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SeatSpy fixes Avios reliability and adds American and United reward searches

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For just over a year now, SeatSpy has been a convenient way of finding reward seat availability on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

It is by far the easiest way of seeing Avios and Virgin Points reward seats across an entire year without having to search for dates individually.  It is the only service of its type with Virgin Atlantic availability since Reward Flight Finder lost access.

Seatspy logo

Today SeatSpy is launching a number of improvements and additions:

Improved Avios availability data

For a number of months SeatSpy’s Avios availability data has been frustratingly patchy, with a number of outages.

The good news is that this is now over, and SeatSpy has moved to a brand-new data collection system.

SeatSpy will now display accurate Avios availability. There should be no ‘ghost availability’ going forward.

Two new airlines – American Airlines and United Airlines

SeatSpy started with Avios and Virgin Atlantic reward availability before adding KLM and Air France in April 2020.

It now lets you search for reward availability on United Airlines and American Airlines and a beta test of Etihad Airways has recently gone live.

The addition of American Airlines is particularly useful as it offers low-tax domestic US redemptions using Avios.

New Whatsapp alerts

SeatSpy has rolled out Whatsapp availability alerts to Premium and First Class tier users.

This is a good option for snapping up the reward availability that airlines drip feed throughout the year, and should hopefully allow you to react more quickly than if you received an email.

Save over 50% with annual membership and Founder Offer

The addition of American Airlines and United Airlines means SeatSpy has now officially launched in the US. There is a limited-time ‘Founder Offer’ that significantly reduces the monthly or annual cost of membership:

  • First Class membership is $4.99 per month under the Founder Offer ($9.99 normally)
  • Premium membership is $2.99 per month ($3.99 normally)

More information on the membership benefits of SeatSpy are in this HfP article.

These Founder Offers are available for anyone – you don’t have to live in the US – although you will pay in US Dollars. You’ll make a significant saving even if your card charges foreign exchange fees.

Further savings can be had by paying for a year upfront: you’ll save on two months’ membership this way. This also stacks with the Founder Offers, which means you can get First Class membership for 12 months for $49.90.

Conclusion

Perhaps the biggest news here from a UK perspective is the improved British Airways Avios data collection, which means that all searches should be accurate and up to date going forward.

The addition of American Airlines and United Airlines reward availability – on top of Virgin Atlantic, KLM and Air France – now means you’ll also be able to search for availability on many of the world’s largest airlines in one place. American Airlines is a particularly valuable addition as redemptions can also be booked with Avios.

You can sign up for the Founder Offers here.

Comments (31)

  • Ken says:

    What about existing members, can we access the discounted membership offers being offered to new members?

  • Stuart Evans says:

    Pleased to see these improvements. Having just looked at a few routes and it appears BA have released no F awards for US West Coast, although B awards seem to be available almost every day on most routes. It doesn’t feel like any F awards have been snapped up, but more like a decision by BA. Does anyone have any clues as to what’s going on?

    • Anna says:

      There haven’t been any F seats released for months, apart from a couple of routes like BOS and BDA on certain days. Don’t forget they only guarantee to release J and Y avios seats in any case.

    • Jonathan says:

      Big reduction in F capacity with retirement of 747’s & replacement with planes with no or much smaller F capacity (A350 & refurbed 777’s).

      Add in the uncertainty over what planes will be covering specific routes more than a month out & you can see why they’re not releasing any F Avios seats at the moment.

      Unfortunately I do think this is representative of the new normal as BA have been saying for last few years that they want F to focus on high yield passengers not Avios redemptions & staff upgrades.

    • Lady London says:

      BA is removing First from all except major routes apparently. So SFO, NYC should keep some. Also a few other places like Barbados due to the nature of the route.

      • memesweeper says:

        I don’t blame them in the current climate — they don’t know which planes will be suited to which routes, nor what premium demand is going to look like. Given the punative cost of downgrading passengers — assuming they stand on their rights — I’d be keeping F costs high and cash only right now if I were BA.

      • Rob says:

        It’s not that BA is removing First, but that the aircraft with First have been removed from the fleet. Those that keep it have smaller F cabins than the 747s had.

  • Peter K says:

    I think I’ve of the biggest gripes prior had was the lack of communication from Seatspy about the issues, when they might be resolved etc. They seemed to just be happy to take the money and do nothing. It certainly did not come across as a premium product.

    • Ed says:

      Agreed. At first problems were ignored with a ‘you’ve got it wrong’ response. Then it was, ‘up to date info isn’t why people sign up to the service’. Very poor.

    • DT says:

      This is why I wouldn’t subscribe again. They didn’t say anything about the service having issues, didn’t address the matter, offer an apology or statement of intent. Just continued to happily take my money. Seems like a very sub par company with zero customer service.

  • Andrew Wells says:

    Sadly the VS availability is still very flawed as well and is accurate at less than 50% on many routes.

    Gave up on Seatspy a few weeks ago and have been trialling something in beta via one of the US blogger sites. Already a lot more accurate on VS and even Avios availability as well. If they launch it fully, then I think Seatspy will be toast with the current pricing and lack of communication to paying customers.

    • Alan says:

      Do you have a link/more info re this? Sounds interesting. A bit concerned re the posts here about poor CS from SeatSpy.

      • Andrew Wells says:

        I managed to sneak on to a trial as it isn’t publicly accessible yet. From a focus group call, it sounded like everyone (US and Europeans) involved found it a step up, including a couple of people familiar with SeatSpy.

        Hopefully they get it off the ground and don’t do anything daft like make it completely US centric / US carriers only.

    • Rhys says:

      SeatSpy has only just moved to the new systems so you probably cancelled before they had implemented them!

      • Andrew Wells says:

        Still got an active subscription and it is still inaccurate IMO. My membership will be allowed to lapse though.

        It’s a shame as I was a big fan when it started, but the inaccuracy for VS at least, plus the lack of service has just not kept it worth the money.

  • Lady London says:

    What I would really, really like to know is why did Reward Flight Finder lose its access to Virgin seat info. It was all going so swimmingly.

    Rob apparently knows but he’s not telling

    • memesweeper says:

      RFF was built on public (free of charge) APIs, I believe. I’d guess it just got pulled, either for overuse, or because it was never intended to be public. I spoke to one of the SeatSpy devs the same evening I saw you last LL, and IIRC they are paying for access, presumably through an existing network like a GDS, so much less likely to get pulled without notice.

      • Rob says:

        In non-techy terms, Virgin put a ‘captcha’ onto their data feed which meant RFF and SeatSpy couldn’t access it via the free API.

  • Anna says:

    Conversely, RFF seems to have ground to a halt and isn’t showing any availability after March 2nd next year!

    • GeorgeJ says:

      Anna,

      Dont understand your issue.

      Just looked at my two regular routes and they are showing @ 350 days out which is all I would expect

  • Babyg says:

    cool good to know they are doing some fixes etc, i agree it hasn’t been the most reliable – i assumed it had something to do with so many flights being pulled/rescheduled. Even thou it hasnt been 100% accurate its been “good enough” and for me was still worth a cup of coffee per month..

  • Peter Taysum says:

    Good to see the update, searches I’ve done for the last few months were pointless.

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