Travel on Point(s)

Travel on Point(s) is an independent, advertising-supported website. This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites like Cardratings.com. This compensation does not impact how or where products appear on this site. Travel on Point(s) has not reviewed all available credit card offers on this site. Reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any partner entities.

Travel on Point(s) is an independent, advertising-supported website. This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites like Cardratings.com. This compensation does not impact how or where products appear on this site. Travel on Point(s) has not reviewed all available credit card offers on this site. Reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any partner entities.

Airline Award Release Dates

One of the best pieces of advice for finding award flights is search early and search often. Ideally, when your award space is released you want to be ready to pounce. However, each airline has a different schedule for when it releases awards. In this guide we'll look at airline award release dates for each major program.

Navigating Award Release Dates

Understanding when airlines release awards and opens its calendar helps position you to book your award early. Additionally, by studying award availability patterns you can get a good sense of what usually becomes available. Of course, nothing is guaranteed. I recently put this into practice when booking a flight to Turkey. I researched and found that Turkish Airlines operates a direct flight out of Boston to Istanbul. And also that they open the calendar for awards 354 days in advance. By studying award availability, I could see that 354 days out, they pretty consistently had availability for at least 2 seats in business class. I started my searches about a year out, and when my preferred dates opened up I was able to pounce and get the exact awards I wanted.

Airline Award Release Dates

Summary of Airline Award Release Dates

The following chart summarizes when airlines release awards for the most popular airline programs.

Loyalty ProgramHow Far in Advance You Can Book
Air Canada Aeroplan355 days
Air France/KLM Flying Blue359 days
Alaska Mileage Plan330 days
All Nippon Airways Mileage Club355 days
American Airlines AAdvantage331 days
Avianca LifeMiles360 days
British Airways Executive Club355 days
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles360 days
Delta SkyMiles331 days
Emirates Skywards328 days
Etihad Guest330 days
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands360 days
Finnair Plus361 days
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles330 days
Iberia Plus360 days
JetBlue TrueBlue331 days
Lufthansa Miles & More360 days
Qantas Frequent Flyer353 days
Qatar Privilege Club361 days
Singapore KrisFlyer355 days
Southwest Rapid Rewards180-240 days
Turkish Miles&Smiles354 days
United MileagePlus337 days
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club331 days

Award Release Schedules For Partner Awards

Booking a saver award via a partner poses an interesting question when it relates to award release schedules. If you are booking an award with a partner, which airline's schedule are you beholden to? The answer is both. This is because the ticketing airline can only issue tickets out to the date of their award schedules. Further, the operating airline is only releasing awards out to their award release schedule. Therefore, you are limited by the shorter of the two award release schedules.

Airline Award Release Dates

Opening the Calendar Does Not Guarantee Awards

The only thing that is constant in award travel is change. As such, just because the award calendar has opened for your dates, does not mean there is guaranteed to be awards. There is a myth that at 12:01 am on release day, all of that airlines saver awards will be released. This is unfortunately, not true. Award availability is more fickle than that, and who knows what determines when they are released. By studying award availability you can certainly start to pick up on some patterns, however. Further, due to time zones it is also possible that actual release times may vary slightly.

A Note on Last Minute Awards

While searching early and searching often continues to be a fantastic way to score award flights, lets not forget about last minute availability. After all, last minute awards tend to be the holy grail of award availability. Often times, airlines will open up unsold seats closer in to departure as saver awards. Of course, many of us like to plan ahead, but if you are able to book last minute you can generally find some great availability. Some airlines, such as Lufthansa, are notorious for only releasing saver first class awards within 1-2 weeks of departure. If you have missed the award release date know that not all hope is lost.

Airline Award Release Dates: ToP Thoughts

Finding award space can seem daunting. But by understanding the ins and outs of award release schedules you can better prepare for takeoff. Each airline has it's own award release schedule, referencing this chart will help you plan your award bookings ahead of time. Searching early and searching often gives you the upper-hand in booking your ideal award flight. Lastly, remember that award availability is never guaranteed, and if all else fails last minute award availability can be great. Have you secured an award when the calendar opened? Let us know over in the ToP Facebook Group!

SIGN UP TO RECEIVE
ToP TIPS STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX

We promise to keep things short, sweet, and packed with awesome insights!