Before, if you wanted to book a reward flight, it would only show British Airways flights by default. If the route was served by a oneworld partner airline such as airberlin, Finnair, Qantas, American etc, all you would see is a little box in the corner saying ‘Click here to check partners’.
Now, all the results appear together. Here, for example, you can see BA and Qantas flights down to Dubai (click image then click ‘full size’):
It is also quicker to find routes flown only by partners. Search for Berlin to Abu Dhabi, for example, and it brings up the airberlin service immediately. Previously, you had to go through a page which said ‘Sorry, BA does not fly this route’ (“yes, I already know that!”) before clicking on ‘Partners’.
It is still not ideal. Aer Lingus routes, for example, are not bookable online. It would be helpful if you got a message when searching for an Aer Lingus route telling you this, but you don’t.
You also cannot see partner awards if you click on ‘calendar view’, which shows you which days over a month have reward seats. You only see BA availability this way.
This is still much, MUCH better than most airlines offer, though. Miles & More, for example, does not let you book partner awards online. This is, I presume, an attempt to persuade you to book a Luthansa-family airline because you can’t be bothered to ring up and see what else is there.
So, thumbs up to BA for this one.