New Award Search Tool With Email Alerts — and Hotel Awards, Too!

Pex+ is a new site coming out of Beta that allows you to search for award space across a number of different airlines and data sources all at once, quickly. It offers hotel searches (points and revenue prices, so you can compare). And it even offers to email you when award prices drop (saver space opens).

It doesn’t just tell you whether saver awards are available — it shows you the mileage cost of each award so you can compare up front and it includes taxes and fuel surcharges.

You can narrow the results by number of stops, fare class, and mileage price.

With flexible date search they’ll even pull in award calendar information.

This functionality is free though there’s a premium service as well (for instance that searches for price drops more than once a day).

The more I dig into it, the more there is to like, including updating your frequent flyer account balances. They don’t have a lot of accounts yet, and I haven’t tried this feature, but they tell me they support United and Delta which most systems don’t. The goal here is to display your available miles in line with the awards you search so you can see what you can book.

The site is still in development, so there are a few things they don’t have yet that I’d like to see, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

For instance one very small beef I have is that I can’t just quickly type an airport code in the search box and move on. I need to wait a couple of seconds for the code to populate the name of the airport before searching. I may be the only one that gets annoyed by this.

They use a limited number of data sources as well. Here’s the list:

What does this mean?

  • Since they’re pulling Star Alliance availability primarily from United, that excludes seeing Singapore Airlines seats (that are available to partners) in results since United removed the ability to see Singapore award space online.

  • They’re pulling oneworld availability primarily from American’s website [as well as the S7 site] so you aren’t going to see availability for airlines like Iberia, LAN, Japan Airlines, or Qatar.

  • SkyTeam comes primarily from Delta (but also Aeroflot) which means you’ll see awards that Delta.com would show you — which isn’t every carrier. You won’t see Kenya Airways or Czech. And you won’t see available award space on SkyTeam airlines that Delta doesn’t offer (so using another SkyTeam account like Korean Air SKYPASS or Air France KLM Flying Blue may give you access to awards not shown).

  • You’re not going to see the extra award space that Lufthansa makes available to their own members or award space on some non-aligned airlines like Emirates.

Pex+ tells me though that they’re currently working to add more data sources. But they’ve already taught me something I didn’t know. Virgin Australia’s website shows award availability on Singapore Airlines now — and they have access to space that’s normally reserved for Singapore’s members. For instance, searching using Virgin Australia miles you’ll find business class awards Los Angeles – Tokyo … something you cannot book with United, Aeroplan, or Avianca miles.

That’s of limited use to most Americans, since Virgin Australia account membership is available to residents of specific countries only, but they are a Starwood transfer partner.

For searching hotels they show you properties on a map, let you filter by star rating, price (revenue and points), hotel chain, amenities, and… whether there’s reported Pokemon Go activity. You can see results in a list of hotels (though they don’t show points and room rates side by side for each property) or lowest price by chain.

The email feature seems super-useful not just for airline award inventory but for hotels, too, because you’ll usually be booking fully cancellable rooms (especially with points) so you can always rebook if a great deal becomes available later.

Since I love new tools for frequent flyers, I think it’s a great idea to check out Pex+. Their award search doesn’t even require you to register, but registration will give you access to things like e-mail alerts so is well worth it.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. This is an epic failure. Gary’s blog can’t generate that much traffic. If you’re not ready for primetime don’t launch the freaking site.

  2. Didn’t the Wandering Aramean get a cease and desist for scraping the UA site? Not to mention already created Hotel Hustle.

  3. “they support United and Delta which most systems don’t”…exactly, until United and Delta find out about it and hit them with a cease and desist.

    The site is not loading for me either…

  4. “You won’t see Kenya Airways, Czech, or TAROM”

    TAROM award availability can be searched at delta.com for a while now.

  5. Tried the site today, Sunday. Worked. Of course, they clearly have some issues. Still in beta, obviously.

    One of the above writers might be a little more charitable to them. People in the middle of a piece of work are not “idiots”. They just are not done yet.

    This site is a great idea for those of us who have struggled with airlines’ increasingly unfriendly award redemption apps. Let’s hope these folks succeed.

  6. Gary,

    Thanks for informing us about this tool! Seems interesting. One bug I found: it doesn’t list any availability on S7. I searched several routes (DME-MUC, DME-UUD, PEK-UUD) and it couldn’t come up with anything on S7.

    Also, it thinks MOW has only one airport 🙂

  7. We’re super excited to see the shear amount of positive response to PEX+ search engine! We’re working around the clock to provide you with the ultimate simple go-to place for all of your flight and hotel needs. This being said, we are a young company and that comes with some of that good, bad, and ugly you may have experienced with PEX+ today. To answer some of your questions and concerns:

    1. We take user experience very seriously and we’re taking immediate action to help make sure your PEX+ experience is not compromised. We have significantly increased our server capacity to help keep the site accessible to you. We are also working on application optimizations that will increase the site speed.
    2. A lot of the search-related issues you may be experiencing are connected to #1. For example, we definitely recognize SFO as an airport code, but as Gary mentioned in this article, you do need to wait for the dropdown to pop-up and that pop-up tens to get delayed due to the site lag (here’s what it looks like: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/iejydaxhqhzisux/Screen%20Shot%202016-08-28%20at%209.17.40%20PM.png?dl=0).

    Some for you have expressed concern about airlines stopping us. Despite there being a long history of search engines grappling with airline inventory distribution, the industry is slowly heading in a new direction. We’re actively pursuing discussions with many airlines with reciprocating interest from them considering our unique offering. It may or may not happen with one or more airlines, but we’re ready and fully determined to make it work.

    We apologize for any inconveniences you may have experienced today. However, we strongly suggest checking back to search PEX+ every-so-often, as we’re constantly making changes, and subscribing to PEX+ updates in order to stay in the know on what’s next for us. We’re only getting better from here. If you have any questions for us, please feel free to connect with us on social media or send us an email at info (at) pexportal (dot) com.

    Kindest Regards,
    Jessica
    PEX+

  8. Gave it a try. Looks promising. Appears to need a lot of work as many key airlines appear to be missing:

    Air New Zealand
    Korean Air
    Cathay Pacific
    QANTAS
    Alaska Airlines
    JAL
    British Airways
    ANA
    Malaysian Airlines

    I’ve tried a few searches at least 8 months out and none of the above are coming up.

    I’m wondering if this app is skimming airline data directly (robo style) and if so the risk that it will suffer being locked out at some point or if it is buying access to the reservation systems and as such will come with pretty hefty fees.

  9. Take a look at this search result. The “operator” is incorrect….

    DEPART
    Virgin Australia | SQ 51 ( Economy )

    Departs: 2017/05/02 19:30:00 | from IAH
    Arrives: 2017/05/04 08:00:00 | at SIN
    Flight: SQ 51 | 77W (23h 30m)
    Fare Class: X Economy
    Operated By: Virgin Aust Intl
    Change planes

    Departs: 2017/05/04 09:30:00 | from SIN
    Arrives: 2017/05/04 14:40:00 | at PER
    Flight: SQ 223 | 772 (5h 10m)
    Fare Class: X Economy
    Operated By: Virgin Australia

    These are both SQ operated flights not VA operated.

  10. @Bruce they’re showing Virgin Australia as the data source for the SQ availability. That’s important to know because Virgin Australia has access to Singapore space that other partners do not.

  11. This site rocks! Of course it’s not perfect, but I’ve been playing around all week with Award Nexus and Expert Flyer, and they are far from perfect too, and cost money! Frankly I got more results from this site in 10 minutes than I did in days with those programs.

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