10 Must-Have Online Tools for Frequent Flyers
If you travel a lot, there are some incredibly useful online tools that can save you time and make your travel experience so much easier. Here are 10 must-have online tools for frequent flyers:
1. Expert Flyer
Expert Flyer is one of the most useful tools for frequent flyers. Not only can Expert Flyer help you to find award seats or get an upgrade, but it can even help you get a better seat on your next flight. What’s more, you gain access to tons of useful, accurate information on everything from Minimum Connection Times to visa requirements.
You can use Expert Flyer to see the availability of seats in every fare class, giving you an indication of how full (or otherwise) the flight is. This could be useful if you want to maximise your chances of a successful points upgrade. You can also use Expert Flyer to search for award availability & upgrade space on most airlines. If there’s no availability on the flight you want, simply set and forget a “flight alert”.
Want to get the best seat? Use the “Seat Map” feature to see which seats are occupied, vacant and blocked on any flight. If your preferred seat is not available, simply create a “seat alert” and you’ll be notified by email as soon as it becomes vacant.
Note that AFF GOLD members are entitled to a 15% discount on any paid Expert Flyer Subscription.
2. Award Nexus
Award Nexus takes the hard work out of finding frequent flyer reward seats! Instead of searching day-by-day on multiple different airline websites, simply use Award Nexus to find award seats at the click of a button. The user-friendly tool will search for award seats across entire airline alliances, two weeks at a time. You can even specify multiple origin, destination or transit airports to expand – or narrow down – your search. If you still don’t find any award availability, simply schedule a daily background search. If you’re struggling to use your points, Award Nexus is a serious time-saver.
Note that AFF GOLD members are entitled to a 20% bonus on a first-time premium purchase.
AwardEx is a relatively new website specialising in helping you to find award flights. The website searches for real-time award availability across many different airlines and loyalty programs simultaneously. It also provides instructions on how you can transfer points and book. Unfortunately some of the results are only available to people with certain American credit cards, but some options will generally be available to Australians. This website works on a pay-per-search model.
4. Award Wallet
Keeping track of multiple frequent flyer, hotel and other loyalty program accounts can be hard work. This is where Award Wallet comes in extremely handy, monitoring all your points balances in the background. Award Wallet sends you a weekly email summarising the activity in your frequent flyer and other accounts over the past week. It also alerts you when your points are about to expire, so you’ll never lose your points again!
TripIt is the ultimate organiser for frequent flyers. Simply forward your travel bookings to TripIt, and all your flight, hotel, car hire and other bookings are effortlessly collated. You can then access all your bookings online or via the app. Not only does TripIt take the hard work out of managing your travel bookings, it even notifies you if your flight is delayed, provides destination weather forecasts and gives directions from the airport to your hotel.
6. ITA Matrix
ITA Matrix is the ultimate flight search tool. The powerful, free online tool can help you to find the cheapest flights at the click of a button. You can search for one-way, return or multi-city flights to multiple destinations – across an entire month – simultaneously.
But the real power of ITA Matrix is in the Advanced Controls. These allow you to search for flights on specific airlines and alliances, find great status runs, exclude redeye (overnight) flights, specify Minimum Connection Times, and much more!
7. Where to credit
Unsure which frequent flyer program to credit your flights to? Select the airline operating your flight and your booking class, and Where to Credit will show you how many points you’ll earn across a wide range of different airline programs.
8. Great Circle Mapper
Great Circle Mapper maps and calculates the distance of any flight, or a series of flights. This can be very useful for determining the number of frequent flyer points you’ll earn – or need to burn – for a flight. It can also be useful for calculating the miles flown on mileage-limited bookings (such as the Qantas Oneworld Award), or simply to compare the distances flown on different routings. Like the window seat? Plug your route into Great Circle Mapper to see which side of the plane is likely to afford the best views.
9. AFF Flight Tracker
Ever wondered how many kilometres you’ve flown? AFF Flight Tracker is a tool that lets you map your flights around the world, search and filter them in all sorts of interesting ways. You can view automatically-calculated statistics about your travels and all your flights are added to your personal flight map. This tool uses OpenFlights software and is free for all AFF members.
10. Flight Aware
Flight Aware knows if your flight will be delayed before the airline does! The website tracks any flight in real time, and is usually very accurate. The “track inbound plane” feature is especially handy.
Honourable mention: Good old Google
Most of us use Google in our daily lives anyway, but you may not be aware of some very handy features for travellers. You probably already know that you can Google the weather at your destination. Google can also be used to quickly calculate exchange rates, for example, by searching “AUD to USD”. Or, search “MEL to HKG schedule” to instantly bring up a complete list of airline flight schedules between Melbourne and Hong Kong.