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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 May 11, 2021, 11:20 am
  #16  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, BA Gold, SQ Silver, Bonvoy Tit LTG, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond
Posts: 44,508
Originally Posted by krayZpaving
One other question - is the pricing the "no status, no credit card" price? Presuming so, but always worth checking those things!
Yeah, and it'll stay that way unless you want to give me your Aeroplan number, password, and turn off 2FA

But this again shows something I keep ignoring. I really only care about partner flights, so I haven't even thought about things like this.

Last edited by canadiancow; May 11, 2021 at 11:31 am
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Old May 11, 2021, 12:46 pm
  #17  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 627
Nice speed improvement over yesterday with the 4 concurrent searches. Any way to be able to input a range of dates in instead of comma separating each date?
joeags is online now  
Old May 11, 2021, 1:17 pm
  #18  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, BA Gold, SQ Silver, Bonvoy Tit LTG, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond
Posts: 44,508
Originally Posted by joeags
Nice speed improvement over yesterday with the 4 concurrent searches. Any way to be able to input a range of dates in instead of comma separating each date?
Yeah that's definitely the next item on my to-do list. But I didn't bring my laptop to the beach

I have to be careful with how many dates I allow though... I don't want to cause a DDoS.

​​​​​​Though if I really want to show a "calendar", I guess I'll need to allow at least 30 days.
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Old May 11, 2021, 1:56 pm
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Halifax
Programs: AC SE100K, Marriott Lifetime Platinum Elite. NEXUS
Posts: 4,584
Originally Posted by krayZpaving
One other question - is the pricing the "no status, no credit card" price? Presuming so, but always worth checking those things!
One can't have perfection.... Would a given person not have a similar fixed % discount, so making the relative price all that matters? And/or if you were trying to find a particular special promotion then you say yes or no to the promo, not search rather randomly for the best (list) deal.
RangerNS is offline  
Old May 11, 2021, 1:59 pm
  #20  
Moderator, Air Canada; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Posts: 16,836
@canadiancow, thanks for taking the time to work on this, especially during your vacation to Cowbo San Lucas

I will echo @krayZpaving's request for connecting itineraries... The non-stop thing is great if you live in a city with lots of international *A service, or if you're happy to build everything leg-by-leg, but it might be nice to be able to just get a few options for something like YYC-CPH or YYC-SIN without having to manually search a bunch.
Adam Smith is offline  
Old May 11, 2021, 2:10 pm
  #21  
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Posts: 44,508
Okay, that shouldn't be too difficult. Just have to make sure there's a mixed cabin filter then. Though it also makes the cabin filter more challenging.

​​​​​​
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Old May 11, 2021, 3:20 pm
  #22  
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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Posts: 44,508
Originally Posted by Adam Smith
@canadiancow, thanks for taking the time to work on this, especially during your vacation to Cowbo San Lucas
I missed this part when I replied. This is fun. I'm exercising skills that are vaguely related to my new job (though more so than my previous job), building something I will personally use on a regular basis.

Also, I have a VERY preliminary multi-segment result option now. The cabin it shows for each flight is incorrect though - it's just the highest cabin on the itinerary. So I need to fix that.

Also I found power out on my balcony by my pool, so while I'm still not willing to plug in when I'm in the water, at least I can work outdoors when I'm at 9% battery (as I was after sitting at the beach).

Edit: Fixed

Last edited by canadiancow; May 11, 2021 at 3:52 pm
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Old May 11, 2021, 4:52 pm
  #23  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: YVR
Programs: AC*SE-MM, BA Bronze, Marriott Titanium & lifetime Plat
Posts: 1,820
BTW, this helped me find a cheap SYD-YVR in J leg (85k one-way), so very much appreciate the impact already!
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Old May 11, 2021, 4:59 pm
  #24  
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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You can now enter dates like "2021-05-18:2021-05-23,2021-05-25"

That will search all dates from May 18 through May 23, as well as May 25 (that is, it skips May 24).
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Old May 11, 2021, 5:19 pm
  #25  
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Okay so I've set a hard limit of 52 origin/destination/date queries. Above that it's just not worth the effort because it will almost certainly time out. If anyone gets a timeout any more, I want to hear about it.

This number can potentially be increased if I increase the parallelism of the searching, but again, I don't want to instigate a DDoS.

And now I think I'm putting away IntelliJ for the day.
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Old May 12, 2021, 7:18 am
  #26  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 63
Looks great.
With this version i find im trying to figure out total trip time and connection time in my head, is there a way to have that info displayed
Other than that there's no other info i really want when determining what connections to choose, and the displaying of aircraft type and class of fare makes this option superior to the AC version
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Old May 12, 2021, 10:44 am
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
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This is fun. And effective. Thank you good sir!
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Old May 12, 2021, 11:16 am
  #28  
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Originally Posted by ThePopes
Looks great.
With this version i find im trying to figure out total trip time and connection time in my head, is there a way to have that info displayed
Other than that there's no other info i really want when determining what connections to choose, and the displaying of aircraft type and class of fare makes this option superior to the AC version
Yeah, connection time and total duration should be pretty simple.
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Old May 13, 2021, 7:43 am
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: YYC
Programs: A3, AC
Posts: 140
Thanks so much for the tool @canadiancow! Makes searching for rewards so much easier than using the AC interface.

Small-ish request, any chance you can implement a sort function? Maybe a list with a few common ones like trip duration(low to high), price(low to high)(what I'm really after) and number of connections?
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Old May 13, 2021, 11:29 am
  #30  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: YVR
Programs: Ice Cream Club, AC SE MM, Bonvoy Life Plat
Posts: 2,803
Originally Posted by canadiancow
I have to be careful with how many dates I allow though... I don't want to cause a DDoS.
Originally Posted by canadiancow
This number can potentially be increased if I increase the parallelism of the searching, but again, I don't want to instigate a DDoS.
Technically it would likely only be a DoS, not a DDoS. Always cool to see new tools to help burn off those points! Kudos!
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