While Delta Air Lines has demanded that ExpertFlyer remove not only award and upgrade info, but revenue info, the new American Airlines has moved in the opposite direction, working with ExpertFlyer to load availability for US Airways upgrade and award space. This is good news for smart travelers who value transparency on upgrades and awards.
I will be holding a seminar at the upcoming FTU Advanced in Chicago on how to use ExpertFlyer and I will be happy to demonstrate how to search for US Airways as well.
As part of our continued partnership with American Airlines, we are pleased to announce that as of today ExpertFlyer now supports full US Airways Award & Upgrade searching and alerting. The addition of awards and upgrades from US Airways operated flights will complement the existing American Airlines operated award/upgrade data currently available to subscribers of ExpertFlyer. In addition Flight Alerts can now be created for award and upgrade inventory for US Airways operated flights.
The newly supported classes are:
O – First – Award/Upgrades, also complimentary Preferred upgrades into First
I – Business – Award/Miles Upgrade
J – Business – Upgrades into Business using Certificate upgrades for ALL applicable routes (not just PHL–TLV)
X – Economy – Award
This information is now available via the Award & Upgrade search tool.
As per American management:
“We are pleased that customers who choose to fly US Airways will now have the same service from ExpertFlyer that they have had for American Airlines flights,” said Cory Garner, American’s managing director – distribution. “This agreement provides another step toward a more seamless customer experience during the integration of our two airlines.”
We hope that you enjoy the new addition to ExpertFlyer.
-The ExpertFlyer.com Team
You could argue that the software-based KVS Tool remains the more powerful tool because it has award space for more airlines, but I find its bulky interface totally off-putting and because I do not have any Windows device or run Windows on my Apples, I really do not have a use for it. Thus, the more availability viewable on web-based ExpertFlyer, the better.
What is AA thinking?
Why would AA make it easier for customers to see upgrade and award space? Why would United and Delta, both of which have gone on the attack against ExpertFlyer, do the opposite?
I will give AA the benefit of the doubt here – I think it has weighed the pros and cons of displaying this space and realized that few people use it (in the big scheme of things) and that those who use it are more likely to award loyalty based on access to that information.
Take Delta, for example. The only way you can check on mileage award space on Delta flights now is to call up. That means if I am searching for award space for a client using AMEX points, booking upgrades on Delta is going to be even lower on the search list because Delta agents are so poorly trained in searching for this space. And I’ve seen a drop in revenue booking on Delta since Delta pulled the space off ExpertFlyer, as the quick process of locating routes with award space has become extremely cumbersome.
Imagine you are deciding between United and American but also want to use miles to upgrade. United forces you to search flight by flight in Expert Mode on united.com while American – via ExpertFlyer – makes searching a breeze. The result? More AA bookings.
Surely my travel consulting firm is just one small anecdote, but empowering the frequent traveler to better understand booking options does pay off and I applaud American for working with ExpertFlyer to add US Airways access.
Isn’t AA.com even better?
But even with this new search availability, isn’t it still easier to search for award and ugprade space on aa.com? Yes and no.
AA.com does offer a very user-friendly month-long search tool to find award space, but the beauty of ExpertFlyer is that you can quickly see how many coach and business/first class seats are available on one screen and you can set alerts, so that you will receive an e-mail notification when space in your desired booking code opens.
Thus, aa.com may be better for some things, but ExpertFlyer will be very useful especially when looking for a variable number of seats or waiting for space to open.
Hope for UA and DL?
Hopefully United and Delta are aware of this customer-friendly news and will reconsider their decision to be less transparent.
Remember, sign-up for the US Airways MasterCard from Barclays if you do not already have one – it is an easy way to get 40,000 miles that you can use toward your next US Airways (or oneworld) upgrade or award.