In the world of points-based travel, understanding each airline’s reward seat release dates can make a substantial difference in securing your preferred flights. In this article, we’re focusing on the Oneworld Alliance and its member airlines, providing you with a comprehensive look into their award seat release patterns.
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Oneworld Award Seat Release Timeline
Below is a summary of when each Oneworld award seat is released by the airline. Remember, these timelines are counted from the departure date.
|Airline||Award Seat Opening Time|
|American Airlines||331 Days|
|British Airways||355 Days|
|Cathay Pacific||360 Days|
|Japan Airlines||360 Days|
|Malaysia Airlines||361 Days|
|Qatar Airways||361 Days|
|Royal Air Maroc||360 Days|
|Royal Jordanian||361 Days|
|S7 Airlines||330 Days|
|SriLankan Airlines||361 Days|
However, keep in mind that if a reward seat is taken and then cancelled, it may not necessarily be released again as a reward seat.
If you want to read more about award redemptions, we have an article about understanding award availability and another about the tips and tricks when booking an award seat.
Navigating Unique Airline Practices
Several Oneworld airlines follow unique practices that might impact your booking strategy:
When it comes to redeeming AAdvantage miles, things can change quickly. In Spring 2023, American switched to fully dynamic award pricing. Award rates will now vary by demand, regardless of fare class. Although the airline has published an “award chart,” there are no guarantees you’ll be able to get the starting rate, depending on when you travel.
Taxes and fees also apply when booking on points. For flights within the U.S. on American, the fees are typically minimal (starting at $5.60 per person, per award). However, fees can be substantial when booking flights via American transfer partners, such as British Airways (going up to say $600).
Moreover, American Airlines’ awards on partner airlines must be in MileSAAver (AAnytime awards are only available on AA marketed and AA operated flights).
British Airways revised its redemption rules in 2021 and increased the minimum guaranteed number of redemptions per flight from six up to 14. On release day, expect at least eight seats in Euro Traveller (economy) and four seats in Club Europe (business) for short-haul flights. Long-haul flights offer at least eight seats in World Traveller (economy), two in World Traveller Plus (premium economy), and four in Club World (business class).
However, there are no guarantees for first-class award seats. Given the fierce competition for seats on popular routes, savvy travellers often call American or East Asian offices to book award seats t the stroke of midnight GMT when they become available.
While Qantas releases availability 353 days before departure, premium seats on long-haul international flights are initially reserved for Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold, Platinum, and Platinum One member. Silver members gain access from 323 days out, and Bronze members get access at the 297-day mark. Some Qantas routes do not typically release any Business class award seats, with a few exceptions.
Qatar Airways releases award seats to most Oneworld partners around 361 days in advance, but some partners only get access to remaining Economy awards around 249 days in advance, and Business & First seats around 119 days in advance.
Since 2019, JAL now releases international awards 360 days out for JAL mileage bank members but Partner redemptions to JAL are only possible from 330 days out. That said, domestic flight awards are still only released 330 days out, irrespective of the method of redemption.
The airline updates award and revenue seat award availability once daily, usually between 09:30 and 12:00 Pacific time. It’s worth noting that only JAL Mileage Bank members can waitlist awards.
All awards for domestic Japan flights default to Economy. These can often be upgraded at a reasonable cost at the ticket counter in Japan. This is similar to the way JAL operates its Explorer pass (which may actually be a better option than redemption for international travellers)
Understanding reward seat release patterns is an essential part of your travel planning strategy. However, remember that flight schedules, aircraft changes, and overall demand can also influence when and how many seats each airline releases. While securing your dream reward seat may require a combination of timely action, vigilant monitoring, and a bit of luck, this knowledge can provide a distinct advantage in your journey.
For more information about specific release dates and booking strategies for each airline, refer back to this page, or check out our dedicated guides on Star Alliance seat release dates and SkyTeam member release dates.