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ExpertFlyer Adds Search For 20 More Star Alliance Airlines

by on October 9, 2012 · 11 comments

in ExpertFlyer, star alliance

Until now, the best ways to search for Star Alliance award availability have been to check the best search engines of member airlines like ANA and United. You could also have used Expertflyer to search availability on Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa, LOT, Swiss (though ExpertFlyer shows the availability of awards that they release to their own members, which is more than what they release to Star Alliance partners), TAM and Turkish Airlines.

However, starting last week, ExpertFlyer added award inventory from 20 more airlines so that award availability on all Star Alliance carriers is now searchable and making ExpertFlyer that much better a tool for finding those precious award seats. The new airlines include, Adria Airways (JP), ANA (NH), Asiana Airlines (OZ), Austrian (OS), Blue1 (KF), Croatia Airlines (OU), Egyptair (MS), Ethiopian Airlines (ET), Island Air (WP), LACSA (LR), Lufthansa (LH), SAS (SK), Singapore Airlines (SQ), South African Airways (SA), TACA (TA), TAM Linhas Aereas (JJ), TAM Paraguay (PZ), TAP-Air Portugal (TP), Thai Airways International (TG) and US Airways (US).

To be able to search ExpertFlyer, you do need a paid membership (they start at $4.99 a month for the most basic).

When you log in, click on “Awards and Upgrades”.

That will take you to a page where you can search award availability between city pairs (you will need to do multiple searches if you are constructing a complicated itinerary) for certain dates or date ranges and by carrier and class of ticket.

Now when you click on the “Airline” tab, you’ll see a lot more airlines and all the Star Alliance ones including Singapore, Thai, United and US Airways.

As with other carriers, you can search the Star Alliance airlines individually for award availability.

However, now, you can also do a general Star Alliance search.

When you choose that, you must specify the number of seats you are searching for, and you can only search for Economy (X), Business (I) and First Class (O) outright saver award availability – no saver versus standard level awards, though these fare classes also usually encompass upgrade awards as well. There is no way to tell how many award seats remain available – just whether the number of seats in the award fare class you want are. You could do a general Star Alliance search first with the number of seats you need, and then once the results are pulled up, you can search the individual airlines from the results to get the exact numbers.

For instance, with a quick search for Star Alliance awards on flights from Chicago to Frankfurt later in October, I found several with award availability at different levels.

While this non-stop United flight only had economy awards available…

A non-stop Lufthansa flight had award seats available in all three classes.

It’s great to have all this info in one place – although ANA and United both offer the same information for free, even if their award searches can be a bit clunky from time to time.

What sets ExpertFlyer apart and makes this development so important is that it has a feature where you can set a Flight Alert so that even if an award seat isn’t available on the flights or dates you want, you can set an alert and the system will email you if one opens up and you can snap it up immediately. That’s especially important because many Star Alliance carriers release award seats to partners just weeks ahead of time, so every moment counts.

Check out this post for more on ExpertFlyer alerts and this post for how to search for award availability

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  • Clay

    Saw that last week and it is AWESOME for me.. Love Alerts!

  • Corey

    Would you say its worth the 5$ a month? Even with other sites like ITA and MileWise and of course United?

  • Geoff Stuart

    How does ExpertFlyer do on OneWorld searches? I just cannot get anything good for my 200K BA Avios points. AA shows plenty of award seats but I cannot book them using my BA points. If I could find a good way to use up some of those Avios miles I’d join EF as a paying member.

  • Stefan

    Only MilesAAvers are bookable on BA.

  • Guest

    Been in a similar situation with my Avios. Two rewards I like are the JFK-TLV flight via Berlin on Air Berlin (lower fuel surcharges) for 60k r/t coach, and MIA-Easter Island via Lima for 50k r/t coach. For an additional 25k, you can tack on a flight from Easter Island to Tahiti. If you have 200k points, you could do both trips…

  • Rebecca D.

    A little off topic but I was just searching United.com for availability from BOS-DEL in January 2013 and several Lufthansa first options came up (BOS-MUC in first and MUC-DEL in business). I thought LH didn’t release first class awards seats to partner airlines anymore? I scored one this summer that was booked last year and it was a great flight so I’d be thrilled if F on LH is open for booking again.

  • thepointsguy

    Was it bookable? United.com often shows Lufthansa First, but when you go to book it, it will error out. Try to put it on hold and see if it goes through

  • thepointsguy

    Depends on how much you’re going to use it. If you use the alerts, then absolutely yes. If you just search once in a while, then you can probably get away with United.com/ Britishairways/AA.com and airfrance.us for award searches.

  • thepointsguy

    Expertflyer doesn’t show British Airways, JAL or Cathay, but it does have American (Milesaaver awards are bookable with Avios), Finnair, Qantas and some others. Check out this post for me info http://thepointsguy.com/2011/04/how-to-use-british-airways-miles-post-7-using-expertflyer-com-for-partner-awards/

  • thepointsguy

    I’m an alert fiend myself- such great emails to get!

  • Rebecca D.

    I am short 30K miles but I went the route of putting it on hold but stopped when it asked for a cc since I don’t actually want this particular flight. Maybe it’s just the phantom availability.

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