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TPG Twitter follower Sarah tweeted me this week with a question about award search sites:

@thepointsguy Is there one website for which I can enter a route/date and it will tell me the award availability with all the frequent flyer programs?”

I wish there was a single perfect tool available that I could recommend, but unfortunately there is no one system that’s going to be smart and check all availability for you. comes close, though it is not absolutely perfect and it’s not free. Memberships range  from a Premium Basic package for $59 to Premium Expert for $249. Award Nexus can definitely help with searching on a lot of different engines with a range of routing options and can save you some time, but it won’t do all the work for you.

With Award Nexus you can use the search builder, route explorer, trip calculator and distance pricer.
With Award Nexus you can use the search builder, route explorer, trip calculator and distance pricer.

I use ExpertFlyer all the time because it allows me to search certain award and upgrade availability on a variety of airlines. The site offers a free subscription where you can set seat alerts, a basic subscription for $4.99 per month that lets you search for awards and upgrades, and a pro subscription where you can set flight and award alerts as well. To learn more about Expert Flyer, read this post on how to your save time and miles by utilizing the flight alert option.

The Wandering Aramean created several travel tools to help with award searches.
The Wandering Aramean created several travel tools to help with award searches.

Seth, The Wandering Aramean, has come up with a lot of free and really useful travel tools. These include an Airport Lounge Guide, Flight Timetables, oneworld Award Search, and Star Alliance Award Search.

One of the reasons why there is no amazing tool that will check every single option for you is that some airlines don’t even have their award availability online. Every time you want to search availability you have to call and speak to a representative to get information on available flights and awards. With so many airline partners and non-alliance partners these days, there’s really no one computer program that can handle that type of search. While you still have to do the heavy lifting and take the time to research, luckily there are some tools to help you along the way so that even if you have to call in to book an award, you’re armed with the information you need to book the trip you want.

What tool do you think is best for searching award availability on the most airlines?

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