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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 Jun 22, 2021, 6:57 pm
  #91  
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: 44,519
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?
I brought my laptop to a bar (Ungrafted) because I was ... ready to stop working for the day.

I made various tweaks to the tool, including adding the backend for your suggestion (i.e. https://api.ft.canadiancow.com/ac-re...eparture=22:00 )

I haven't built the front-end yet, but the champagne is kicking in, so it might have to wait until tomorrow.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 22, 2021, 7:35 pm
  #92  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: YVR
Programs: OZ Diamond, Jiffypark Manhattan Gold
Posts: 4,485
Dude...this is awesome, the sheer speed at which it searches it fantastic. You definitely don't need me to tell you I'm impressed, but I'm impressed! Sure there's not much GUI to look at lol, but who cares, it gets the job done!

I see the "are you booking through a partner" thing. I tried that but didn't really see a change. So is this exclusively an AP tool? Either way very useful. Honestly I used to use Expertflyer and was ok paying the sub fee as long as I was travelling. I have points spread across multiple programs so it helps with that cuz some of their websites absolutely suck (COUGH SQ) but something as simple as this would actually make me lean towards accumulating AC points with a purpose again. I still won't credit all my earnings there, cuz I won't make elite, but if a really good sale of miles comes up or whatnot, I won't hesitate to lump more points in. Many thanks!
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Old Jun 22, 2021, 7:55 pm
  #93  
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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: 44,519
Originally Posted by drvannostren
I see the "are you booking through a partner" thing. I tried that but didn't really see a change. So is this exclusively an AP tool?
Search YYZ-YVR and compare the results to AC's website and UA's website. Unchecking that box definitely removes a ton of AC-operated itineraries.

To clarify something though, this will only show availability that can be booked through AC. You won't see SQ F or UA IN, etc.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 23, 2021, 12:28 am
  #94  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: YVR
Programs: OZ Diamond, Jiffypark Manhattan Gold
Posts: 4,485
Originally Posted by canadiancow
Search YYZ-YVR and compare the results to AC's website and UA's website. Unchecking that box definitely removes a ton of AC-operated itineraries.

To clarify something though, this will only show availability that can be booked through AC. You won't see SQ F or UA IN, etc.
Alright thanks, now if only the airlines themselves just went with something like this!
drvannostren is offline  
Old Jun 23, 2021, 8:50 am
  #95  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: London UK
Programs: AC 75K; HHonors Diamond; IHG Diamond; Bonvoy Gold;
Posts: 18
Originally Posted by canadiancow
Search YYZ-YVR and compare the results to AC's website and UA's website. Unchecking that box definitely removes a ton of AC-operated itineraries.

To clarify something though, this will only show availability that can be booked through AC. You won't see SQ F or UA IN, etc.
First of all, this tool is AMAZING. So fast, convenient, flexible and intuitive. Kudos.

One question -- I'm not able to align results using the "(NOT) booking with Aeroplan" filter with actual availability on partner airlines. For example, the following search yields three, J-class, YYZ-LHR non-stops with availability for two passengers on Sep 21, 26 and 27. But checking availability on UA or ANA yields nothing for the entire month of September.

api.ft.canadiancow.com/ac-rewardsearcher/ac-rewardsearcher?pax=2&origins=YYZ&destinations=LHR& dates=2021-09-21%3A2021-09-30&airlines=AC

Having read a million posts on this forum, I'm still confused about how Aeroplan signals AC award availability for partner airlines? I understand that it's no longer linked to Aeroplan points, as these are now dynamic and no longer linked to award class. But are their still AC award classes (X, I), and if so: how does this tool detect? (And a related question, why can't Expert Flyer detect any longer?)

Thanks again for all your work on this, and for sharing. And thanks to everyone for any insights on my questions!
dirkhotel is offline  
Old Jun 23, 2021, 11:32 am
  #96  
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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: 44,519
Originally Posted by dirkhotel
First of all, this tool is AMAZING. So fast, convenient, flexible and intuitive. Kudos.

One question -- I'm not able to align results using the "(NOT) booking with Aeroplan" filter with actual availability on partner airlines. For example, the following search yields three, J-class, YYZ-LHR non-stops with availability for two passengers on Sep 21, 26 and 27. But checking availability on UA or ANA yields nothing for the entire month of September.

api.ft.canadiancow.com/ac-rewardsearcher/ac-rewardsearcher?pax=2&origins=YYZ&destinations=LHR& dates=2021-09-21%3A2021-09-30&airlines=AC

Having read a million posts on this forum, I'm still confused about how Aeroplan signals AC award availability for partner airlines? I understand that it's no longer linked to Aeroplan points, as these are now dynamic and no longer linked to award class. But are their still AC award classes (X, I), and if so: how does this tool detect? (And a related question, why can't Expert Flyer detect any longer?)

Thanks again for all your work on this, and for sharing. And thanks to everyone for any insights on my questions!
Okay I guess that option needs more work.

This is, first and foremost, a tool for searching out Aeroplan bookings 🤷
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 25, 2021, 9:28 am
  #97  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by canadiancow
I brought my laptop to a bar (Ungrafted) because I was ... ready to stop working for the day.

I made various tweaks to the tool, including adding the backend for your suggestion (i.e. https://api.ft.canadiancow.com/ac-re...eparture=22:00 )

I haven't built the front-end yet, but the champagne is kicking in, so it might have to wait until tomorrow.
Any chance to open-source the front-end so we can help with it? I've been using it frequently for myself and to help others book and I want to help improve it so it's easier to use for everyone.
thedoraemon is offline  
Old Jun 25, 2021, 11:44 am
  #98  
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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: 44,519
Originally Posted by thedoraemon
Any chance to open-source the front-end so we can help with it? I've been using it frequently for myself and to help others book and I want to help improve it so it's easier to use for everyone.
It would take a fair bit of work to split them apart at this point. I hacked this together without thinking too much about the architecture.

All it really needs is some auto-updating link that changes whenever any input fields change, which even for me, shouldn't be too bad. One of these days...

Maybe my next project should be separating the front from the back though.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jul 13, 2021, 5:51 pm
  #99  
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Posts: 1
This is a great tool, thanks so much for putting it together, it is extremely helpful.

Last edited by aviator5; Jul 13, 2021 at 6:53 pm
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Old Jul 16, 2021, 8:12 pm
  #100  
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Posts: 14
This is excellent! Thanks for sharing!
hermesN is offline  
Old Jul 16, 2021, 8:19 pm
  #101  
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: 44,519
Seems like there's an issue where sometimes the AC.com link takes you to the wrong date. I'll try to get that fixed sometime in the next 24 hours.

Edit: Fixed

There was an assumption that every search response would be returned in the order they went out, which was definitely not true.

Last edited by canadiancow; Jul 16, 2021 at 11:24 pm
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jul 17, 2021, 1:59 am
  #102  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: USA
Programs: AA Gold, Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 311
I just wanted to thank @canadiancow for this amazing tool. It really saved my hide when salvaging a legacy mRTW over a lengthy phone call with the "lovely" Aeroplan help desk.
milesforhire is offline  
Old Jul 17, 2021, 1:50 pm
  #103  
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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: 44,519
I don't know what happened a week ago, but this wasn't getting too much usage before then. If this keeps up I guess I'll have to implement free user accounts and rate limiting.

canadiancow is online now  
Old Jul 17, 2021, 1:52 pm
  #104  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Ontario Canada
Programs: Air Canada 50K - Hilton Diamond - Marriott Platinum
Posts: 283
Originally Posted by canadiancow
I don't know what happened a week ago, but this wasn't getting too much usage before then. If this keeps up I guess I'll have to implement free user accounts and rate limiting.

Prince of Travel mentioned it in a livestream
Aselwyn is offline  
Old Jul 17, 2021, 3:46 pm
  #105  
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: 44,519
Originally Posted by Aselwyn
Prince of Travel mentioned it in a livestream https://youtu.be/GVOm78Y8C0A?t=2360
Thanks. I'm glad I watched that. I saw a YYZ-EWR (F) -BOM (J) that listed as 96% mixed cabin because "F". I need to fix that.
canadiancow is online now  

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