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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 15, 2021, 4:33 pm
  #46  
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: 44,516
Since there's no PII in this, I'm going to add some logging later before I turn it back on. If it turns out there's any abuse, I'll add some throttling or authentication.
canadiancow is online now  
Old May 15, 2021, 7:58 pm
  #47  
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: YYZ (&YTA/YOW/YVR)
Programs: AC SE (thanks to canadiancow)
Posts: 34
The cowlendar is incredible and I'm already missing it the few hours it's been down
doctornature is offline  
Old May 16, 2021, 10:30 am
  #48  
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC Super Elite, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 20
+1! One of the most awesome things I have seen on FT in years of lurking. Thanks, Mr. Cow.
timeout58 is offline  
Old May 16, 2021, 10:38 am
  #49  
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
Still just "Error searching" for me.

Originally Posted by timeout58
+1! One of the most awesome things I have seen on FT in years of lurking. Thanks, Mr. Cow.
Welcome to posting on FT
Adam Smith is offline  
Old May 16, 2021, 11:08 am
  #50  
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 26
Error reporting

If I search CUN to DXB I get a full response, NRT to SFO I get the same errors as over the previous few days.
RobDN is offline  
Old May 16, 2021, 11:19 am
  #51  
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: 44,516
Yeah, that's on AC's end, not mine.

In the Aeroplan booking engine bug report thread, people are seeing the same issue on the website.

I'll add a bit more verbose errors to this when I get to CUN or onboard my flight, but nothing I can really do here, since by the time AC times out, my tool's at the same timeout limit.
canadiancow is online now  
Old May 17, 2021, 4:38 pm
  #52  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: YYC
Programs: A3, AC
Posts: 140
Kind of an OCD thing, but is there a technical reason why some flights have a mixed cabin % of 99.99%?
cyralax is offline  
Old May 17, 2021, 11:23 pm
  #53  
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: 44,516
Originally Posted by cyralax
Kind of an OCD thing, but is there a technical reason why some flights have a mixed cabin % of 99.99%?
Floating point precision.

That should be easy for me to handle, but it's just one of those things where 1.0 / 10 = 0.10000000000000001
canadiancow is online now  
Old May 21, 2021, 9:52 pm
  #54  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: YVR
Programs: AC SEMM
Posts: 2,075
Fantastic tool. Thank you for making it available for us.

just noticed this:
YYZ-BDA no results. YVR-BDA many results including connections through YYZ

https://api.ft.canadiancow.com/ac-re...nes=&maxPrice=
Argonaut1000 is offline  
Old May 21, 2021, 9:59 pm
  #55  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: YVR
Programs: AC SEMM
Posts: 2,075
Same with this search.
https://api.ft.canadiancow.com/ac-re...nes=&maxPrice=

YVR - PVG no results.
YYZ - PVG lots of results including YVR connection
Argonaut1000 is offline  
Old May 21, 2021, 10:27 pm
  #56  
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: 44,516
Does AC's site show results for both?

Were there any errors when you did it?

By the way, errors now have a 3 digit number beside them. 529 should be the one everyone's seen, but I'd be curious to see others. I really need to add some persistent logging.
canadiancow is online now  
Old May 21, 2021, 10:50 pm
  #57  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: YVR
Programs: AC SEMM
Posts: 2,075
Im see error 200 for 10/22
yes there is availability on YVR-PVG 10/22 on AC.
Argonaut1000 is offline  
Old May 21, 2021, 11:07 pm
  #58  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: YVR
Programs: AC SEMM
Posts: 2,075
Also tried YYZ HKG vs YVR HKG with same results.
Somewhat worrying that flying AC on pacific routings is 200K vs Atlantic on LX or TK is 85K departing from YYZ in J
Argonaut1000 is offline  
Old May 22, 2021, 12:06 am
  #59  
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: 44,516
"error 200" is not something I ever thought I'd hear. "200" literally means "OK". So I'm going to need to look into that when I get on a flight with power (laptop is dead and phone is at 21%).

Maybe today, maybe tomorrow.
canadiancow is online now  
Old May 22, 2021, 12:46 am
  #60  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: YOW
Programs: AC SE, FOTSG Platinum
Posts: 5,811
Originally Posted by Argonaut1000
Also tried YYZ HKG vs YVR HKG with same results.
Somewhat worrying that flying AC on pacific routings is 200K vs Atlantic on LX or TK is 85K departing from YYZ in J
Not much different from a year ago, when you'd have seen those same LX/TK routings and there simply would have been zero AC award space.

​​​The YYZ/YVR thing is interesting though.
YOWgary is offline  

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