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But there are other options! Award Nexus is a paid service which can help you find award tickets, including on some airlines you can NOT search using ExpertFlyer.
Let’s look at Award Nexus‘ basic features and see if it’s right for you!
How Does It Work?
Link: Award Nexus
Award Nexus searches work on a points system. When you sign-up for a membership (free or paid), you’ll get a certain number of points deposited to your account:
- Free Membership (must be a FlyerTalk or Milepoint / Inside Flyer member) – 200 points (free 100 point refill every 90 days)
- Premium Basic Membership – $59 – 500 points
- Premium Advanced Membership – $129 – 2,000 points
- Premium Expert Membership – $249 – 4,000 points
Each point is good for 1 search, on 1 airline website, for 1 day, and in 1 class of service.
Paid memberships aren’t cheap! And I wouldn’t recommend signing-up for a premium subscription until you’ve tried out the free membership to see if it’s useful for you.
Some folks prefer Award Nexus over ExpertFlyer because Award Nexus can access some airlines which ExperFlyer can NOT.
For example, ExpertFlyer will not search for seats on Cathay Pacific. But you can using Award Nexus!
With Award Nexus, you can search for:
- Star Alliance airline award tickets (using Air Canada or ANA search engines)
- oneworld airline award tickets (using British Airways or Qantas search engines)
- SkyTeam airline award tickets (using Air France search engine)
- Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific award tickets (using Japan Airlines search engine)
- Alaska Airlines and Emirates award tickets (using Qantas search engine)
This is a great time-saver! You’d otherwise have to manually log into different airline websites and search for your flights, which can take hours!
Let’s look at some examples.
1. New York (JFK) to London Heathrow
Suppose you have miles in a few different frequent flyer programs and you want to fly from New York to London in October. Your travel date is flexible within plus or minus 2 days.
On Award Nexus you can specify which airline websites or alliances you’d like to search.
Fill in the route, date (you can search up to plus or minus 7 days from a specific date), number of passengers, and the class of service.
Then check the boxes to indicate which airline websites you want Award Nexus to search. I chose Air Canada (Star Alliance), British Airways (oneworld), and Air France (SkyTeam) to see the most results.
Note: I took these screenshots a while back, but everything still works the same!
Hint: Don’t click every single search website. You’ll be charged more points (because each website counts as 1 search). You can check the number of points the search will cost at the upper right hand corner of the screen.
So if you only have miles with Star Alliance airlines, like United Airlines, don’t bother clicking oneworld (British Airways) or SkyTeam (Air France) searches.
Depending on how complex your search is, it may take a few minutes (or more). If you don’t want to wait, you can have your search results emailed to you.
My search returned 242 itineraries with available award seats! Non-stop flights are listed first.
Flights with stops are included further down the list.
If you prefer more information, you can click “List (Detailed)” for route information, flight numbers, and sometimes type of aircraft.
Clicking on an itinerary will give you more details about airports, flight times, and the type of award flight Award Nexus found (mileage level, for example).
Note: You do NOT have to book these flights using the miles from the airline website (like Air Canada, in the above example) that performed the search.
But because Air Canada can see the available award seat on a partner airline, like LOT, it means that you should be able to book the award using other Star Alliance airline miles, like United Airlines.
That said, the award flight might not show up when you do the same search on another website. So you may have to call to book the flight.
In this example, I checked the United Airlines website and found the same flight available on LOT.
Note: You can NOT book award seats through Award Nexus. Use the website of the airline miles you want to use (for example American Airlines or United Airlines) or call their reservations line.
What Else Can You Do With Award Nexus?
The award search function is probably the most useful for most folks who book simple itineraries.
But if you’ve got a complex routing, or want Award Nexus to notify you if award seats become available, it can do that too!
Here are some other tools you can use:
Search Builder – Helps you piece together itineraries which involve several flights.
Route Explorer – Finds routings (you can specify the number of stops) between 2 cities – you might find a route you hadn’t known about or considered!
Trip Calculator – Finds the mileage between cities and total estimated trip duration.
Distance Pricer – Tells you the number of miles required in distance-based award programs (like British Airways Avios) between 2 cities. It even gives options for transferring points from programs like American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest!
Automated Search – Set up an automatic search for available award seats and receive an email when seats are found (but be careful because it costs points every time it searches!).
Note: Thanks to Million Mile Secrets reader Jon for pointing out you must purchase a premium membership to use the automated search!
These features are very handy! It’s well worth signing-up for the free membership if you do award searches infrequently or want access to some of these tools.
If you’re a very frequent flyer or book a lot of complex trips, consider a paid membership. But remember you’ll be debited points per search. It’s not like ExpertFlyer where you’re allowed an unlimited number of searches for a monthly (or annual) fee.
Award Nexus works on a points system, so you’re charged points per search. Folks who want unlimited searches might do better with ExpertFlyer.
But Award Nexus includes airlines, like Cathay Pacific, that you can’t access using ExpertFlyer. So consider your travel plans before you pay for a membership with either site!
Do you use Award Nexus? What’s your favorite feature?