I’ve been gatekeeping and I’m sorry. I’ve been a Seats.aero user since day one and it’s by far one of the most powerful award search tools out there right now. Seats.aero (and yes, that’s both the name and URL in case you’re confused) was created by Ian Carroll, a developer and fellow points nerd from the US.
The website essentially displays award availability for a whole bunch of programmes. When it first launched, it was only a few, but now there are 11 programmes for which it shows awards. The tool scrapes availability for the entire year and periodically updates this data on the explore page. On this page, you can filter by region or from “anywhere to anywhere” which gives you a reall nice overview of potential flight opertunities.
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Which frequent flyer programmes are supported?
This tool is pretty user-friendly, but as a newbie, you might be confused about airline alliances and frequent flyer programmes in the first place. This will be crucial basic knowledge so you can search for flights optimally. For example, the tool might not support Qantas flights, but of course, you can use AAdvantage or another One World programme to research similar award availability.
At the moment, seats.aero supports the following programmes:
- Air Canada Aeroplan – fantastic for Star Alliance award space
- Alaska Mileage Plan – great for OneWorld and other unique partner availability such as Singapore Airlines
- American Airlines – one of the best for searching One World award space
- Avianca Lifemiles – another great programme to research StarAlliance availability
- Delta Skymiles — this should cover your Skyteam research needs
- Emirates Skywards – superb for monitoring Emirates first & business award space which often opens last minute
- United MileagePlus – fantastic tool for checking StarAlliance flights as well as a good indicator if a certain United flight will be bookable with Velocity points
- Virgin Atlantic – another Skyteam member and of course a great way to fly between the UK and the US
- Virgin Australia Velocity – great for finding Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, United and Etihad award space
- Etihad Guest – great for finding Etihad award space (note it’s currently not listed as there’s a fix being implemented, I believe)
Seats Aero Is Great for Last Minute Redemptions
Where seats.aero really shines is on simple A-B itineraries and for last-minute flights. Take, for example, a route like Sydney to Los Angeles, you can reliably find business class seats within days from departure.
Seats Aero Search Tool
Seats.aero also has a search tool which lets you find flights between cities. This is great if you have a certain route and date set in mind. However, you can’t just plug in Sydney to London; the tool does require you to be a bit more creative than that.
Pro account subscribers have access to additional filters such as direct flights, operating carriers and cabin class. There’s also the possibility to search across multiple origins and destinations at the same time; very powefull!
Seats Aero Routes
In the routes section, you can explore all the routes for each frequent flyer programme that the tool tracks. Pro subscribers can request routes to be added, which is done almost instantly by Ian; great support!
Seats Aero ChatGPT Plugin
Okay, now things are getting crazy. Those with a ChatGPT Plus account can add the Seats Aero plugin to ChatGPT and use natural language to search for award flights. I still have to test and see what the potential is of this integration, but so far it seems to work pretty well with simple award searching tasks.
Other Seats Aero Tools
Ian has also made a Qatar Airways Qsuites finder. I’m not sure how accurate it is in finding Qsuites given the variety of Qatar Business class seats on offer, but it’s certainly very powerful for quickly scanning Qatar Airways award flights on the route you want. There’s also a similar tool for Lufthansa, Delta One and United Polaris.
Creating Award Alerts with Seats.Aero
One of the best features, of course, is the ability to create award alerts for your favourite routes.
This tool works very much like ExpertFlyer (another tool I use a lot!). Beginners will enjoy the fact that seats.aero also shows you how many points/miles are required.
Seats Aero Free vs Pro
Most of seats.aero is free to use. Personally, I think they are giving away too much considering the pro subscription is only US$9.99 a month! A Pro account, however, will let you search for flights as far as 1 year in advance and it comes with unlimited award alerts. It’s a no-brainer if you’re into finding award seats!
Summing Up – My Seats.Aero Review
In my opinion, seats.aero is one of the most powerful tools out there, especially for people who enjoy booking last-minute trips. While the tool isn’t going to show you a full itinerary, it can certainly help you uncover flights and it does so very quickly. One of the only downsides is reliability as data is only fetched periodically, which means often seats have already been snapped up.
Overall though, I love the tool and the amount of work Ian has put into this with constant updates and more programmes being added. If you like what you see, go support them with a premium subscription which is well worth the small fee!