For the Casual Reward Flight Bookers: Award Search Tools or No?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by merice107, Jun 9, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. merice107

    merice107 Silver Member

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    I know there are many of you on this forum that book A LOT of flights and therefore something like KVS/Award Nexus/Expert Flyer are life savers. However, I was curious what some of you other people do who make only a couple reward flight bookings a year. Do you also use those tools and take the time to learn them, or do you just look up availability on the particular airline's website.

    I ask because I have three separate tickets I'm looking at for the summer of 14 (June). I have the miles ready to go, I'm just waiting for the timing to be bookable. Ideally I'd like to do:

    ORD-NRT: JL 9
    NRT-MLE: SQ 11 and SQ 462 (hoping to get one saver and one standard suites class on SQ 11)
    MLE-ORD: EY 279 and EY 151

    I have have been checking the BA website (for the JL flight using avios), the SQ because I'll be using KrisFlyer miles, and the EY website (I will be using American miles). Does that work or does the availability on it not necessarily mean I will have access to it?

    In my case would the award search tools help in regards to setting up alerts?

    Getting excited/nervous about booking my first international reward flight. Almost exactly a year ago when I started this hobby!
     
  2. iolaire
    Original Member

    iolaire Gold Member

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    I use KVS tool, and the key advantage is it makes the searches easier and fast. From the sounds of it Expert Flyers alerts are helpful. Both products have programs they are strong in, and limitations in others, so read up on which will help in your case.
     
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  3. Steven Schwartz
    Original Member

    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    To me, knowledge is power. You say you book a couple of trips a year. If you have been successfully doing this without these programs, stay the course. If you find yourself calling the airlines and being at the mercy of the agent, then sure, I would learn to use those programs and be in the position of telling those agents which flights you wish to be booked on.

    More to the point, your last paragraph says it all. You're new yet you're very excited! So step up, familiarize yourself with the programs and before you know it, you'll be helping all of your friends! Good luck and happy trails!
     
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  4. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    I book a couple to a few itineraries a year. For me the award search capabilities of EF have been very useful for getting those itineraries, but I also fly a lot of paid itineraries and get benefits there.

    Things also depend heavily on what airlines you want to fly, the tools available to search them, and availability on the routes you want. It sounds like you have good options to use already, and if you're using Krisflyer miles you want to search on SQ's site for sure.

    For me, getting accurate partner availability on airlines like AF, TN, etc. EF is quite helpful.

    If you're looking to book ~1 year out and are on the fence, consider signing up for an EF demo or similar around the time you want to book.
     
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  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    There are also free options out there which offer similar functionality. ;)
     
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  6. Singapore Flyer

    Singapore Flyer Silver Member

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    I have used Seth's tools and they work fine in the situation you mentioned. www.wandr.me

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    For searching the SQ site my tools aren't so useful. For the OW alerts they should work pretty well.
     
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  8. zpdiflyer

    zpdiflyer Member

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    I'm a casual flyer these days after years of pretty heavy business travel. After struggling for days to find Star Alliance award availability in July 2013 for an open-jaw Italy trip using the tools available for free, I joined Expert Flyer. It took me a good few hours to figure out the optiimal way to utilize the tools on the site for my purposes, but it was well worth it -- I just booked SFO-FRA-VCE, returning FCO-JFK/LGA-IAH-MSP-SFO, all in business class. It's not my return routing of choice, but beggars who beg in June for a July award trip to Europe can't be choosers! And I've got alerts set up to let me know if better options open up for the return trip before I leave. You can cancel Expert Flyer membership at any time. As I probably won't be flying again until the end of the year I'll probably cancel my membershipo after this month, and simply rejoin when I need it next.
     
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  9. xbliss

    xbliss New Member

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    What would be best if you are new to all tools and up for a sudden trip to book an award within 7-10 days with flexibility when you know there is availability?
     
  10. merice107

    merice107 Silver Member

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    Where to? What airline (or alliance)?

    If you know there is availability can you not just call the airline to book the tickets?
     
  11. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    I have made very, very limited use of the tools, but most of my award bookings have been on one airline (UA), and mostly domestic. I've typically found UA's website to be adequate, if imperfect.
     
  12. thesatishk

    thesatishk Silver Member

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    Star Alliance - united, aeroplan, ana (use seth's script)
    OneWorld - aa, ba, qantas
    SkyTeam - delta, air france (look for Classic award)
     
  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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  14. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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  15. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    It is working just fine for me. :confused:
     
  16. mrx900
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    mrx900 Silver Member

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    wandr.me is your answer :)

    However, if you are courageous and bold, you can also date a ticketing agent who happens to work for an airline of Star Alliance, OneWorld, or SkyTeam, and she can tell you ALL the routing rules, etc over a nice dinner of cioppino and red wine.
     
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