Much More Limited Star Alliance Award Availability on ExpertFlyer
It's been a rough few weeks for ExpertFlyer. While I still think it's a very useful tool because it gives flyers access to upgrade and award availability on a number of airlines. This can be extremely useful when deciding which flights to book based on upgrade availability. Not only that, you can set alerts so that if hard to find award availability space opens up (like Lufthansa first class) you can be notified and book it before anyone else has the chance.
However, in the month or so, both Delta and United have revoked its ability to search their upgrade inventory (elite upgrades for Delta), and now ExpertFlyer has also notified its subscribers that until further notice, they will not be able to search for award space or set award alerts for certain Star Alliance carriers. Here's what the email ExpertFlyer sent out said:
"We are emailing you because you have an active Flight Alert for an Award class of one of the following airlines:
Adria Airways – JP
All Nippon Airways – NH
Asiana Airlines – OZ
Austrian – OS
Croatia Airlines – OU
Egyptair – MS
Ethiopian Airlines – ET
EVA Air – BR
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
United – UA
US Airways – US
Unfortunately, award searching for these airlines, along with the Star Alliance award search, is currently unavailable. We are working to try to restore the information however it will be unavailable until further notice. All other functionality and information for these airlines in ExpertFlyer remain unaffected. Flight Alerts for any other airline are also unaffected.
As a result, any active Flight Alerts or saved searches for this award information will no longer work as of now. The Active Flight Alerts affected have been set to Expired as to not count against your 30 Active alert limit and will be set to Active again should the award information become available in the future. We regret any inconvenience this causes you.
Thank you for your continued support of ExpertFlyer.
-The ExpertFlyer.com Team"
ExpertFlyer had actually just added all Star Alliance availability about a year ago in one fell swoop, which dramatically increased its value and usefulness, so this is pretty disappointing news and a bit of a surprise - it sounds like it was to the ExpertFlyer team as well since they offer little information about what happened and why
It's not the end of the world, though. You can still search Star Alliance award availability and set alerts for the following carriers:
Air New Zealand
And there are also some other great ways to search Star Alliance availability including both United.com and ANA, which is widely acknowledged as the best search engine for pulling in all Star Alliance award space even if it's a bit clunky to use, as well as Aeroplan, which does a decent job. The one major downside is that you can't set those seat alerts, which is an ultra-valuable tool to be able to call upon when trying to book hard-to-find awards in premium cabins that airlines might release at random times or one-by-one and timing is crucial. I sincerely hope that ExpertFlyer is able to bring Star Alliance award availability back online, though I'm not holding my breath. In the meantime, I'll be looking at other search options and I suggest familiarizing yourself with them as well.
For more information, check out these posts:
How to Use the ANA Award Tool to Search for Star Alliance Availability