New information has been added to the post.

You have to earn points and miles to become an advanced award traveler. It is possible to master the first skill by developing a portfolio of the best credit cards. The second skill is more difficult than the first one.

You can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, American Express Membership rewards points, Citi ThankYou points, Capital One miles, Marriott Bonvoy points, and Bilt rewards points at the maximum value. Award space is where most travelers run into problems.

There isn't a general rule you can follow to make searching for award space simpler. Airlines and award search engines have pros and cons. You can use ExpertFlyer and to find award availability in major programs.

If you don't want to use a service like, we will discuss where you should look for award space. Let's get started.



The best award search engines are discussed in this guide. It is possible to find award space on multiple airlines with the help of ExpertFlyer.

Our beginners guide to award searches on ExpertFlyer can help you get up to speed. You can find award inventory from most major airlines with the help of ExpertFlyer. You can search for up to seven days at a time and then look for multiple cabins in a single search.

If your airline of choice is supported, you should start looking there. The only thing to remember is that the results aren't always perfect, so double check with the airline before you transfer points to book your award.

There is a way to get a better seat.

You can sign up for our newsletter. checks for award space on over 100 airlines. The dates and number of travelers can be searched. You can book award options at

When searching for a business-class flight from Newark to Munich, suggested transferring 54,000 Chase Ultimate rewards points to Air Canada Aeroplan with the current transfer bonus.


The platform doesn't always give the most accurate information, but it's a good place to start your searches. You can purchase a pass for 24 hours or an annual plan.

North American airlines


We separated the guide by geographic region to keep it manageable.

There are a few airlines that are not on this list. If you plan on flying Southwest, JetBlue or Spirit with points and miles, you have to book directly through their loyalty programs and won't have to worry about finding a partner. Revenue-based loyalty programs are used by these airlines.

The easiest carriers to deal with are the U.S. legacy carriers. If you want to redeem United miles, you should always search through United, because they are all tilt towards dynamic pricing.

The lowest pricing band that is normally required to book awards through partners is one of the drawbacks of dynamic pricing. It is not always easy to identify award space that is saver level. If you plan on booking your United flights through a partner like Avianca LifeMiles or Aeroplan, you should look for that partner program.

Air Canada Aeroplan is attractive for business class flights to Europe. If you want to transfer credit card points, compare prices with Avianca LifeMiles.

Fuel surcharges on award travel are related.

European airlines



One of the best ways to fly between the U.S. and Europe with points and miles is in first class. You will need some last-minute flexibility in order to make this happen.

The one-way first-class award costs 87,000 miles. Air Canada Aeroplan awards start at 100,000 points to or from East Coast airports, with flights costing more miles. You can add a stop for 5,000 Aeroplan points on a one-way ticket if you use the program.

The pattern is the same for other Star Alliance carriers. You should always compare Air Canada Aeroplan and Avianca LifeMiles to see which has the best pricing. If you already have miles on hand, you may have an easier time searching for a program if you already have an award.

Oneworld flights to Europe

You will have the best chance of finding American, British Airways, and other Oneworld partner flights to Europe with American AAdvantage. If you want to get the best rates, you need to book with Iberia. British Airways charges per segment based on distance so you will get a better deal booking connecting flights with AAdvantage miles.

You can reduce fuel surcharges on British Airways flights if you book with the Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles program. You would pay a fuel surcharge with other Oneworld programs.

SkyTeam woes

Dynamic award pricing is used by the two largest Skyteam programs. It's difficult to find Sky Team awards.

Awards are still used by Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. You can get 50,000 Flying Club points for booking a one-way Delta One flight from the US to Europe.

There are tips for booking first class awards.

Asian airlines


Singapore Airlines premium cabin awards

There are a few notable exceptions when it comes to award space with Asia-based carriers. Most of Singapore's partners don't have access to long-haul premium-cabin award space. It's a general rule to always search for Singapore Airlines award space on the Singapore website and check the award price on Alaska Mileage Plan before booking with them.

Cathay Pacific flights can be confusing

The airline is not supported by ExpertFlyer. Alaska's website now allows Cathay Pacific awards to be booked. As the program has historically opened more standard award space to its members, you should search there first.

Make sure you’re getting the best deal on ANA award tickets

If you want to fly ANA, you should book with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. The ANA awards start at just 110,000 points. The cost of a ANA first-class flight departing the U.S. is more than 100,000 miles. The tickets can't be booked on the website. You can find saver award space on the ANA or United website by calling Virgin Atlantic.

Off-peak ANA business-class tickets start at 75,000 miles round-trip from the US to Japan. You can book these tickets online. You can visit two cities in Japan for the price of one if you stay elsewhere in Japan. You can get a good deal on off-peak tickets to other destinations in Asia.

SkyTeam isn’t any easier

SkyTeam troubles that apply to searching for flights from the U.S. to Europe also apply here. There are flights with Flying Blue and Delta SkyMiles. You will probably pay a lot of points regardless of the route.

Business class is the best way to travel to Asia.

Other airlines

If you want to fly onSearch for award space with
AviancaAvianca LifeMiles

The United Mileage Plus is a loyalty program.

LATAMDelta SkyMiles

There is a pass called the LatAm Pass.

EmiratesEmirates Skywards
EtihadAmerican Airlines AAdvantage

Air Canada has a plan.

A guest of the airline.

El AlQantas Frequent Flyer
QantasAmerican Airlines AAdvantage

There is a frequent flyer program for Qantas.

The British Airways executive club.

QatarAmerican Airlines AAdvantage

The British Airways executive club.

South African AirwaysAvianca LifeMiles

Air Canada has a plan.

The United Mileage Plus is a loyalty program.

Getting to the Middle East isn’t (too) hard

Many award travelers want to visit the Gulf carriers and their luxurious cabins. You can't fly with Alaska miles anymore. If you want to use your miles to travel on Emirates, you have to use the Skywards program, which is notorious for its fuel surcharges.

You can book the qsuite on American's website. One-way flights from the US to the Middle East are cheap.

American's website doesn't show the awards, but you can find them on Air Canada's site. You can get a ticket if you call American Airlines.

LATAM has left Oneworld

Delta Air Lines and LATAM formed a partnership. You should call your partner to book your ticket if you use the Delta or LATAM website. Alaska Airlines is one of the non-alliance partners that the airline has.

Points and miles can be used to get to and stay inDubai.

General tips


Let's look at a few tricks I use to make the process easier now that you know where to look.

Search segment by segment

If you search for your entire itinerary instead of one flight at a time, you will often get different results.

Let's say you want to fly from Chicago to Thailand. You may not be able to find a flight from Chicago to Bangkok on the British Airways website. It is possible that it could be on British Airways flights that connect through London with high fuel surcharges.

If you break your search into two, one for the Chicago-to-Hong Kong leg and the other for the Hong Kong-to-Bangkok leg, you can find the flights you need. You can call the airline you want to book with and have it book the itinerary for you.

Try and build longer trips from the inside out. A friend of mine recently booked a trip to Indonesia. With a minimum of two stops in the itinerary, we didn't look for award flights from Miami to Indonesia. We couldn't find flights from New York, Chicago and Washington to Hong Kong. We looked for flights in the US and Asia after finding space on the longest segment.

Take notes and come prepared

Many airline customer service agents are good at their jobs, but you can do the work yourself.

If you want to book an award flight, you need to know the exact dates and flight numbers. It's a good idea to mention that early in the discussion.

When I tell the agent where I am going, I will give them the flight numbers so they don't have to look for them. If you have done your homework, you will be able to make these calls easily.

Star Alliance award tickets are not a good idea.

Bottom line

When you want to book premium-cabin seats on a long flight, learning how to find and book award flights is difficult.

Even though there are dozens of airlines covered in this post, only five main frequent flyer programs remain. It's a good idea toFamiliarize yourself with them and search for award space. It will feel like second nature when you are prepared to fly.

The additional reporting was done by Andrew Kunesh.