AwardFares is a modern and fast platform to search award availability across multiple frequent flyer programs. Among other things, it lets you search flights to find available award seats, setup alerts to monitor award availability, and lookup seat maps and flight schedules.
Some other tools, like ExpertFlyer, provide similar functionalities for frequent flyers, travel enthusiasts, and aviation professionals 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 ExpertFlyer.
- What is ExpertFlyer?
- AwardFares vs. ExpertFlyer: Key Differences
What is ExpertFlyer?
ExpertFlyer is a comprehensive online travel tool designed for frequent flyers, travel enthusiasts, and aviation professionals. It offers many features and services, such as flight availability and schedules, fare class availability, seat maps and alerts, award seat search, and flight alerts.
AwardFares vs. ExpertFlyer: What are the differences?
1. User Interface: AwardFares has a modern UI and beautiful charts
AwardFares’ UI is designed with simplicity in mind, making it easy for users to navigate and find the information they need quickly. This simplicity particularly appeals to those who may be new to searching for award seats or prefer a less cluttered interface.
Its interface is built around its core purpose: finding and tracking award seat availability. This focus makes it easier for users to search for flights with available award seats and set alerts for specific routes and airlines without being overwhelmed with information.
The search results feature an innovative timeline and map view, 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’ interface is elegant and designed to be fast and responsive. It shows results within seconds and allows users to track flights and filter down results with just a few clicks.
On the other hand, ExpertFlyer’s interface tries to condense extensive information and all its numerous features of ExpertFlyer at the same time, which makes the interface appear cluttered and busy. This can be distracting or confusing, particularly to new users getting started on award searches. ExpertFlyers’ UI is also dated, resembling online applications from the early 2000s.
2. Award Searches: Easy views and filters
While ExpertFlyer does include an award search feature, it is less focused or extensive than the award seat search capabilities found in AwardFares. Users primarily interested in award seat availability might find ExpertFlyer’s offering more limited, even on the paid plans.
AwardFares offers a user-friendly search function that allows users to input their desired route, airline, and travel dates to find available award seats. The search results are presented clearly, making it easy to compare options and identify the best opportunities for booking award flights.
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.
Unlike ExpertFlyer, 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 email notifications for award seat availability directly from the search results. On ExpertFlyer, users need to configure alerts manually.
3. Availability Data: Real availability for each program
While ExpertFlyer provides a combined number of available seats, it’s not clear where this data is sourced from, and it is hard to relate to the availability per frequent flyer program.
AwardFares gives you accurate, up-to-date information on the award seat availability for each frequent flyer program (more coming soon!), so users can determine not only what, but also how to book those seats.
4. Complexity: AwardFares is much simpler to use
The information offered by ExpertFlyer can be overwhelming for some users, especially those new to the world of frequent flying. The main drawback of ExpertFlyer is that users have to know exactly what they are looking for to take advantage of the tool.
While the platform would benefit anyone who knows very little about the airline industry, there’s no way to set up generic queries like you can on AwardFares.
AwardFares, on the other hand, brings the ease of use and power of Google Flight’s interface to award flight searches. It presents the information in a clean, simple way, easy to digest. Its results are suited both for newcomers as well as experienced frequent flyers performing more advanced searches. The search engine is fast, and the limits on the paid tiers are sufficient enough to both casual and hardcore flyers.
Overall, the learning curve to use ExpertFlyer is much steeper compared to what AwardFares users experience.
5. Mobile Experience: AwardFares is meant for mobile
Although ExpertFlyer has a mobile app, it is only included in the paid versions, and its functionality may be more limited compared to the desktop version. Users might find accessing all the features and information they need on their mobile devices more challenging. Interestingly, ExpertFlyer still showcases its mobile version on Blackberries and a first-generation iPhone. That’s a sign of an old software architecture from another internet era.
AwardFares, however, has been meant for mobile from day one. Moreover, it doesn’t compromise the intuitive searches or the beautiful user interface when going mobile.
6. Customer Support: One tap to reach AwardFares’ support
ExpertFlyer has been around for almost 20 years, so its online community is well-established. Some of the experiences you can capture from users are that many claim that their customer support can sometimes be slow or unresponsive. This could be a concern for those who rely on prompt assistance when encountering issues with the platform.
Customer support is at the core of AwardFares’ principles. That’s why some of the UI elements at hand are aimed 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.
Both ExpertFlyer and AwardFares are subscription-based and have free and paid tiers. While ExpertFlyer provides a range of comprehensive features, their packages focus on general flight searches and alerts, mainly for users willing to pay for flights or upgrade using cash.
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:
- 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.
ExpertFlyer Pricing Tiers:
- Free: access to flight schedules and availability, ability to search for specific fare classes, 4 seat alerts.
- Pro Basic (USD 4.99): 250 queries per month, data from 400 airlines, search for awards and upgrades, seat maps, flight availability, status, timetables, 200 seat alerts.
- Pro Premium (USD 9.99): all features in Pro Basic + flight availability alerts, flight schedule alerts, aircraft change alerts, published fare pricing, wide search +-3 days, save queries, mobile edition, annual discount.
AwardFares and ExpertFlyer often get confused as direct competitors trying to provide tools and solve the same set of problems for frequent flyers. They are not. While there is an evident overlap on some of the features, the two platforms have different focuses and target different use cases.
AwardFares provides a stunning, modern user interface, meant for quickly searching and filtering award space. The results are up-to-date and accurate, sourced from each frequent flyer program. 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 helps travelers make more informed decisions on where to spend miles and points without spending hours on searches.
On the other hand, ExpertFlyer targets experienced frequent flyers that need power tools when selecting flight schedules, buying, changing, or upgrading their flights. Its features are powerful, and they have become the industry standard for a certain types of users and searches. However, it requires previous knowledge to utilize the tool fully; its learning curve is steep, and the old architecture and interface make it difficult to onboard new users.
If you want to experience AwardFares, you can join and try it out by creating a free account. Read more here.