Getting a seat on the A380: Expert Flyer Success Story - Points Miles and Martinis


Expert Flyer is powerful tool for frequent flyers.  I want to share a recent success story to demonstrate a simple yet powerful feature of the tool.

As part of PMM’s Monster Day of Booking, I booked two award tickets to Australia to check out the Great Barrier Reef and the newly renovated Park Hyatt Sydney.  To book the flight initially, I found availability online for exactly two economy award tickets on Qantas flight 108 from LAX to SYD.  I went ahead and booked two award flights on AA.com for flight 108 using a total of 75K AA miles .

The trip was in the books and felt good about the itinerary I had put together…..but not great.  Qantas flies two flights from LAX to SYD, one on a relic 747-400 (though most are being retrofitted on this route) and the other on a brand spankin’ new (in airline years) Airbus A380!  I have yet to fly on an A380 so if I ‘have’ to sit in economy for 15 hours I want it to be on a cool bird!

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The flight I had

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The flight I wanted with no availability

While I was happy to have my award ticketed and another fun international trip on the horizon, I knew if availability would open up I could make a change to the AA award flight with no penalty since there would be no change to the source of destination cities of the award.   My two options for keeping an eye on the A380 were to painstakingly search the flight everyday on a Oneworld award search tool or use Expert Flyer’s automated Flight Alert Notifications.  I chose the latter approach so I could sit back and let the A380 come to me!

Expert Flyer Flight Alert Notifications

Expert Flyer flight alert notifications are easy to set up.   After logging in to your account, navigate to the Create New Flight Alert.

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Name the alert, select separture and arrival airport, departure date, airline, flight number, class code, number of seats requested and click Verify and Create.  If you aren’t familiar with all the class codes, don’t worry.  Expert Flyer has amassed this information for the airlines they serve under the Award/Upgrade Class Descriptions.  In my case I wanted to be notified when at least 2 award seats on Qantas flight 12 opened up.

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The result

At 3:00 in the morning a few days later, The Expert Flyer Team emailed me to let me know the award seats I wanted were available.

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3AM email from Expert Flyer Team

The next morning I put in a short 10 minute call to AA who quickly changed my ticketed flight to QF12 on the A380. It turns out Qantas had released exactly two economy seats on this flight so it was great to grab those two so quickly after they were released. The flight alert notification process was so easy a caveman can do it!

A few bullets about Expert Flyer

  • Users are allowed up to 30 concurrent Flight Alerts.  I haven’t quite maxed this out yet but I am getting there…
  • I paid 99 dollars for a one year Premium membership. I plan to renew next year.
  • I would have happily paid the airline 50 dollars to “upgrade” these two tickets from the 747 to the A380 so I value this success story at roughly half of the cost of a yearly membership.

The bottom line

While Expert Flyer has many features, the flight alert notification feature is my favorite.  The notifications are very simple to use and can quickly turn your good itineraries into great itineraries!

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