KVS gets me what I need

Discussion in 'KVS' started by Terry Quinn, Feb 6, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. As a long time supporter of KVS I want to reiterate my support for this software that really helps me in planning my airline trips.
     
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  2. Rambuster
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    Rambuster Silver Member

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    No complaints here either. I've been using the software for years.
     
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  3. cockpitvisit
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    cockpitvisit Gold Member

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    I am a happy ExpertFlyer user, but never used KVS.

    Are there any advantages of KVS over EF?
     
  4. view
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    view Silver Member

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    I've let my EF subscription lapse and currently undecided on what to do next. I hear good things about KVS and Star alliance award are important to me. Awardnexus was never any good for me (year long searches), and is seemingly moving to a pay model.

    Perhaps time to give KVS a shot?
     
  5. Fredrik
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    Fredrik Silver Member

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    Can you check Star Alliance awards directly with KVS? The way I read the FAQ on KVS homepage is that it's necessary to have ANA membership. Have I misunderstood something?
     
  6. Rambuster
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    Rambuster Silver Member

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    ANA membership is free of charge and can be done online.
     
  7. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    I use KVS, Expertflyer, AND Award Nexus. There are pluses and minuses to each. But KVS is my main tool.

    Basically everything that KVS accesses can be secured for free if you know where to look, but the KVS interface is fast, much faster than navigating through web pages. And I run multiple copies of the tool simultaneously for doing several searches at once.

    For award availability, it grabs data from the ANA website for Star.. has separate options for Miles & More and Singapore and for United (this last is useful for upgrade searches). But all it's really doing is grabbing data that can be found on these websites. For Skyteam, it has a Delta and a Flying Blue engine. For oneworld, Qantas and Cathay Pacific engines.

    But KVS is a lot more than just award availability. It searches inventory through two different Sabre interfaces and a third Galileo interface where you query individual fare classes. It has a great fare lookup tool and fast timetable.

    You can save searches for quick repetition, I usually do some daily searches with my morning coffee. But there's no email capability, it doesn't auto-search and tell you when something opens. Expert Flyer does, but it doesn't have nearly the coverage of airlines and special classes that KVS does. (Some people like Expertflyer seat map alerts, me I don't really value that.)

    KVS will store PNRs for you for one-click access to your reservations. It conveniently pulls up flight status, Visa information, minimum connection times and maximum permitted mileage, and seat maps. These are all things I use regularly.

    It's the convenience and speed of the tool that I pay for, much better than searching each site individually. But if all you're interested in is award search, then it starts with what miles? what airlines? If you're searching all Star, you may prefer the tools of Award Nexus which can search large swaths of dates quickly and will email you when seats open. If you're looking for American upgrade seats, Expert Flyer will be your bag and it has an email functionality as well. And I do use both of those. But I also use KVS, and use it more than the others.
     
  8. cockpitvisit
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    cockpitvisit Gold Member

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    Thanks for the info!

    I am not really interested in awards, because I have my own script for the award search. I am most interested in seat maps, paid fare class availability, fares and fare rules. I guess I'll stick with EF for now, as I can also use it from the mobile phone.
     
  9. luxurytravelguy

    luxurytravelguy Silver Member

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    +1 on love for KVS... It's handy to be able to pull up a query in just a few seconds without having to login to a site. ANA is so complex to use via the web just as an interface to ANA KVS is well worth it!
     
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  10. KVS now has a mobile app
     
  11. view
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    view Silver Member

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    Thanks for that very informative post gleff! Speed and convenience of Star award searches is important to me and I think from your desciption it seems like I've found the most fitting tool for my needs.
     
  12. vbroucek
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    vbroucek Silver Member

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    Getting KVS Diamond was one of the best investments I have done. I just wish there was "real" iPhone app.
     
  13. sendaiben
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    sendaiben Gold Member

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    What's the pricing structure?
     
  14. view
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    view Silver Member

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    http://www.kvstool.com/MembershipLevels.php?Source=HOME-C

    $60 or $75 a year gives you Platinum or Diamond membership respectively. I can't quite quite decide if I need the Diamond option, might do a test month to see if the mobile feature is useful.
     
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  15. sendaiben
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    sendaiben Gold Member

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    Thanks for the link. I'll be checking it out. Gold doesn't really seem very useful from that chart...
     
  16. totti
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    totti Silver Member

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    The disadvantage of KVS is that it is not cross platform and I can't use it on a Unix, Linux or Mac system :( That's why I currently prefer EF but will probably switch back to KVS some time
     
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  17. Xyzzy
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    Xyzzy Gold Member

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    You can get all the information KVS provides for free. KVS is essentially a screen-scraping utility that takes data from other sources and presents it in a single interface. The sources for the data don't necessarily know of or approve of this, which is why the data feeds mysteriously go away and the software always needs to be updated.

    For *A awards, g[​IMG] to the ANA site and search. It's absolutely FREE. All you need to do is sign up for an ANA account.
     
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  18. view
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    view Silver Member

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    Yes, I'm a longtime subscriber of the ANA tool and also familiar with the workarounds for Star alliance searches and <7 days. It's just that the tool is not very user friendly IMO, I typically like to to do 20-30 or more searches and I want ease-of-use and speed.

    I would also like to incorporate flight availability searches, which was very good in Expertflyer. Flight Stats for example can provide this for free, but again not user friendly nor fast enough. Is there a better site for that? Seatcounter was not exactly great either, but I think that's been down for ages.

    I'm willing to pay to get a well performing tool that suits my needs, that's why KVS sounds like a good solution for myself.
     
  19. Xyzzy
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    Xyzzy Gold Member

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    I completely agree that the tool is useful. What ticks me [​IMG]ff are the business practices of its author.
     
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  20. tomh009
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    tomh009 Gold Member

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    KVS indeed provides a tool ("KVS Tool!") that I can use to access data from a variety of free sources. As an end customer, they give me the right to access those sources (including the ANA and AF award booking engines); in this case I choose to access them using "KVS Tool" rather than "Internet Explorer" or "Firefox". (Yes, many sources are HTML and as they have no agreement with KVS, they may change or disappear; KVS tends to update quickly to work around these changes, though.)

    In the end, as you say, I could do it for free. But using KVS Tool saves so much time that I will gladly pay it. For others, ExpertFlyer is a better choice; personally, I believe that paying for a tool is smart, and then my tool of choice is KVS Tool.

    Of course, YMMV, horses for courses, to each his/her own etc etc. :)
     
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  21. jhflau11
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    jhflau11 Silver Member

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    They have a section talking about running KVS on Mac/Linux, http://www.kvstool.com/FAQ.php?Source=HOME#Compatibility. I'm thinking of giving it a shot on my Mac with Parallels.
     
  22. Xyzzy
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    Xyzzy Gold Member

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    Web browsers don't charge monthly access fees. They are not updated monthly as data sources dry up. I would venture to say that most, if not all, of the KVS data sources 1) don't know he is redistributing 2) would be very unhappy if they knew and 3) would be even more unhappy to find that he is doing so for a fee. He is making a buck off of someone else's data. In many places that would be called stealing. When confronted, KVS tries to gloss over all of this and sweep it under the rug.

    As noted above, I completely agree that the tool is useful. What ticks me :mad:ff are the business practices of its author.
     
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  23. tomh009
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    tomh009 Gold Member

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    Technically, he's not redistributing: he's providing a tool that I can use to access the data. (Caveat: I'm not a lawyer, but I play one from time to time at work!) It would be different (at least technically) if he were extracting the data, storing it in a "KVS Central" database and then selling access to that.

    The big difference is that you are not paying for access to the data, you paying for the use of the tool.
     
  24. mrpickles
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    mrpickles Silver Member

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  25. Eric the half a bee

    Eric the half a bee Active Member

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    KVS + Expertflyer are a good combo - EF for when travelling (and for the alerts) KVS for planning at the desktop...
     

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