Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Air Canada | Aeroplan
Reload this Page >

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

Wikipost is Locked  
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
Print Wikipost

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

Old Jun 8, 2021, 4:56 pm
  #76  
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: 44,517
Originally Posted by jerryhung
Thanks Cow, very well done. I've missed coming here or flying

Few ideas
1. An example text besides the textbox is easier than a moving pop-up help or even a calendar dropdown for the date field
2. Can we add a Duration filter also? obviously don't want 40+ hours flight if I can find <17 hr flights


This worked well for me, now that Taiwan people are looking to fly to USA to get vaccines :P
https://api.ft.canadiancow.com/ac-re...7-31&airlines=
1. Yes, great idea.
2. You can already sort by duration, but a filter would also be easy.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 8, 2021, 5:47 pm
  #77  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 259
Since discovering this tool, I'm finding myself spending time trying to find sweet spots to MLE or HNL rather than playing Valheim. And that's impressive. Kudos!
Toddcan is offline  
Old Jun 9, 2021, 12:08 am
  #78  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 4,785
If we search too much, soon Aeroplan may add a CAPTCHA to block us :P
Although they have never done that before so I don't expect it
jerryhung is offline  
Old Jun 9, 2021, 12:25 am
  #79  
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: 44,517
Originally Posted by jerryhung
1. An example text besides the textbox is easier than a moving pop-up help or even a calendar dropdown for the date field
I've added the example text.

As for the dates, I guess it depends what people want.

I'm personally often looking for something like "any Friday or Saturday in July", so a "range" doesn't work well for me. However your example was just a range. I'm not really sure how to make that work well with a calendar.

But I also don't really care if the UX is amazing. Move fast and break things, right? Hence why this exists, and a calendar on AC.com doesn't?

Originally Posted by jerryhung
If we search too much, soon Aeroplan may add a CAPTCHA to block us :P
Although they have never done that before so I don't expect it
I've had some concerns with this, but they seem fine with it being pretty open on their website, and I'm being careful not to harm them.

Last edited by canadiancow; Jun 9, 2021 at 12:35 am
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 10, 2021, 4:56 am
  #80  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 4,785
Originally Posted by canadiancow
I've added the example text.

As for the dates, I guess it depends what people want.

I'm personally often looking for something like "any Friday or Saturday in July", so a "range" doesn't work well for me. However your example was just a range. I'm not really sure how to make that work well with a calendar.

But I also don't really care if the UX is amazing. Move fast and break things, right? Hence why this exists, and a calendar on AC.com doesn't?



I've had some concerns with this, but they seem fine with it being pretty open on their website, and I'm being careful not to harm them.
For dates, I was thinking maybe replace with 2 calendar drop-downs for people to choose date. But yes, UX is not a big deal really, especially once we can bookmark the search
Date1 is the range START date. and if Date 2 is left empty, Date1 is also the end date
Date2 (if filled) is the range END date
jerryhung is offline  
Old Jun 10, 2021, 11:33 am
  #81  
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: 44,517
Originally Posted by jerryhung
For dates, I was thinking maybe replace with 2 calendar drop-downs for people to choose date. But yes, UX is not a big deal really, especially once we can bookmark the search
Date1 is the range START date. and if Date 2 is left empty, Date1 is also the end date
Date2 (if filled) is the range END date
The problem is that specifically doesn't work for my case (i.e. any Friday or Saturday in July). And I'm not taking out a feature that I use
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 13, 2021, 1:28 pm
  #82  
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: 44,517
Replying to this here...

Originally Posted by bcnfish
That's a great tool if you're booking with Aeroplan. However if you're booking with another program and just want to be able to see I/X availability it's not very helpful. @ExpertFlyer Voice used to work great, I used the notifications all the time. I wish they'd bring back AC, not sure why it was removed given that there is still I/X inventory released that's used for partners.
bcnfish, it now has a checkbox in the filters section for if you're booking with a partner. It won't be perfect (it will show you AC+EY, for example), but it eliminates all the AC flights that can only be booked through Aeroplan.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 19, 2021, 3:53 pm
  #83  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 621
Maybe this is too niche, but would it be possible to have a time filter (probably with a departure / arrival time filter, rather than just a range like morning, afternoon, evening)? My workaround was to copy out the results to Excel and filter it there.
The use case I have was that I was looking for a flight within a month long period, but wanted to find the cheapest flight for a morning departure. (Looking to book a 2 day trip somewhere, didn't care about dates, but wanted maximum time on the ground while minimizing cost). If it's too hard to implement, I'm fine with using Excel.
zappy312 is offline  
Old Jun 19, 2021, 4:02 pm
  #84  
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: 44,517
Originally Posted by zappy312
Maybe this is too niche, but would it be possible to have a time filter (probably with a departure / arrival time filter, rather than just a range like morning, afternoon, evening)? My workaround was to copy out the results to Excel and filter it there.
The use case I have was that I was looking for a flight within a month long period, but wanted to find the cheapest flight for a morning departure. (Looking to book a 2 day trip somewhere, didn't care about dates, but wanted maximum time on the ground while minimizing cost). If it's too hard to implement, I'm fine with using Excel.
If we only look at non-stops, that's trivial.

But what if you have multi-stop itinerary. Does that mean the FIRST flight needs to depart between 1200-1600, or EACH flight needs to depart in that range, or...

It's definitely something I'd find useful (I hate 6am flights), but I want to figure out exactly what we want before I build it.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 19, 2021, 5:28 pm
  #85  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: YYZ
Programs: Bonvoy Plat
Posts: 87
This is amazing! Ever since AC updated their website, the award.flights plugin for chrome obviously stopped working. Happy to see something like this pop up AND have the cost in points included. Thank you!
smuncky is offline  
Old Jun 19, 2021, 6:24 pm
  #86  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 621
Originally Posted by canadiancow
If we only look at non-stops, that's trivial.

But what if you have multi-stop itinerary. Does that mean the FIRST flight needs to depart between 1200-1600, or EACH flight needs to depart in that range, or...

It's definitely something I'd find useful (I hate 6am flights), but I want to figure out exactly what we want before I build it.
I just need starting time of the itinerary, similar to what ITA Matrix or Google Flights does.

If someone has a use case for every flight, then that's fine since it would still cover what I'm looking for. (I guess looking for a longer layover along the journey, similar to my trip.)
zappy312 is offline  
Old Jun 20, 2021, 2:51 pm
  #87  
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: 44,517
Originally Posted by zappy312
I just need starting time of the itinerary, similar to what ITA Matrix or Google Flights does.

If someone has a use case for every flight, then that's fine since it would still cover what I'm looking for. (I guess looking for a longer layover along the journey, similar to my trip.)
Done.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 21, 2021, 7:11 pm
  #88  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 621
Originally Posted by canadiancow
Done.
You're amazing, thanks a million. If only airlines worked as fast and as well as you.
zappy312 is offline  
Old Jun 21, 2021, 9:19 pm
  #89  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 4,785
Q1 - what does this box do? I can't seem to notice any difference
I'm booking through Aeroplan (not a partner)

Q2 - I wonder if it's easy to generate a "filter/sort included URL"? so we don't have to re-do it every time. It can be done via a button or something?
I know right now the URL only contains the search parameters - date, origin/destination

e.g. https://api.ft.canadiancow.com/ac-re...7-31&airlines=
but say if I want to save the filter, like 50K points, Economy (Y), and order by Duration ASC (to find nonstop easily), is it hard to do?

Thanks Cow
jerryhung is offline  
Old Jun 21, 2021, 11:24 pm
  #90  
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: 44,517
Originally Posted by jerryhung
Q1 - what does this box do? I can't seem to notice any difference
I'm booking through Aeroplan (not a partner)
It hides space that isn't available to partners if you uncheck the box.

Originally Posted by jerryhung
Q2 - I wonder if it's easy to generate a "filter/sort included URL"? so we don't have to re-do it every time. It can be done via a button or something?
I know right now the URL only contains the search parameters - date, origin/destination

e.g. https://api.ft.canadiancow.com/ac-re...7-31&airlines=
but say if I want to save the filter, like 50K points, Economy (Y), and order by Duration ASC (to find nonstop easily), is it hard to do?
Yeah, that's been on the back of my mind. I'll get to it eventually.
canadiancow is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.