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

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Old Jul 19, 21, 10:34 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 10, 21, 12:39 pm
  #1  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, AA PPro, UA Gold, Bonvoy Tit LT Sil, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond, Accor Silver
Posts: 43,531
[SHUT DOWN] Unofficial Advanced AC Reward Search Tool (cowtool)

Please read the wiki at the top of the thread before PMing cowtool or posting in this thread.

Like everyone else, I've been a little annoyed with the lack of search options under the new Aeroplan program. My typical desire is to find something like "west coast USA to Japan in F on a small date range". I can position to LAX or SEA easily, and I really only care about the long-haul segment.

I threw this together in about an hour on Saturday, and then spent another hour or so tweaking it and getting it onto AWS.

https://acrewardsearcher.cowtool.com/

Any feedback is appreciated.

Last edited by Adam Smith; Aug 19, 23 at 12:29 am
canadiancow is online now  
Old May 10, 21, 12:59 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: YVR
Programs: AC*SE-MM, BA Bronze, Marriott Titanium & lifetime Plat
Posts: 1,815
Looks great.
Would like to see non-stop options too (maybe with a flag). E.g., I'm starting from Perth and want to get back to Vancouver. Don't really mind which route I take, but being able to look at various flights out of PER connecting to say YYC and SEA as well as YVR would be useful as positioning is easy then.
krayZpaving is offline  
Old May 10, 21, 1:28 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Body in Downtown YYZ, heart and mind elsewhere
Programs: UA 50K, refugee from AC E50K, Marriott Lifetime Plat
Posts: 5,113
Thanks for doing this! More tools are always useful!

I tried variations of this: https://api.ft.canadiancow.com/ac-re...lines=UA,SK,OS

But kept getting: {"message": "Endpoint request timed out"}

I'm guessing it's the date range that really pushed things too far. I trimmed the search to: https://api.ft.canadiancow.com/ac-re...lines=UA,SK,OS

But it still timed out.

Then I tried this: https://api.ft.canadiancow.com/ac-re...,J&airlines=UA

And it still timed out.

Not wanting to give up easily, I tried this: https://api.ft.canadiancow.com/ac-re...=J&airlines=UA

And it timed out.

I don't particularly mind typing all that stuff into the URL; it's no worse really than using advanced routing in ITA. Yes an interface would be nice but for now, it's not a priority for me. In terms of general usefulness (forget the fact I just went 0 for 4!), I'd say it's important to be able to search a variety of origins. Flying from East Coast, I would always consider ORD, EWR, JFK, IAD as my standard airports in addition to occasionally searching YYZ, YUL.

Thanks again for your work on this!
RCyyz is offline  
Old May 10, 21, 1:31 pm
  #4  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, AA PPro, UA Gold, Bonvoy Tit LT Sil, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond, Accor Silver
Posts: 43,531
Airports and dates are the only things that matter for being "too much" right now.

Your first is 4 * 3 * 2, which is 24, which is well over the 6-7 limit I mentioned

Your last is 2 * 2 * 1, which is 4, which should work. It did work for me.

Also, I just deployed a broken form, so uh, don't use the form yet

Edit: Fixed the form
canadiancow is online now  
Old May 10, 21, 3:12 pm
  #5  
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, AA PPro, UA Gold, Bonvoy Tit LT Sil, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond, Accor Silver
Posts: 43,531
I've made a few improvements. You should be able to search close to 30 origin/destination/date combinations now. It also displays the price, since it was pointed out to me that YVR-YYZ on AC can cost a wide range of points
user20230726 likes this.
canadiancow is online now  
Old May 10, 21, 5:06 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: YOW
Programs: AC SE, FOTSG Platinum
Posts: 5,412
First of all, this is amazing. I owe you a round of drinks at the next DO for sure.

Second - if there were a way to set "search I-space only", or set a maximum acceptable cost , that would be enormous. For example, if I could set as a search condition "show me any date that there's J space YVR-SYD in the first half of March, where the cost per seat is below 200,000".

Is that crazy?
YOWgary is offline  
Old May 10, 21, 5:35 pm
  #7  
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Not crazy at all. When I first hacked this out, I was only thinking of partner F, so "price" was never an issue.

I could filter by I/P/Z/etc for AC, but I could just as easily filter by price, which sounds like it's more what you care about.

Stuff like that is pretty trivial to add. I'm drinking some bubbly in SJD right now, but when I might get in the pool with my laptop and add that feature in a few minutes.
canadiancow is online now  
Old May 10, 21, 5:50 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC SEMM / HH Diamond
Posts: 3,065
Originally Posted by canadiancow
Not crazy at all. When I first hacked this out, I was only thinking of partner F, so "price" was never an issue.

I could filter by I/P/Z/etc for AC, but I could just as easily filter by price, which sounds like it's more what you care about.

Stuff like that is pretty trivial to add. I'm drinking some bubbly in SJD right now, but when I might get in the pool with my laptop and add that feature in a few minutes.
Nice tool, Cow. Kudos as always.

I presume the "cabin" option truly means cabin, and not fare class? AKA, "J" means "any business class seat"? If it's really just cabin, then that entry field might be better served as four checkboxes (F, J, PY, Y)

It would be great if there were some output sort options. Sort by points might even be the default, but I could imagine sort by date - and heck, even sort by plane might be useful (to easily find the lie-flat options)
canopus27 is offline  
Old May 10, 21, 5:59 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by canopus27
Nice tool, Cow. Kudos as always.

I presume the "cabin" option truly means cabin, and not fare class? AKA, "J" means "any business class seat"? If it's really just cabin, then that entry field might be better served as four checkboxes (F, J, PY, Y)

It would be great if there were some output sort options. Sort by points might even be the default, but I could imagine sort by date - and heck, even sort by plane might be useful (to easily find the lie-flat options)
Yes, cabin.

And yes, that does sound like a better option for the input.

Right now, it should sort by date, then origin, then destination, then cabin. I'm sure I could add some simple js to allow you to sort the results client-side.
canadiancow is online now  
Old May 10, 21, 6:12 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: YOW
Programs: AC SE, FOTSG Platinum
Posts: 5,412
Originally Posted by canadiancow
Not crazy at all. When I first hacked this out, I was only thinking of partner F, so "price" was never an issue.

I could filter by I/P/Z/etc for AC, but I could just as easily filter by price, which sounds like it's more what you care about.

Stuff like that is pretty trivial to add. I'm drinking some bubbly in SJD right now, but when I might get in the pool with my laptop and add that feature in a few minutes.
Never let me be the one to come between a man and his beverage.

Part of this is me thinking about times I'm trying to book AC metal with partner points (like an ANA RTW) but it's also nice to be able to filter the days that are priced so high there may as well not be availability.
YOWgary is offline  
Old May 10, 21, 6:32 pm
  #11  
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Posts: 43,531
Okay, so now you can filter by maximum price, and you can choose cabins with a much more intuitive set of checkboxes.

My laptop is running out of power though, and I'm not sure it's a good idea to plug it in while I'm in the pool.
canadiancow is online now  
Old May 10, 21, 8:31 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: YVR - MILLS Waypoint (It's the third house on the left)
Programs: AC*SE100K, wood level status in various other programs
Posts: 5,950
Originally Posted by canadiancow
my laptop is running out of power though, and i'm not sure it's a good idea to plug it in while i'm in the pool.
noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Bohemian1 is online now  
Old May 10, 21, 9:32 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: YOW
Programs: AC SE, FOTSG Platinum
Posts: 5,412
Originally Posted by canadiancow
My laptop is running out of power though, and I'm not sure it's a good idea to plug it in while I'm in the pool.
Would the result be beef stew, or steak sous vide?

You're already figuratively killing yourself for the community's benefit here, let's skip the part where you do it literally.
YOWgary is offline  
Old May 10, 21, 9:34 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: USA
Programs: Cowtool $ contributor, AC SE100K, WN CP, F9 50k, NK Gold, UA *S, Hyatt Glob, Bonvoy Titanium
Posts: 5,027
Originally Posted by canadiancow
My laptop is running out of power though, and I'm not sure it's a good idea to plug it in while I'm in the pool.
That might make for some extra well-done cow!
​​
expert7700 is offline  
Old May 11, 21, 12:19 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: YVR
Programs: AC*SE-MM, BA Bronze, Marriott Titanium & lifetime Plat
Posts: 1,815
One other question - is the pricing the "no status, no credit card" price? Presuming so, but always worth checking those things!
krayZpaving is offline  

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