A new tool for finding award tickets

Like me, if you’ve ever accrued more than 25,000 frequent flyer miles you know how terrible it can be redeeming them for an award ticket. It seems like 95% of the time, the ideal flight that you want is completely sold out and that the next available flight for you is on a Wednesday. In February. On a tiny airplane with 17 layovers.

What many people don’t know though is that mileage award availability is a fluid system — seats open up and close overnight based upon how many people are booked and the amount of time before the flight. So to stay on top of whether or not seats are available for your particular itinerary, you really have to check every day (if not more frequently) to see if anything has changed.

This can be time consuming and difficult, and until now, only by calling or checking the web every day or subscribing to expensive software like expertflyer.com could you check availability.

Enter Yapta.com. The search engine known for refunding the value of your ticket if the price went down recently announced that they would be hosting award availability from several carriers carriers on their site. They’ve also included a tool that automatically notifies you if seats open up on your ideal flights. Brilliant.

For now the service is only available on Alaska, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways, but if demand turns out to be as strong as I predict, it could expand soon. Log onto Yapta.com and give it a try.