The Free Flight Primer, Part Three: Finding OneWorld Award Availability

Posted By Trav

The Free Flight Primer is a series of posts which will show, step by step, how to earn and then redeem frequent flyer miles.  We’ll start at the very beginning of the process and work our way through every step, from picking a destination all the way up to booking the ticket.  In between we’ll talk about tips for figuring out how many miles are needed for a certain flight, how to earn those miles, how to find seat availability, and much more.  I’ll be providing links to tools and websites that are helpful, tons of screenshots of various steps that may prove confusing, and of course, my own thoughts and opinions on the process.  It will be broken in to multiple sections and multiple posts, which will make it easier to read and easier to use as a reference at a later date.  I’ll also be providing a real-life case study using an actual client to better illustrate the process.

Part 1: Intro and Taking Inventory of Your Points 

Part 2:  Determining Airline Routes to Your Destination

Finding OneWorld Award Availability

Today, I’ll be trying out a new format and I’d love reader feedback.  Instead of simply including screenshots of the entire process, I’ve decided to make a short 5 minute video that will show my computer screen as I walk you through the entire process of searching for OneWorld award availability.  I’ll also provide a write up as a supplement to the video, emphasizing important points I may have glossed over during the video.  I’m assuming that this video format is much more beneficial for readers, and that is why I’ve decided to give it a whirl.  But hey,  I could be totally wrong (I was certainly wrong in assuming that making a video would take less time than a posting screenshots)!  Watch the video below and let me know what you prefer for future installations of The Free Flight Primer.

Step 1:  Go to Qantas.com

Important point:  You need to be a member of Qantas’s frequent flyer program in order to search for award availability.  If you are not already a member, sign up.  It is free and takes less than 5 minutes, a small price to pay to search all OneWorld partners.  Also, you DO NOT need to have Qantas frequent flyer miles in your account to search for availability (hooray!).

Step 2:  Enter Your Preferred Itinerary

Make sure to have the tab titled “Award Bookings” highlighted and also to have selected “Qantas and Partner Classic Awards”.  This will search all OneWorld alliance members.

Insiders’ Tip:  I’ve found it easier not to select “flexible dates” even if mine are. If you choose flexible dates it bounces you back out to the calendar screen to change the date each time you want to search another date.  If you don’t choose flexible dates, you can change dates after you have a flight list up and not bounce all the way back to the calendar screen.

Case Study:  Looking for flights from Philadelphia to Rome on September 28th and from Rome to Philadelphia on October 13th gives us all British Airways tickets, not what we want at all (remember, high fuel surcharges).  Ick!

Step 3:  Enter Other Possible Itineraries

In Part Two, we already looked at possible routings for both our flight origin and destination.  Hit “start again” on the left side column and enter the other itineraries you’ve felt could work for your trip.

Case Study:  Rome is the only airport we can feasibly fly in to but instead of flying out of Philadelphia, we can fly out of New York.  There is the Iberia flight we found in Part 2 that flies from JFK to Rome via Madrid, but it has not economy availability on the 28th.  However, when I change the date to the 29th, we find an economy ticket on Iberia leaving at 6 p.m.  This is a possibility, and the only real option we’ve found so far for OneWorld.

Coming home, there are no economy flights available on Iberia on either Sat Oct. 13th or Sun Oct 14th but there is some availability on Friday Oct 12th.  Not the best option, but it is an option.

Step 4 (if necessary):  Call and Book Your Ticket

If you find the flights that you want, awesome!  Call and book your ticket.  REMEMBER, WE ARE USING QANTAS AS A SEARCH ENGINE, NOT TO ACTUALLY BOOK OUR TICKET.  Unless you are actually planning on using Qantas miles, you can not book this ticket online.  You will have to call up the airline whose miles you are planning to use and book it through them.  For our case study, it is American Airlines.  Make sure to write down all the information about the flights you want, such as all the flight numbers, the times, and the cities you’ll be flying to and from.  Then, you’ll call the airline you want to book with, tell them the information, and they should be able to pull it up and book for you.

Case study:  We did not find tickets that worked perfect for us, so for now, I’ll write down the options I’ve decided are decent (the Iberia flights) and next try searching for Star Alliance availability.

Continue to Part 4: Finding Star Alliance Award Availability




  1. I am doing a similar series being released next week and would love to ask you a cpl questions but there is no “Contact Me” address.


    1. Trav says:

      @The Travel Abstract- If you click on the “Free Advice” tab up at the top that will give you an email form. If you put your name and question in the required fields, it will shoot an email directly to me. Alternatively, you send me an email directly at extrapackofpeanuts at gmail.com

      1. Trav says:

        TravelAbstract- Thanks for the advice, it was a little confusing. I’ve changed it to read “contact/free advice”. Hopefully that makes more sense for everyone.

  2. bluecat says:

    This was an absolutely perfect post. Good delivery! Very informative.

    You should have another video where you talk about your thought process on what eles to consider. For example, can I force it to go through another city (if possible) and will that turn up more options? Should I try leg-by-leg? Should I consider one way on one airline, one way on another? Etc.

    1. Trav says:

      @bluecat- Thanks so much! The videos took alot longer, with alot more editing, than I originally thought. It looks so basic when watching it, but man, there is alot that goes in to it. When I made the first cut of the videos, they were much longer, 8-9 minutes in length. I explained more, but thought “would I want to hear myself drone on for 8-9 minutes?” When I answered no, I figured the readers wouldn’t either. But maybe I was wrong! I take all the readers suggestions and comments to heart and am fully flexible in changing the approach and style. Since this is a new format, I’m thankful for any and all criticism or advice, so thank you. There are more video posts on the way!

      1. bluecat says:

        I make those kinds of videos for my work, so I know what you mean about it talking a long time to produce! (I like what you use…Camtasia?)

        Anyway, I think you are doing it the right way: short movies on a specific topic. 5 mins max. This way you can have deep dive movies on specific topics.

        1. Trav says:

          @bluecat- I’m just using quicktime. It’s pretty easy and the video quality seems ok.

  3. Kim says:

    I enjoyed your award searching video tutorial. I do have a question. When using Quantas to search for OneWorld availability, if I do find spaces, how can I tell if they are standard miles or saver miles, for both economy and business?

    In my case, I’m using AA miles.


  4. Tony says:

    I just tried and I think their search page has changed. It doesn’t work very well.

    1. Trav says:

      @Tony- You just tried to use Qantas.com? The search page is different now, but make sure to have “All Classic Cities” checked and you’ll see all the cities, which makes it easier to search.

  5. Jody says:

    Is this information still accurate? I signed up for Qantas frequent flyer account but I don’t see a search field for award bookings. Thanks.

    1. Trav says:

      @Jody- It should be, it just might be in a different spot.

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