the rest of Europe
- Fly from the US to Spain and then connect to a British Airways or Iberia flight to London and then to the rest of Europe
And using Iberia to travel to Africa could save you the fuel surcharges which you would pay if you flew on British Airways.
However, Iberia has no First Class – only coach and business class.
How to find Iberia Award availability
Let’s say I want to find 1 seat from Nashville, TN to Madrid on October 12, 2012 in First Class.
I can search on AA.com, but it won’t show Iberia award availability, and will prompt me to call the reservation department.
So I break up my flight into segments. I’ll first look for award availability from:
- The US to Madrid on Iberia using the Qantas website
- Then the award from Nashville to the US departure city of my Iberia international flight on AA.com
Step 1 – Sign up for a Qantas account
Sign up for a free Qantas Frequent Flyer account.
For some strange reason, Australian and New Zealand residents have to pay to sign up!
Step 2 – Log into your Qantas account
Log into your Qantas account.
Step 3 – Finding availability from the US to Spain
Click on “Home,” then click on “Awards” in the left side menu.
Select “Qantas & Partner Classic Award ” under “Award Type.”
Select a one-way or round-trip flight and enter your destination and origin.
Be sure to click the “Flexible with dates” option to see a calendar of available dates .
Then click “Go.”
You’ll see a calendar of availability. Note that you can’t book any flights in Premium Economy using American Airlines miles
If your date is not available, choose another date in the calendar, and hit “Select Flight”
We soon see the results and find 1 seat from Boston to Madrid on Iberia flight 6166.
So instead of relying on the American Airlines agent to find this flight for you, you can feed this specific flight to the agent to book.
At this point, write down the flight details. For example, I’d write down:
IB 6166 from Boston (BOS) to Madrid (MAD) departing at 19:55 on October 12 and arriving in Madrid on October 13 at 08:45 am in Coach.
Notice that the search results brought back a few different options:
1. American Airlines to London and then take a British Airways flight to Madrid
2. Boston to London and then to Madrid all on British Airways
3. Boston to Paris on American Airlines and then Iberia from Paris to Madrid
Taxes and Fees
Booking an Iberia award using American Airlines miles is fairly cheap. For example, it costs only $50.20 in taxes and fees for an award ticket from Boston to Madrid in Coach on Iberia.
And $78.10 for the return flight from Madrid to Boston in Coach.
You’ll have to pay a $25 telephone booking fee, but it is totally worth that fee to get access to partner airlines.
Calling American Airlines to make the booking
I’d then call American Airlines (1-800-433-7300) and ask them to put on hold (for up to 5 days) these specific flights which I found.
Bottom Line: The Qantas website is great for searching for award seats on Iberia quickly. And you may prefer it for certain other searches as well. Write down the flight numbers and information and call American Airlines to book the flight.