Family matters occupied me for most of the last week, but that provided ample opportunity to fill in the quiet periods with new award charts for my award chart comparison tool. Incidentally, it needs a name, so I’ve decided to call it the “Award Maximizer.”
I’ve finally gotten around to adding the latest prices for redeeming Alaska Airlines miles on Hainan Airlines, and I’ve also added the Star Alliance award charts from Avianca LifeMiles and Lufthansa Miles & More. Why these two?
LifeMiles is a particular favorite among those who like to buy miles cheaply and then redeem for otherwise expensive first and business class flights. Miles & More has its own sweet spots, and I know some people have some Miles & More lying around from Barcalycard offers.
But I’m not done yet.
I have three more charts that I think are necessary. First, I have to add Korean Air. The more time I spend looking at Korean Air the more I realize this airline’s loyalty program has all the complexity I love and hate about Alaska Airlines. That means more time, but it will be worth it. Second and third are Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific) and JAL. Both have distance-based programs that should be pretty easy to implement. All of these will be done within the week.
In addition to the other airlines I already provide access to, you’ll be able to search 14 loyalty programs at once to find the cheapest award between any two cities.
Then there are two special projects. First, I am trying to eliminate false positives. The tool works by matching airports to geographic regions and then matching those regions to the award chart(s). But it doesn’t confirm that the airline actually serves those airports. So I’m starting to weed them out by manually checking route maps. Alaska Airlines and its partners are at the top of the list.
The second special project is to finish the work I did on ANA. Although you can already search for their awards on Star Alliance partners, I have not included some cheaper awards for travel booked on ANA-operated flights. Round-the-world awards follow a completely separate chart and can actually be less expensive than some ordinary round-trip flights. These might have to wait until next week.
Once these updates are complete, I’ll get back to work on creating more guides that help you learn to find and book award space. Comparison shopping is just the start. As always, please let me know about any bugs you discover since this weekend involved a very large update.