November 5th, 2013

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ExpertFlyer is one of my favorite tools for searching award and seat availability since it covers dozens and dozens of airlines including all Star Alliance carriers (with the exception of elite upgrade space on United as of last week), as well as being a great resource to search routing options or fare information. What I also love is that the site keeps adding new airline partners whose award and ticket inventory it can search, and it has just added another major one, British Airways.

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”.

AwardsUpgrades

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 British Airways and can check boxes to search for First, Business, Premium Economy and other award classes.

You can now find BA award and upgrade space using ExpertFlyer.
You can now find BA award and upgrade space using ExpertFlyer.

That’s great news since even though British Airways recently dramatically improved the award search function on its site, it was still a bit unwieldy. I also like using American’s website to search for BA award space since you can view a whole month at a time in the award search calendar, but ExpertFlyer has one key benefit that neither American nor BA have – you can set award alerts so that as soon as an award on the flight or flights you want in the class you want opens up, it will send you an email and you can book it before anyone else snaps it up.

AA.com lets you see availability for a whole month at a time.
AA.com lets you see availability for a whole month at a time.

You do so by searching the dates, airline and classes you want and then if nothing is available, you can click on the exclamation point next to the seat display and create an alert for the award(s) you want that will be emailed to you if and when ExpertFlyer finds an open award.

Screen shot 2013-11-05 at 11.22.02 AM

You simply enter the airline and class code, enter a name for the alert, like “BA First” and your email address, and you’re done. If you want a step-by-step walkthrough of searching for award and upgrade space on ExpertFlyer, check out the video I made taking you through the process:

Although I do try to avoid flying British Airways through London because of huge taxes and fuel surcharges, I do love their first class and it can be frustrating nailing down first class awards on the airline, so this is definitely going to make things a lot easier.

Check out these posts for step-by-step tutorials on:

How to Set Flight Alerts

Using ExpertFlyer to Search Award Availability

Hat tip: One Mile at a Time.

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