Taking search tool Award Logic for a test drive

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Over the past month or so, a number of readers have asked me about my thoughts on award booking search tool Award Logic. Until readers brought it up, I had been unaware of this cool tool for searching award flights via multiple programs with a single click. While not quite perfect, this award booking search engine has some strong points going for it in that it offers up fairly accurate pricing with many partner programs and does so quite quickly. On the other hand, I found some pricing and availability inaccuracies, so it still requires some secondary searching. While the $20-per-month price point feels a bit steep for the average user, a $5 one-way pass will likely suffice for many people. Still, this tool can certainly be a reasonable option for the average user that will certainly save time over doing multiple individual searches.

Link to Award Logic

If you are interested in taking this service for a spin yourself, here is a direct link to AwardLogic.com.

Pricing

Award Logic offers a simple pricing structure with just two options: $19.99 per month (cancel any time) or $4.99 for a single day pass.

I opted for the monthly plan since it says that the first 30 days are free, so I figured that would give me plenty of time to give the tool a test drive and update this review with any pertinent discoveries.

I like that pricing is simple and straightforward, though I think many will find twenty bucks a month to be a bit steep for ordinary use. At $360 per year, I long argued that Juicy Miles only seemed to make sense for an award booker or blogger — folks who would otherwise know how to conduct the same searches for free. However, after I got used to having a tool like this in (no-longer-available) Juicy Miles, I quickly became addicted to how much time it saved me. I have further found that tools like this have saved me miles on multiple occasions by showing search results I wouldn’t have otherwise thought to check.

That said, I’m still not sure I’d recommend that anyone but a very frequently traveler invest quite so much on an annual basis. On the other hand, I think a lot of people would find this tool useful with the day pass. At five bucks for a day of unlimited searches, it would probably offer more than five bucks worth of time savings alone in running searches with a single click even if it didn’t save you miles (and it certainly might).

Key Advantages

In my mind, the key advantages of Award Logic are:

  1. Fast results. Search results loaded in what felt like about a minute on most of my searches.
  2. Good range of programs represented. This is both in terms of credit card programs and their transfer partners and programs that don’t partner with major transferable currencies.
  3. Mostly accurate pricing. In the vast majority of cases, the award pricing I saw via the tool matched what I found via the partner site. While I expect there to be exceptions with any tool like this given the complexities involved, my sample searches were fairly reliable.
  4. Handy links to sign up for loyalty programs and/or transfer miles.

Overall, I think those advantages are strong enough to present great value for a $5 day pass now and then.

Key disadvantages

The key disadvantages of Award Logic based on my experiences thus far are:

  1. Monthly pricing is steep for the average user.
  2. Occasional kinks in the system during searches. These included one instance of phantom availability and a glitch that shows a nonexistent booking option for American Airlines flights. See sample searches below. To be clear, these were relatively minor and rare in my test searches.
  3. Doesn’t display transfer bonuses (the tool does not automatically calculate for these, you’ll have to know about transfer bonuses on your own).
  4. Missing some popular partner program booking options.
  5. No easy tutorial for how to actually book. By comparison, I love how Point.me shows quick video tutorials that show how to sign up for a loyalty account, transfer points, and book an award.
  6. No concierge option to book award flights for you. While I don’t need to hire an award booker myself, some beginners may prefer to have someone else handle booking.

To be clear, I don’t think those disadvantages make this tool a bad option. Things like #5 and #6 aren’t applicable to those already versed in award booking and as such may not matter to some readers at all. On the other hand, some of the above would really be good for beginners.

Sample searches

I ran a handful of sample searches to test out the tool and see what it would find. The following are results and explanations.

New York (JFK) to Lisbon, Portugal in business class

I chose this route on purpose to get a sense of which programs Award Logic would price.

Much to my delight, Award Logic did indeed recognize that the best price on this route is 35,000 miles one way in business class. While I haven’t seen much availability on TAP Air Portugal recently, Brussels Airlines has had a seat or two available now and then (with a connection in Brussels) at the same price via LifeMiles.

I was also pleased to see that Award Logic recognized the programs which transfer to Avianca LifeMiles, giving a clear visual reference as to how one can put together the miles to book the award.

I also thought it was great to see that after clicking the “view” button, Award Logic offers information on the next page that includes links to sign up for the corresponding loyalty program (Avianca LifeMiles) as well as the various transfer partners.

Including the phone numbers was a nice touch. I didn’t check those numbers to be sure that they all worked, but assuming they do that’s great for someone who prefers to work via phone.

On the other hand, I was slightly disappointed to see that Award Logic suggested booking your LifeMiles award by calling LifeMiles. It further recommending calling LifeMiles to confirm the amount of miles required to book and ensure availability. While I agree one thousand percent that you want to confirm availability before you transfer miles, in this case neither confirming availability nor booking the award requires a call since Avianca LifeMiles displays this availability online and it is bookable via LifeMiles.com.

One can easily cross-reference that availability through a number of other Star Alliance websites to see that it does indeed appear to be valid and available. I’m not sure I see any advantage in calling LifeMiles (and in fact that is likely to be more headache than it is worth).

One other slight disappointment here is that Award Logic didn’t recognize that there is currently a transfer bonus from Capital One to Avianca LifeMiles, which would make this award even cheaper with Capital One miles since you would only need to transfer 29,500 miles from Capital One to Avianca LifeMiles in order to have the 35,000 miles necessary to book this trip. This is something I’ve found incredibly useful with other award booking tools (and indeed it was something that I long loved about JuicyMiles before).

New York (JFK) to Los Angeles in economy class

I searched a transcontinental route specifically wondering about the accuracy of showing which (if any) legacy carrier flights were available via foreign partner programs. At first glance, I was pleased to see Award Logic had no trouble displaying dynamically-priced flights via American Airlines, Delta, etc. Results started from 6,000 miles one way on American.

However, there was a slight curiosity about those flights. While Award Logic accurately noted that they could be booked with 6,000 American Airlines miles one way, the tool suggested that those flights could somehow be booked with Citi Thank You points for 12,000 points one way.

I’m not sure where it got that number as there isn’t a Citi transfer partner of which I am aware that would charge 12K miles one way on this route. Further, on the next page after clicking the “view” the Citi option, it said that this flight would be booked via American Airlines AAdvantage with those 12K Citi ThankYou points. While Citi briefly offered transfers to American Airlines last fall, those were at a 1:1 transfer ratio. If there is a backdoor way to transfer from Thank You at a rate of 2 Thank You points to 1 American Airlines mile, I am not aware of it.

That seems like a small glitch in the overall scheme of things, but it is a good reminder that you have to double-check results against reality. I found the same glitch in other situations with American Airlines search results.

Miami (MIA) to San Juan

My next search was a short hop from Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico. I picked this route because I knew that American Airlines would likely have the best award prices thanks to dynamic pricing, but I wondered whether Award Logic would find whether any could be booked via American Airlines partners.

Sure enough, Award Logic found American Airlines flights for 10K miles each way. It also found JetBlue flights from alternative airport Fort Lauderdale (FLL) that were just 8.1K each way, an option I wouldn’t have thought to consider. This is a great example of why I love tools like this that search alternate airports and airlines that I would have forgotten.

I was further pleased to find that it did indeed find flights that were available via partners. Many of the AA options were not available on partner booking sites, but I did find several via Award Logic that indeed were available to partners.

For instance, this business class flight on American Airlines could be booked with 16,500 Avios. Award Logic only shows it available via British Airways Avios, though it should also be bookable via Iberia for the same price (not that I would recommend that option since AA flights booked with Iberia Avios are completely nonrefundable). On the other hand, it was great that it additionally showed that the same flight could be booked via Qantas Frequent Flyer. While the price in this case isn’t better than British Airways Avios, it is nonetheless good to see a few options in search results.

Somewhat interestingly, while Award Logic accurately found that this flight was bookable via partners, it also showed the web special price when booking via American Airlines. At full price, a regular business class award on this route would be 25K miles, but American is offering it as a Web Special for 20K one way.

While those aren’t prices I would pay for a 2.5hr business class flight, it was more important to me to see that Award Logic is indeed pulling the best pricing for these awards.

Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo (NRT)

Unfortunately, I failed to take screen shots of this result the first time I searched it. Award Logic accurately found 60K business class availability on Japan Airlines via American Airlines AAdvantage. It also showed business class availability via Cathay Pacific for 50K miles one way via Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

While I was initially happy to see that the tool priced the Alaska award accurately at 50K, I was disappointed when I went to cross-reference that availability: I didn’t find that award available via either AA.com or BritishAirways.com, leading me to believe that it was not actually available to Alaska. British Airways returned two premium economy premium economy seats and American Airlines showed one first class seat, but neither showed business class seats at any time around my search date.

When I went back to search again later and take screen shots, the Cathay Pacific result no longer showed up in search results, so it is possible that Award Logic was showing a seat that had briefly been there and went away. Perhaps I just got unlucky in seeing it in the moments after it had gone, I’m not sure.

New York to Rome in business class

The final route I’m including in this post I chose because I may actually be looking to book it. I searched for this after already having done a little homework on my own and being aware of what was available.

I was glad to see the tool displaying Asiana Club results at 40K miles one way in business class, a lesser-discussed award chart sweet spot that may become more relevant if people become disenchanted with using Marriott Bonvoy points for hotels and decide to instead transfer to partners like Asiana.

I was a tinge disappointed that the tool didn’t show that those Turkish Airlines flights would be bookable via Turkish Miles & Smiles for 45K miles one way since Turkish may be a more broadly accessible program since it is both a Citi transfer partner and Capital One transfer partner. On the other hand, they can be notoriously difficult to deal with, so it still wouldn’t be the most desirable option for many people.

Next in the list were Air France results. Those were good to see at 55K miles one way. Unfortunately, Award Logic did not display Flying Blue award space that is available to Virgin Atlantic. While Virgin Atlantic ordinarily charges more miles per passenger for these awards (56,500 miles on the sample dates I used) when they are bookable via Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (and it’s worth noting that not all of the available Flying Blue options were indeed bookable via Virgin Atlantic), the 30% transfer bonus that debuted this morning makes Virgin Atlantic an attractive option for those dates when Flying Blue partner availability exists.

Again, this is a nitpick with the tool. I don’t know the ease or difficulty of including Virgin Atlantic award search results and I don’t mind running a search or two of my own. On the other hand, at twenty bucks a month, that’s an option that I’d like to be able to see.

Bottom line

Overall, I found Award Logic to be a really useful award search tool. It doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles that I’ve come to like with Point.me, but it returns search results quickly and prices were accurate on the routes I tried for my initial assessment. I’ll continue to use the tool over the coming month and update if I find other relevant strengths or weaknesses. For now, I think it is certainly worth five bucks for a day pass, particularly for those comfortable enough with transfer partners and award booking to need only moderate hand-holding and a time savings with a quick search to get the lay of the land.

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Bill S

Is there an option with this or other tools to see an award calendar view? I’m guessing not, but searching day by day is kind of a pain.

Mipa

You mentioned a 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic that debuted this morning. I haven’t seen anything about that anywhere. Can you give more details?

SamBam

Juicy miles wasn’t perfect but pretty darn good. (Insert sad emoji). Award Logic is =, juicy miles?

koby jones

I think one of the guys from Juicy is on Point.me now.

Nun

“It doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles that I’ve come to like with Point.me”

Hi, I was trying to guess which bells and whistles you mean. From reading the Point.me review, I think maybe it’s missing the link to Award Wallet balances, point.me picks, and possibly sorting options and showing Southwest flights. Can it display show results that include multiple airlines like the old juicy miles?

Or are you referring to something else? Thanks for reviewing this!

Last edited 8 months ago by Nun
Dave Hanson

Thanks Nick. I find the comparison between the services especially useful–please do keep us current on that as point.me works through its public launch issues.

JayP

Thanks, I see why you don’t want to make the direct comparison but it is really helpful since they both offer a $5 day pass. Knowing which one to pick (and even better, recommend to friends so I don’t have to help them search!) for a given situation is helpful.

Sounds like either will probably work, Award Logic is faster (at least right now), point.me has more simple instructions and includes transfer bonuses. Other than the things mentioned above regarding bells and whistles if you have seen or notice anything it would be great to know. Specifically if you see any other areas Award Logic is superior.

Otherwise, point.me sounds like definitely the one to recommend to friends and probably the one to use myself. For me a little slower speed is well worth automatically taking the transfer bonuses into account.

Last edited 8 months ago by JayP
Alex

Award logic also includes transfer bonus. I was just doing searching and I do see current bonus transfers for cap one and Amex.

Sam

How is the search for First Class awards? Thank you!