Seats.Aero: Search Star Alliance, oneworld and SkyTeam award space easily

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Awards PNR has been refreshed as Seats.Aero, offering easy searching across all 3 alliances plus Etihad Guest and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Back in August, I wrote about Awards.PNR, a simple tool developed by FlyerTalk user dlflyer00 that makes searching for Star Alliance space easy. Instead of you having to run various permutations on slow and unresponsive airline websites, it offers a menu of what’s available.

Since then, Awards.PNR has been renamed to Seats.Aero, and received a major under-the-hood upgrade. It now lets you look for Star Alliance, oneworld and SkyTeam space, with Etihad Guest and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club thrown in for good measure. 

In a time where award seats are getting harder than ever to find, this is a great asset to have in your arsenal.

How does Seats.Aero work?

Seats.Aero

A quick recap if all this is all new to you. 

Seats. Aero periodically polls the following airline websites for award space (toggle this at the top right hand corner):

  • AeroMexico Club Premier (SkyTeam)
  • American Airlines (oneworld)
  • Avianca LifeMiles (Star Alliance)
  • Etihad Guest 
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

The results are cached in a simple table for easy searching. You can filter results by:

  • Origin Airport
  • Destination Airport
  • Origin Region
  • Destination Region
  • Cabin of travel
  • Airline

For example, the listing shows that FRA to SFO has one award seat in Lufthansa First Class on 1 December 2022 (mouse over the “available” to see the details)…

…and indeed, I can find it on the Singapore Airlines website (don’t get confused by the difference in miles between the two screenshots; above is in LifeMiles, below is in KrisFlyer miles).

I hope you already see why this is superior to searching via the airline website. Instead of poking in the dark hoping that something pops up, you can see at a glance what is available. Even better, you can filter for options out of Singapore only, or whatever airport it is you’re trying to fly home from. Once you find something you like, you can proceed to book the award via your preferred frequent flyer programme’s website. 

Seats.Aero use cases

Find award space on ANA THE ROOM via Seats.Aero

Seats. Aero can be a useful tool to look at all award options out of or into a specific airport. I’ve included the links for SIN below, but you can just as easily change SIN in the URL to any supported airport code. 

This is particularly useful for those who have Citi Miles or ThankYou points, and don’t know which of the 10 airline partners to transfer them to (options span all three major alliances + Etihad Guest).

Seats.Aero helps you think about alternatives. For instance, suppose I want to fly to Paris. There’s no award space available out of Singapore, but I see that BKK-TPE-CDG is a possibility on EVA Air. 

Getting to Bangkok is simple, and I’m not too fussy about comfort on a 2-hour flight. So all I need to do is position myself to BKK, then connect onwards to CDG via TPE.

It also helps you find award space that lets you try specific cabin products (e.g. ANA’s THE ROOM Business Class on NRT-LAX/SFO/JFK/IAH), or visit specific lounges (e.g. the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt).

You can also use it to monitor award space on specific routes by creating an alert, provided you’re looking for Avianca LifeMiles space. 

This will ping your inbox once a seat becomes available on your selected route, date and cabin. 

Or if you want to cast a wider net, you can create a different alert that informs you when any flight opens up from your selected airport, regardless of where to. This would be useful for those who don’t really care where they fly, so long as they can do it in a particular cabin.

As a side note: I also love the graph that shows award seats available by date, which gives you a sense of where airlines are seeing stronger and softer demand. No surprises that award seats are hard to come by around the post-Christmas to New Year’s period!

What’s the catch?

SWISS B777-300ER Business Class | Photo: TPG

While Seats.Aero is an awesome idea, it does have some limitations you should know of.

Not real-time space

It’s important to remember that Seats.Aero is not polling the airline websites in real time. Each result’s “age” is indicated in the second column, and it’s entirely possible that space may have disappeared by the time you start looking.

Results are refreshed according to the following schedule:

ProgrammeRefresh Schedule
AeroMexico Club Premier (SkyTeam)
  • 24 hours
American Airlines
(oneworld)
  • 24 hours
Avianca LifeMiles
(Star Alliance)
  • 3 hours
Etihad Guest
  • 24 hours
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • 24 hours

Selected routes only

Seats.Aero shows tens of thousands of results, but is not intended to be completely exhaustive. Only certain routes are checked and monitored.

At the time of writing, the routes to/from Singapore are:

ProgrammeRoutes
AeroMexico Club Premier (SkyTeam)
  • SIN-MEL
  • SIN-MLE
  • SIN-SYD
American Airlines
(oneworld)
  • SIN-HEL
  • SIN-LHR
  • SIN-MEL
  • SIN-PER
  • SIN-SYD
Avianca LifeMiles
(Star Alliance)
  • SIN-AKL
  • SIN-AMS
  • SIN-CDG
  • SIN-CPH
  • SIN-EWR
  • SIN-FCO
  • SIN-FRA
  • SIN-HND
  • SIN-IST
  • SIN-JFK
  • SIN-JNB
  • SIN-LAX
  • SIN-LHR
  • SIN-MAN
  • SIN-MEL
  • SIN-MUC
  • SIN-MXP
  • SIN-NRT
  • SIN-PER
  • SIN-SEA
  • SIN-SFO
  • SIN-SYD
  • SIN-ZRH
Etihad Guest
  • SIN-AUH
  • SIN-MEL
  • SIN-MLE
  • SIN-SYD
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • SIN-AMS
  • SIN-CDG

The routes have been sensibly chosen based on which airlines form what alliance. For example, there would be little sense in showing oneworld space from SIN-AKL, since neither Air New Zealand nor Singapore Airlines are part of oneworld (and connections via Australia on Qantas are hard to find). 

Limited date range

Seats. Aero does not search the full calendar of options. On most routes it searches either 60 or 75 days worth of availability. Again, this makes sense since airlines tend to make more award space available closer to departure. 

To see the date range of availability for a given route, refer to the Routes page. 

ProgrammeDate Range
AeroMexico Club Premier (SkyTeam)
  • 60 days
American Airlines
(oneworld)
  • 60-75 days
Avianca LifeMiles
(Star Alliance)
  • 60-75 days
Etihad Guest
  • 60 days
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • 60-120 days

Phantom space

Since Seats.Aero is basically polling the airline website for availability, it will show you whatever the airline website sees.

Most of the time there won’t be issues, but some programmes, most infamously Avianca LifeMiles, are infamous for showing “phantom space”-  award seats that show up in the search results, but disappear when you try to book them. However, since they reflect in the search results, Seats.Aero will show them nonetheless.

It’s best practice not to transfer any miles until you’ve verified yourself that the seats are available for booking on your preferred airline frequent flyer programme website.

Not for Singapore Airlines award space

Related to the previous point: since Singapore Airlines does not release long-haul First and Business Class seats to partner airlines (with occasional exceptions for Alaska Mileage Plan and Lufthansa Miles & More), if LifeMiles doesn’t see it, neither will Seats.Aero.

Understanding SQ’s restrictions on Business and First Class award seats for partners

Therefore, this would not be the right tool to search if all you want are Singapore Airlines awards. 

No way to search for specific number of seats

Seats.Aero results do not show you the number of seats available, only whether something is available.

To learn more, you need to mouse over the results where it shows you the airline code, number of seats, and whether or not there’s a connection (blue= connection required, green= no connections).

Conclusion

Despite these limitations, I reckon Seats.Aero is a formidable tool, best used by those looking for last-minute travel. It solves one of the biggest headaches in the award search process, and gets the creative juices flowing when trying to solve a particularly hard award routing. 

Hats off once again to the creator for offering this for free. Hopefully he/she will add a donation link because this is the kind of project I’d love to support!

What else do you use Seats.Aero for?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Christ

good, and hopefully the UX will improve … not possible to search specific dates, from what i can tell. still, a great tool for last-minute searches

Anon

Any chance the tool will be extended to cover more dates? Perhaps as a premium service? Btw, Aeroplan is somehow able to reflect and book SQ awards at normal rates too.

Anderson

Is it possible to search for the next seat available by setting both the departure and arrival airports? At the moment, its seems that you can do one or the other but not both?

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