AwardFares lets you search flights to find available award seats in a quick way with modern user interface. In just a few clicks, you can search award availability across multiple frequent flyer programs, setup alerts, lookup seat maps and flight schedules.

Similarly, Cowtool, aims to make things easier for Air Canada Aeroplan frequent flyers when it comes to getting the most out of their airline miles, points, and benefits.

This guide closely examines the key differences between AwardFares and Cowtool.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: As of October 2023, Cowtool has shutdown completely and indefinitely. Try AwardFares as a Cowtool alternative to search for Aeroplan availability.


What is Cowtool?

Cowtool is a tool that provides information about fare classes and seat availability for different flights, and it has been particularly useful for Air Canada Aeroplan members to understand pricing, seat categories and upgrade opportunities.

The tool includes a feature known as “R space”, which is represented as a boolean value (true/false). The term “R space” typically refers to a fare class that represents upgrade availability from economy to a higher class of service using miles or points.

The tool also uses codes to denote different cabin classes, such as “J” for business class, “PY” for premium economy, and “Y” for economy class. For example, users might see “9+ for Y” and “6 for J” indicating the number of seats that the airline is willing to sell in economy and business class respectively​.

Cowtool Home Page (2023)

AwardFares vs. Cowtool: What are the differences?

1. User Interface: AwardFares has a modern UI and beautiful charts

With a visually appealing and easy-to-understand interface, AwardFares is accessible to both beginners and experienced travelers. The platform is easy to navigate and simplifies the task of finding the best award flight deals. Users can set notifications for particular routes and airlines, and the system automatically alerts them when a good deal pops up.

Search results on AwardFares are presented in stunning timeline and map views, with color-coded availability indicators and easy-to-read tables. This simplification makes it easy for users to assess award seat availability and make informed decisions quickly.

AwardFares Home Page (2023)

Cowtool, on the other hand, offers a more data-centric interface that is assumes users to be frequent flyers who are comfortable navigating complex information. Its highly detailed information makes it a comprehensive tool for seasoned award travelers, but the steep learning curve makes it hard for beginners.

2. Functionality and Features

AwardFares excels in its ability to provide real-time updates on available award seats across a wide range of airlines, specifically focusing on business and first-class award spaces. It allows users to easily check award seat availability and potential costs, making it a valuable tool for those looking to optimize their premium travel experiences.

The search results on AwardFares are presented clearly, making it easy to compare options and identify the best opportunities for booking award flights.

AwardFares Timeline Feature

One of the biggest advantages of AwardFares is the possibility to search across entire regions, like whole countries or continents. In a matter of seconds, search results pop up with available award flights to different destinations within that region.

AwardFares Map Feature

Unlike Cowtool, where filtering down the options require new searches, filters on AwardFares are also one click away. From the dropdown menus, it’s possible to trim down results based on frequent flyer program, airline, number of passengers, number of stops, or equipment type.

Another convenient feature on AwardFares is the possibility to set up alerts for award seat availability directly from the search results.

Cowtool shines in its depth of data and information. The platform offers a comprehensive database of airlines and their award seat availability. Moreover, it provides detailed breakdowns of redemption rates, transfer partners, and stopover rules for Aeroplan. This depth of information makes Cowtool particularly useful for those who want a more in-depth understanding of the reward landscape.

Cowtool offers a collection of five very-targeted tools for Air Canada flyers and Aeroplan members.

  • AC Reward Searcher. Unofficial tool for searching Aeroplan flight redemptions. It allows searching multiple dates, origins, and destinations, and has extremely advanced filtering to help you find the perfect itinerary. You must be signed in to use this.
  • Air Canada (AC) PNR Viewer. Unofficial tool for viewing a PNR. It shows all pertinent data about your PNR in a concise format.
  • Air Canada Schedule Change Notifier. Unofficial tool to notify you have AC schedule changes. It looks for any AC operated, and many AC marketed flights in your TripIt account that have times or aircraft types that are different than what’s currently on AC’s schedule, and sends an email if it finds anything.
  • Air Canada SQD/SQM Calculator. Unofficial AC SQD/SQM calculator. Built by various FlyerTalkers using a database of crowd-sourced distances for numerous city pairs, it will tell you exactly how much SQD/SQM you’ll earn, per segment, for any itineraries you can come up with. This is also the same code that the PNR Viewer uses to determine the SQD/SQM breakdowns.
  • Air Canada Flight Status. View flight status, seat maps, menus, and departure/arrival information. Some information is only available as departure time gets closer.

3. Frequent Flyer Programs

While Cowtool is mainly targeted to Air Canada Aeroplan members, AwardFares covers a selection of major airlines from Star Alliance, Oneworld, and other airlines. As of July 2023, we support American AAdvantage, Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles, Alaska Mileage Plan, United MileagePlus and SAS EuroBonus.

4. Mobile Experience

AwardFares has been meant for mobile from day one. It doesn’t compromise the intuitive searches nor the beautiful user interface when going mobile, and you can even install on your phone.

AwardFares Mobile App

Cowtool, on the other hand, doesn’t offer a dedicated mobile version.

5. Customer Support: One tap to reach AwardFares’ support

Customer support is at the core of AwardFares’ principles. That’s why some UI elements at hand aim at seeking help quickly. On the AwardFares site, the contact bubble button lets users quickly reach out and ask for help, regardless if they are on a desktop, tablet, or mobile. Users get access to a library of frequently asked questions and can post new ones immediately. Email and social media support channels are also available with high response rates.

AwardFares Help Button

6. Pricing

Both Cowtool and AwardFares are subscription-based and have free and paid tiers.

AwardFares packages and features are tailored to award searches and aim at showing real seat availability from different frequent flyer programs with just a few clicks and with the help of intuitive and clear exploration tools to help make more informed decisions.

AwardFares Pricing Tiers:

  1. Basic (free): award calendar, award map, journey planner, hourly availability on award seats, and award release dates tool.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

AwardFares Pricing

On the other hand, Cowtool has a “pay what you want” pricing model, where the default is $0. If you choose to pay for Cowtool, you will not be granted access to any tools, features, or betas, that you do not otherwise have access to. This is just to help support the time and cost involved in developing and running Cowtool. Nothing extra will be provided in exchange for any payment.

In a nutshell

Features AwardFares Cowtool
Interface User-friendly, visually appealing, easy to navigate. Suitable for beginners and experienced travelers. Data-centric, more complex. Assumes users are frequent flyers comfortable with detailed information.
Functionality Real-time updates on available award seats across a wide range of airlines, focusing on business and first-class awards. Offers a comprehensive database of airlines and their award seat availability. Provides detailed breakdowns of redemption rates, transfer partners, and stopover rules.
Frequent Flyer Programs A total of 6 frequent flyer programs including Air Canada Aeroplan Air Canada Aeroplan only
Mobile version Yes No
Alerts via email Yes No
Ticket price information / Miles calculator Coming soon Yes
Pricing Subscription-based model with a free limited version and paid plans that offer more features. Pay what you want.
Customer Support Well-received customer support offering help and guidance to users. Offers extensive guides and FAQs, but some users have reported slower response times.


Cowtool has long been a prime tool for experienced Aeroplan members that want to make the most out of their miles and get on the best possible cabins, products, and schedules. While it still provides excellent value and information, its outdated interface and steep learning curve makes it hard for beginners that are looking for a more intuitive approach. There’s still a number of tools oriented to Air Canada flyers included with Cowtool’s subscription, such as the flight status and schedule change notifier.

On the other hand, AwardFares provides a stunning, modern user interface, meant for quickly searching and filtering award space. The results are up-to-date and accurate, sourced directly from Air Canada Aeroplan (and all the other programs). It’s simple to use, and planned for mobile devices. Users can get started for free, in addition to accessible paid tiers for both casual and hardcore flyers.

Overall, AwardFares can be a great upgrade for both beginners and advanced Aeroplan members looking for a more powerful and intuitive way of leveraging their miles.

Become an Aeroplan Pro

You can try AwardFares for free. We are rolling out new features and improvements regularly, so sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay on top of the latest news, announcements, and pro tips.

With our Gold and Diamond tiers, you can access premium features such as unlimited daily searches, alerts, seat maps, flight schedules, and more!

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