Tools to help frequent flyers are always welcome. It’s not easy to stay on top of seat availability when trying to book, particularly when it comes to booking for multiple people. For years, the alternative has been to use a mix between ExpertFlyer’s seat alerts plus the airlines’ online booking system to detect when seats are available and book right away.
Recently, we’ve seen the introduction of more and more tools to help frequent flyers search and book award flights. Last year I stumbled upon AwardFares, simply the best tool out there so far to search across Star Alliance programs. It was so good I had to write a review that ended up as a YouTube video walkthrough.
A few weeks ago I read about SeatSpy, another tool along this line, to search British Airways and Virgin Atlantic reward seats!
What is SeatSpy?
SeatSpy is an online tool to find award availability for a number of airlines including British Airways, Virgin, Air France, and more. In a similar way to Award Nexus or AwardFares, you need to input your selection such as airline and cabin class when searching.
I decided to create an account and run a quick test to see how it works. Creating an account is rather simple, with only a few fields to fill in. Under My Account, there’s only some basic info (same with AwardFares), such as your profile info (name, phone number for SMS alerts), subscription info, Alerts, etc.
Once you log in, there’s a box prompt with the usual search fields you’d expect from a flight-search tool:
I ran a quick search from London Heathrow (LHR) to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE), one-way in Business Class for 1 adult. The interface is super simple and rather cool. It displays a radial icon that distinguishes between cabins (First, Business, Premium Economy, and Economy) and peak vs. off-peak fares at the same time
You can see the results in a calendar view, and hover over particular days to get more info, for example, the number of points you’ll need for the reward ticket.
This type of information is super useful, especially when it comes to booking for multiple people or doing multi-city itineraries.
According to their website, they are planning on implementing many more features in the upcoming weeks and months. The roadmap sounds exciting, including the addition of more airlines and programs, destinations, alerts, etc.
IMHO, it would be great to have some features like on AwardFares, for example, the Map view, or the My Trip search feature, where you can select your destinations based on available flights, and build your itinerary automatically as you select them. This comes in super handy when planning longer vacations (and for people with flexibility).
Right now, the tool is still in Beta, and in a release, SeatSpy said that
“Despite the Coronavirus negatively affecting the travel industry, award flights are becoming increasingly popular for people who are looking forward to the point where travel restrictions are relaxed.
“Award flights are changeable or cancellable, and the fact that there is currently an unusually high amount of award seat availability means this is a great time to be planning ahead.”
They are currently running a Founders Offer with up to 60% off until May 27th, 2020. This incentive is for people to jump on the train early, which I think is great to have more of these tools out there.
We are offering special founder subscriptions – our First Class is only £2.99 per month (regular price £7.99), and our Premium service is £1.99 (regular price £2.99) after a three month free trial
Here’s an overview of their different plans and pricing
And a comparison of the different features included
There’s also some more info (from their website)
SeatSpy Key Features
Founder Member “for life” subscriptions
The discounted monthly cost is available for the life of the subscription. We believe our Regular pricing is already a great deal, and with our Founder Member rates, it’s really a no-brainer. For less than the price of a small Vanilla Spice latte at Starbucks every month you give yourself the opportunity to save hundreds on finding that elusive award seat. This deal is only available for a few weeks so make sure you grab it before the end of May.
Canceling or changing your subscription tier will end the discounted cost.
This means that as soon as we discover a reward seat is available, we will notify you immediately. For our First Class tier, this means you’ll beat everyone to the punch. This is especially handy if you find yourself looking for popular routes where seats get snapped up quickly. For Premium, alerts may be sent up to one hour after us discovering availability, and up to one day later for our Economy tier with daily alerts.
WhatsApp and SMS
Messages are subject to a fair use limit per month, currently 50 SMS messages and 100 WhatsApp messages. Based on user conversations and feedback this should be more than enough to cover alert needs. Our SMS function is especially handy when you’re on the move and in and out of wifi connectivity. As long as you have network data coverage, our SMS alerts will get through!
Future airlines and experiences
We’ll allow you to search for more airlines (with US airlines coming in weeks’ time). A little further down the line, we want to be able to bring you other travel award searches, such as hotels. In fact, we believe the biggest value of our service is not in the services we provide today… it’s in the services we’re going to provide in the future!
Give it a try and let me know what you think!