A few years back, during Black Friday, there was a promotion on a tool called AwardFares, a search engine to find award tickets on Star Alliance airlines across all frequent flyer programs. Since the offer was quite aggressive, I decided to jump in and give it a try.
As a EuroBonus member, it has become my go-to tool to monitor and find award flights and is key to deciding how to use my points. The tool has been growing since 2019 and recently added even more programs beyond Star Alliance, such as AAdvantage and MileagePlan.
AwardFares Review (2024)
Is AwardFares Good?
Since day one, AwardFares has been extremely useful, particularly when planning holidays and deciding destinations based on availability. As an SAS EuroBonus member, finding award seats for me and my family is often hard. Don’t get me wrong, the SAS website is good, but it requires effort and hours of manual searches to detect flights with seats that you can book using EuroBonus points.
The great news is that you can get started using AwardFares for free. Simply create an account and start searching. They also offer two more advanced premium plans with extra features: Gold and Diamond.
My experience using AwardFares: REAL Examples
Simply put, AwardFares is the world’s fastest search engine for award flights. It searches across multiple frequent flyer programs, displays real-time availability for multiple dates, monitors and alerts you via email when spaces open, and has a handy trip planner.
- Free Trial
- Fast and easy to use.
- Modern user interface that works on mobile.
- Easy to understand and explore available award seats.
- Advanced filters (cabin type, airlines, number of stops, etc.).
- Best search tool for Star Alliance flights.
- Support for American Airlines AAdvantage, Alaska MileagePlan, SAS EuroBonus, United Mileage Plus, Air Canada Aeroplan, and more coming soon.
- Alerts for specific routes and dates. When award seats that match the alert criteria become available, AwardFares sends an email notification.
- Excellent trip planner to pick flights in sequence (open jaw, round the world, etc.)
- Pricing options for both casual (Gold) and hardcore users (Diamond).
AwardFares offers three pricing tiers, each of them offering the following features:
- Basic (free): award calendar, award map, journey planner, hourly availability on award seats, and award release dates tool.
- Gold (USD 9.99): award search, award calendar, award map, journey planner, hourly availability on award seats, 5 seat alerts, 100 custom searches per day, max 7 searches at once, award availability count, search with stops, per-program availability, cabin annotations, seat maps, award release dates, and flight schedules tool.
- Diamond (USD 19.99): award search, award calendar, award map, journey planner, real-time availability on award seats, unlimited seat alerts, unlimited custom searches per day, max 30 searches at once, award availability count, search with stops, per-program availability, cabin annotations, seat maps, award release dates, and flight schedules tool.
Blazing Fast Performance
One of the things I love the most AwardFares, is how fast it is. Within seconds, you can trigger searches across multiple days and frequent flyer programs. The tool also shows cached results from previous searches, so you can easily get an idea of open awards if someone else has searched for that same route recently.
Award Prices: Find The Cheapest Award Flights
Their latest update introduced award prices, mixed-cabin itineraries, and saver/non-saver awards. When performing a search on a single program, AwardFares clearly shows pills with how many points or miles it costs to book those awards. It also displays taxes and fees.
Sort by price. The search results header is clickable. By tapping on the different cabins, you can sort results by price and see the cheapest award flights at the top of the list.
Saver vs. non-saver awards. For certain programs with off and on-peak pricing on their award charts, AwardFares shows this information clearly.
Sometimes, the cabin you are trying to book is not fully available along the entire route. However, there usually are options available with stopovers or short connecting flights. For example, I was able to book United Polaris Business Class from Houston to Buenos Aires and get a free extra leg from Boston to Houston in Economy Class, using a mixed-cabin itinerary.
These tricks can help you save a ton of points and stretch the value of your miles further, reaching new places at better redemption rates. AwardFares is excellent at helping identify these combinations. The pills show how much of the flight (in percentage of travel time/hours) is mixed with a different cabin.
You can also use the mixed-cabin filter to exclude specific results that are not ideal.
Timeline View: Explore Dates
Undoubtedly, this is my favorite feature. When you have the flexibility to build up your ideal trip, AwardFares excels. If you don’t know or have a fixed travel date, you can use their Timeline View to search for available seats across different days. Their UI also lets you re-trigger searches and refresh results with one click.
You can also tap on the bars to dig deeper into the results, helping you make more informed decisions when booking your dream award flight.
When booking with points, sometimes it is not possible to book the route you want. Instead, you need to work it out by booking separate flights or making your own transfers and calling the service line (support).
AwardFares has a convenient journey planner where you can identify and combine connecting flights, building complex itineraries that are actually available to book. It also lets you save, copy, and paste these journeys so you have them at hand while you book over the phone.
This is a big one. Didn’t find the flight you wanted? Don’t worry. Just set up an alert and let AwardFares monitor that route. It will notify you via email as soon as an award becomes available. This feature allowed me to stay on top of trips I wanted to make real and book right away, making sure I was among the first ones to book.
This is the feature that allowed me to redeem an award on Lufthansa First after saving points for it for over seven years.
You can set up an alert/track a flight directly from the search results.
Alternatively, create an alert manually.
Under more advanced tools, you can see the real-time seat map for every flight in the results. This lets you compare options even further. Is there any specific cabin/airplane/seat configuration you are interested in? Do you have backward-facing seats? Are you flying with a companion?
All these details matter! With AwardFares, you can check the seats within the same screen.
Under each flight in the result list, tap on the Seat Map icon and choose a given cabin to see the updated available seats (versus occupied and blocked).
Meant For Mobile
Unlike other tools only meant for Desktop, it’s a pleasure to use AwardFares on the go and from the phone. It has helped me book last-minute flights at the airport after my flights were canceled and all the paid options were crazy expensive.
Not only is the tool intuitive, fast, and has excellent features. AwardFares also provides step-by-step guides, in-depth tutorials, and documentation to get the most out of your points, regardless of your frequent flyer program, cabins, and destinations you are trying to book.
Support And Feedback
Lastly, on top of all the great features, there’s a convenient support button at the bottom of the screen. Plus, Philip and Richard (the creators) are available all the time to answer questions and receive feedback.
How To Use AwardFares (Video Tutorial)
For those wondering how AwardFares works, I put together this quick tutorial and walkthrough of the premium features before subscribing. The tool does not forward you to your Frequent Flyer program website, but it does query seat availability across multiple FFQTV programs.
Hope you find it useful! Don’t forget to hit the like button and subscribe if you like the content! It helps the blog A LOT.
Check out these other posts we wrote about other award flight search engines and tools to find award availability.
- Award Flight Search Engines: The FULL List (2024)
- Best ExpertFlyer Alternatives: Top Free And Paid Options! (2024)