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[SHUT DOWN] Unofficial Advanced AC Reward Search Tool (cowtool)

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Old Jul 19, 2021, 9:34 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: Adam Smith
SADLY, AS OF OCTOBER 5, THIS TOOL HAS BEEN SHUT DOWN INDEFINITELY AND LIKELY PERMANENTLY, AS DESCRIBED IN THIS POST.

Other cowtools remain available at cowtool.com

ACCESS RULES ARE CLEARLY DESCRIBED BELOW. READ THEM. DO NOT POST OR PM ADAM SMITH ABOUT ACCESS, OR YOU WILL BE BANNED FROM EVER GETTING ACCESS TO THE TOOL.


[PSA from forum moderator Adam Smith: since it doesn't seem obvious to everyone, please note that the cowtool was created by cowtool. He has invested hundreds of hours in creating this very useful tool and making it available to the FT community. I, Adam Smith, have had nothing to do with creation of the cowtool. I can do nothing to get you access to the cowtool. Please do not ask me to give you access - I can't and won't, and will suggest that you be blocked from the tool for this waste of time, and lack of appreciation for cowtool's efforts, as described in more detail in this post. Also note that, other than this section and a clearly indicated moderator note below, the author of this wiki, writing in first person, is canadiancow, on behalf of [cowtool].


Please do not PM other Flyertalk users to try and gain access to cowtool, for the same reasons Adam's laid out above. - YOWgary

https://acrewardsearcher.cowtool.com/

Due to abuse, you must now first register (see https://www.cowtool.com, and read the rest of this wiki) and sign in to use it. All access is logged (not what you're searching, but the complexity of the searches, and the number of searches). Abusers will be throttled or terminated. Continued abuse will lead to a more involved registration process, up to and including personal vetting by cowtool.

Access to this cowtool for new users is temporarily disabled due to anticipated ("I'm going to make a big blog post") publicity and actual increases in usage. This is not free for me, and I am concerned what will happen if all the US major blogs pick it up.

If anyone "new" needs an account here, as long as you have 25 posts and your account is at least 3 months old, please register for a cowtool account, and then PM me (please include your email address) and I'll set you up with reward search access.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO INCLUDE ANYTHING IN THE PM OTHER THAN YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. The PM interface shows me your posts and join date. A lot of people have explicitly included that information. It's unnecessary. I also don't need a paragraph of text, whether it's a please to bend the rules, or immense thanks. My life is immensely easier if the subject is "cowtool access" and the message is "[email protected]". I don't read the messages anyway.

However, I will read your posts, so don't spam FT with crap please. If you have a genuine interest in travel, points, and so on, it really isn't hard to make 25 contributive posts to FlyerTalk and be eligible for access. If you do not meet this threshold, I am not making an exception for you. Not because you live in SFO like me, not because you're really excited, and not because of any personal issues. In fact, if you PM me without meeting the requirements, you will be blocked from ever getting access. Moderator note: the rules for access are very clear. Please don't post in this thread, or anywhere else, asking how you can get access, offering to pay for access, or asking for the access rules to be changed. Those posts will be deleted.

I do not process PMs instantly. My goal is at least once per week, so it may take a few days.

Additionally, any Prince of Travel Platinum members may contact canadiancow over POT Discord for access.

Alerts
Basic price alerts were currently in available to all registered users. They have been turned off due to high load, until the system can be re-written to accommodate them.
Full search/availability alerts are in early alpha.
Each account is limited to 4 alerts* for now.

A price alert is set on a specific itinerary that includes AC metal (this may be expanded as we begin to see EK dynamic pricing). The general idea is that you making a booking at price X, set an alert, and then if the price drops, you'll get an email, and can rebook the itinerary at a lower price and cancel the old, more expensive, booking. This really only works well if you're SE or booked a fare with no cancellation fee. All results with AC flights will show a "Price alert" link on the right. Clicking this will add one. You can view all your alerts in the alerts section, where you can delete them, or select two one-way alerts to merge into a round-trip alert, which will determine the current round-trip price and reset the alert level (since round-trip pricing is not the sum of the two one-ways).

If you have at least 2500 FT posts and would like access to the price alert beta, send me a PM including the email you used to sign up for cowtool. There are currently no exceptions on the post count restriction. I am trying to slowly roll this out, and need an easy way to expand access, ideally to people who have contributed to FT a lot.

* Due to the fact that a round-trip alert requires making and then merging two alerts, the technical limit is 5, but I'm advertising it as 4.

Having Trouble? Hold "shift" and click the refresh button.

Feature Requests:
  • Allowing alerting by brand
  • Finish and release alerts
  • "Copy into round-trip alert" instead of "merge into" in case you want both
  • Option to launch AC.com in new tab should be saved to your account
  • Show more information about stops, such as the time
  • Save filters to profile
  • Historical prices
  • Colored background gradiated by %age of mixed cabin. Solid green if 100%, fading to white as percentage drops...
  • Option to enable a priority reward discount
  • Lie-flat filter (maybe with lie-flat % filter as well?) - Unsure if this data is easily accessible
  • +/- 1 or 2 days dropdown if entering a single value for date at top, grayed out if entering more than one date or range
  • Cities/Aircraft/Airlines should allow an OR condition in addition to the default/current AND


Bugs:
  • Annoying error dialog pops up far too regularly related to JS/Cognito crap
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[SHUT DOWN] Unofficial Advanced AC Reward Search Tool (cowtool)

Old Oct 6, 2021, 7:11 am
  #151  
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Posts: 1
UA will show the standard X award inventory that AC can ticket, but if you have a UA credit card or have status it will expose others like XN IN as an award that I don't think AC can use.
buzzini is offline  
Old Oct 6, 2021, 7:50 am
  #152  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 488
Originally Posted by ChrisA330
Availability on the UA website is only relevant if it's O,I or X class, depending on if it's First, Business or Economy. Anything else is UA's dynamic pricing only available to their members.
Sorry. I meant UA and actually Lifemiles as well, both show biz class, I, for LOT polish airlines but nada on AC website.
IamHungry is offline  
Old Oct 6, 2021, 10:45 am
  #153  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, BA Gold, SQ Silver, Bonvoy Tit LTG, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond
Posts: 44,518
Is it actually bookable on UA?

They put a lot of effort into eliminating phantom availability in the new program.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Oct 6, 2021, 12:20 pm
  #154  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: YVR
Programs: AC SE100K, Bonvoy Platinum Elite, IHG Gold, Hertz 5*
Posts: 2,132
Just wanted to drop a thank you here. Your tool saved me 40k points while keeping the same routing and date. Reminder to folks to keep checking back in the weeks leading up to your flight. Things do sometimes change for the better.
WaytoomuchEurope is offline  
Old Oct 6, 2021, 12:26 pm
  #155  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, BA Gold, SQ Silver, Bonvoy Tit LTG, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond
Posts: 44,518
Originally Posted by WaytoomuchEurope
Just wanted to drop a thank you here. Your tool saved me 40k points while keeping the same routing and date. Reminder to folks to keep checking back in the weeks leading up to your flight. Things do sometimes change for the better.
You owe me a drink
canadiancow is online now  
Old Oct 7, 2021, 10:00 pm
  #156  
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: YYZ
Programs: Aeroplan
Posts: 20
Is it possible for the AC booking link to be open in a new tab instead of opening in the current one?
throtter is offline  
Old Oct 8, 2021, 10:56 am
  #157  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, BA Gold, SQ Silver, Bonvoy Tit LTG, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond
Posts: 44,518
Originally Posted by throtter
Is it possible for the AC booking link to be open in a new tab instead of opening in the current one?
Sure. On Chrome for Mac, cmd-click. Chrome for Windows is ctrl-click. I guarantee other browsers have similar shortcuts.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Oct 12, 2021, 2:07 pm
  #158  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: BOS, YVR, ZRH
Programs: *G
Posts: 17,497
I have a huge complaint with this tool.

When I google "cowtool", the OTHER cowtool (the PNR viewer) is the first result, I need to google cowtool flyertalk to get to this thread.

HUGE issue. I demand an apology from Mr. Google. and cow.

jk, this thing has been supremely helpful.
Smiley90 is online now  
Old Oct 12, 2021, 2:13 pm
  #159  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, BA Gold, SQ Silver, Bonvoy Tit LTG, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond
Posts: 44,518
Just wait until I finish what I'm working on and the URL changes
canadiancow is online now  
Old Oct 16, 2021, 12:35 am
  #160  
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: YYZ
Programs: Aeroplan
Posts: 20
Originally Posted by canadiancow
Just wait until I finish what I'm working on and the URL changes
It'd be neat to select airlines "only" instead of "must-have" (basically just AC to find flights that can be eUp-ed)

Also, thanks for this tool, if there's a revamp in the future, I'm sure we're all looking forward to it
throtter is offline  
Old Oct 16, 2021, 12:47 am
  #161  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, BA Gold, SQ Silver, Bonvoy Tit LTG, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond
Posts: 44,518
That's a reasonable request, but the revamp is changing the whole backend to require authentication and eliminate timeouts.

But my real job has been getting in the way lately. Though it pays a bit more, so I'm generally okay with that.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Oct 16, 2021, 3:01 am
  #162  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: ZRH
Programs: AC SE 100K
Posts: 930
Just saying - am I the last person to find this link? Wow - it is seriously fast !!!!! Crazy.
zrh2yvr is offline  
Old Oct 16, 2021, 3:52 pm
  #163  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, BA Gold, SQ Silver, Bonvoy Tit LTG, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond
Posts: 44,518
A bug was pointed out to me yesterday whereby I wouldn't show results properly if there were, for example, only Latitude available, but not Standard or Flex.

This has now been fixed across all cabins.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Oct 17, 2021, 2:33 pm
  #164  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, BA Gold, SQ Silver, Bonvoy Tit LTG, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond
Posts: 44,518
Originally Posted by DrunkCargo
Searching by Points fails. Almost 10 hours ago I was able to do an Aeroplan redemption using what appeared to be a new user interface, including a filter for connecting cities and another filter the details of which I forget, along with the "DIsplay Options". Now, it appears to just be returning no flights.
Well, I can't let AC have a feature I don't for too long, so there's now connection city filtering.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Oct 17, 2021, 2:43 pm
  #165  
Moderator, Air Canada; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE MM, FB Plat, WS Plat, BA Silver, DL GM, Marriott Plat, Hilton Gold, Accor Silver
Posts: 16,837
Originally Posted by canadiancow
A bug was pointed out to me yesterday whereby I wouldn't show results properly if there were, for example, only Latitude available, but not Standard or Flex.

This has now been fixed across all cabins.
@canadiancow: bugs fixed within 1 day.

AC: I think we might still be dealing with website bugs from 10 years ago, even though they built a fancy new skin for it a few years ago?
Adam Smith is offline  

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