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-   -   Economical Excursionist's Tools to compare Frequent Flyer Mile Redemptions (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-tools/1568644-economical-excursionists-tools-compare-frequent-flyer-mile-redemptions.html)

EconomicalExcursionist Apr 12, 14 2:17 pm

Economical Excursionist's Tools to compare Frequent Flyer Mile Redemptions
 
Hey Everyone,

I'm a long time FlyerTalk reader, and first time poster. I wanted to let everyone know about a website that I created that lets you compare frequent flyer mile redemptions across different programs for a certain origin and destination. This took me quite a long time to make, but I really think it can be a valuable tool to help decide which mileage program is the best to use depending on where you live and where you want to go. Before I release it to the general public, I wanted to give the FlyerTalk community a sneak peek and see if you guys think it's useful and if there are any ways I could improve it.

Economical Excursionist's Travel Tools

Currently the program compares redemptions in the following points currencies:
  • American Airlines (OneWorld, Off Peak, AA only)
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (One World and Cathay Only)
  • British Airways Avios
  • US Airways (OneWorld, Off Peak, and US Only)
  • Singapore KrisFlyer (Singapore only and Star Alliance awards)
  • United MileagePlus (Star/Partner awards and United Only)
  • AirBerlin Top Bonus (AirBerlin only and OneWorld)
  • Avianca LifeMiles (StarAlliance Awards)
  • JAL Mileage Bank (OneWorld, Partner, and JAL Awards)
  • ANA Mileage Club (Star Alliance and ANA only awards)

I'll monitor this thread and respond to any questions / feature requests, so please let me know what you think!

Thanks!

Ben

TonyPlush Apr 12, 14 6:56 pm

Pretty cool. I'd probably use it since it looks to be pretty beneficial for brainstorming vacations and getting a quick and rough idea for how many miles would be needed to certain places. The biggest limiting factor I can see is that redemption rates change based on when you fly, and that doesn't show up on this site.

I do especially like that it has distances for different routes quickly listed there. I haven't seen that on a website before and could see myself using that when calculating how many miles I can expect for trips.

Finkface Apr 12, 14 7:08 pm

Very cool. I have played with it a bit and I like it. I'd like to see Alaska Airlines mileage plan currency on there as they aren't in an alliance but their redemptions are stellar to certain destinations and/or partners, such as EK and CX.

EconomicalExcursionist Apr 12, 14 9:22 pm

Thanks a bunch for the feedback. It's in the pretty early stages of development right now, so I'm certainly open to the possibilities of improving things.


Originally Posted by TonyPlush (Post 22695216)
The biggest limiting factor I can see is that redemption rates change based on when you fly, and that doesn't show up on this site.

Yeah, this can be an issue with some programs. For example, with the AA Off Peak dates, I just loaded those awards in as a different "chart" and then put some notes on the "Awards" tab to list the valid dates. Things like ANA's Low/Regular/High Seasons for their award chart are a bit harder.


Originally Posted by Finkface (Post 22695246)
Very cool. I have played with it a bit and I like it. I'd like to see Alaska Airlines mileage plan currency on there as they aren't in an alliance but their redemptions are stellar to certain destinations and/or partners, such as EK and CX.

Thanks! I am working on adding in more Award Charts for comparison. I agree that Alaska would be cool, but they are a bit tougher because they have a separate chart for each partner. I'll hopefully be adding them soon, though.

Mwenenzi Apr 13, 14 12:11 am

Some frequent flyer programs and/or specific awards can have significant carrier imposed fees (YQ fuel surcharge etc) in addition to the real government taxes. The real taxes tend to be in 10's of $ (same or all airlines), where as carrier imposed fees can be in 100's or 1000's of $. For awards these fees should be a major factor in selecting which ffp you use to collect miles. Without knowledge of surcharges comparisons are not that valid. I suggest another column stating if YQ etc is charged. EK would be a good addition

EconomicalExcursionist Apr 13, 14 2:49 am


Originally Posted by Mwenenzi (Post 22696050)
Without knowledge of surcharges comparisons are not that valid. I suggest another column stating if YQ etc is charged.

Thanks for the input. I updated the site this morning to show YQ. I'm not an expert on who charges YQ on award redemptions, but I think what I have is a good start. Please let me know if any of the Fuel Surcharge notes that I have in there aren't accurate.

Mwenenzi Apr 13, 14 3:05 am

Thats good. For many (all?) the amount of YQ $ is hard to determine unless making an award. And then there are things like AA charging YQ for awards on BA aircraft only, and not on AA or other partners. (Not 100% sure if its only on BA)

EconomicalExcursionist Apr 13, 14 7:36 am

Okay, I just added in the routes for the following airlines:

- Aer Lingus
- Air Tahiti Nui
- Bangkok Airways
- Cyprus Airways
- El Al Israel Airlines
- Emirates
- Etihad Airways
- Fiji Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Jet Airways
- JetBlue Airways
- SriLankan Airlines

I also added in the Alaska Award Charts for travel on Emirates, American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, LAN, and Qantas :)

caGALINDO Apr 13, 14 3:31 pm

This is awesome.

dr88 Apr 13, 14 4:25 pm

Well done. Love the layout!

SanDiego1K Apr 13, 14 7:18 pm

This is fantastic.

I clicked around and found how to limit it to class of service. Is there a way to limit the results to programs where I have miles/points?

Is it possible that the results are pulling from an older US award chart? As of a few days ago, US pushed its biz award to North Asia from 90K RT to 110 RT.

It might be helpful to have a chart that links the mileage program and the carrier. I'm relatively immersed in these programs, but would have to go searching to figure out TopBonus or MileagePlan (for example).

You state that you have Avios/British Airways pricing. Could you please explain where I find that? I'm looking at LAX-TPE that requires a connection if a OneWorld member is flown. I don't see Avios pricing in the list.

When I look at SAN-OGG, I know from personal research that BA Avios is the cheapest redemption in coach. AS has nonstop service. This requires 12,500 Avios. However, 17,000 Avios are shown for a SAN-LAX-OGG route.

EconomicalExcursionist Apr 14, 14 2:00 am

Thanks for all of the feedback :) Glad to hear that people like the tool.


Originally Posted by SanDiego1K (Post 22699482)
I clicked around and found how to limit it to class of service. Is there a way to limit the results to programs where I have miles/points?

Yep, working on this currently. Should have it done soon. Fortunately if you have SPG points, you'll be able to transfer to most all of the points currencies that the tool displays. I'm also working on showing the prices in terms of SPG points to factor in the 25% bonus when transferring points.


Originally Posted by SanDiego1K (Post 22699482)
Is it possible that the results are pulling from an older US award chart? As of a few days ago, US pushed its biz award to North Asia from 90K RT to 110 RT.

Yeah, I need to update that award chart. Unfortunately the change came out right before I launched the tool. I did update the pricing on the route that you mentioned, as I know that was quite a popular redemption. Since I currently live in Germany, I still have the benefit of 80k RT in Business :)


Originally Posted by SanDiego1K (Post 22699482)
It might be helpful to have a chart that links the mileage program and the carrier. I'm relatively immersed in these programs, but would have to go searching to figure out TopBonus or MileagePlan (for example).

Yeah, the naming can be confusing because they pretty much all sound exactly the same. I'll add a column to the "Awards" table that displays which Airline Runs which program. Good idea.


Originally Posted by SanDiego1K (Post 22699482)
You state that you have Avios/British Airways pricing. Could you please explain where I find that? I'm looking at LAX-TPE that requires a connection if a OneWorld member is flown. I don't see Avios pricing in the list.

The Avios pricing should be displayed in the Awards section with all of the other programs. Unfortunately it looks like I currently have a bug with Avios if you are looking for Business / First class. The price does show up as 40k for Economy (with connections through NRT, so 30k LAX-NRT + 10k NRT-TPE ), but I'll have to work on showing the business/first Avios Prices. Avios is unique in how the price awards, so I had to make them a special case in the program, which led to the bug. I'll work on a fix.


Originally Posted by SanDiego1K (Post 22699482)
When I look at SAN-OGG, I know from personal research that BA Avios is the cheapest redemption in coach. AS has nonstop service. This requires 12,500 Avios. However, 17,000 Avios are shown for a SAN-LAX-OGG route.

Yeah, one of the hardest parts of this program is trying to load in all of the routes from various airlines. I've found quite a few different ways to do this, but I still don't have perfect data on all routes. I think I'm pretty good with one world and star alliance carriers, but SkyTeam is a mess, and loading in the non-alliance partners like Alaska is also pretty hard.

For AS, I ended up loading in the routes from OpenFlights (Which I think might be affiliated with cockpitvisit's Airline Route Mapper tool. Unfortunately, there are a lot of incorrect / out of date / missing routes in this database, so I try to use other sources when possible.

I double checked, and now SAN-OGG displays correctly in Economy :)

Mwenenzi Apr 14, 14 2:13 am


Originally Posted by EconomicalExcursionists (Post 22700679)
..Yeah, the naming can be confusing because they pretty much all sound exactly the same. I'll add a column to the "Awards" table that displays which Airline Runs which program. Good idea.

Or the airline code in brackets after the program name "Topbonus(AB)". Most who would use the tool will be familiar with the IATA codes. Too many columns may clutter up the screen

StartinSanDiego Apr 14, 14 7:51 pm

This is terrific! Thanks for this handy tool. With all the recent devaluation changes, it's nice just to get a ballpark idea of which mileage currency would work.
I agree with SD1K-- some programs I'm unsure of the name, and will need to research my access to the points. Tying it in to the airline name would be helpful.

EconomicalExcursionist Apr 15, 14 12:17 am


Originally Posted by SanDiego1K (Post 22699482)
It might be helpful to have a chart that links the mileage program and the carrier. I'm relatively immersed in these programs, but would have to go searching to figure out TopBonus or MileagePlan (for example).


Originally Posted by StartinSanDiego (Post 22705156)
I agree with SD1K-- some programs I'm unsure of the name, and will need to research my access to the points. Tying it in to the airline name would be helpful.

Okay, I updated the award chart to display the airline name first. I agree, I think this is much better information than the name of the Loyalty Program.


Originally Posted by Mwenenzi (Post 22700710)
Or the airline code in brackets after the program name "Topbonus(AB)". Most who would use the tool will be familiar with the IATA codes. Too many columns may clutter up the screen

I actually ended up "hiding" the Program Name column by default now so it doesn't add to the size of the table. You can show/hide columns by hovering over the column heading, clicking the down arrow, then selecting which columns to show/hide.


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