Today, my subscription paid for itself, over and over again…

This is not the first time you’ve heard a travel site mention ExpertFlyer and it certainly won’t be the last. And unlike many products, it’s not because anyone is getting paid. ExpertFlyer is the single most useful tool you can add to your travel arsenal, in the pursuit of upgrades, seats using points, scoring an entire row, or finding full or empty flights – and there’s so much more. Today, my ExpertFlyer subscription more than paid for itself for the year. Here’s how…

a seat in a planeUpgrades

On some airlines, it’s generally impossible for the “public” to see upgrade availability. ExpertFlyer changes that. I was booked on an American Airlines economy ticket across the pond and had an upgrade certificate from the lucrative BusinessExtra program. I was able to search ExpertFlyer for upgrades on my flight, and even though one wasn’t available on my first search, I set a free email alert. Days later, an upgrade opportunity popped up, and I was able to snag it, bypassing the waitlist!

Seats Using Points

People struggle to find seats using points. It’s a thing. Much like finding upgrades, ExpertFlyer allows you not only to search for seats, but set alerts for when they become available. This allows you to search once, sit back and receive an email if and when one of the 50+ airlines decides to let you finally cash in your points.

a white airplane flying in the skyBump Opportunities

Full flights can lend themselves to lucrative compensation vouchers, just for getting bumped to a later flight. ExpertFlyer allows users to look up how many seats are sold on almost any flight, so if you’re hoping for some good fortune, you can pick a wise option. This tool has so many valuable uses and is surprisingly easy to use, once you get the hang of it!

Empty Seats

ExpertFlyer uses realtime seat data to show you where everyone is sitting in almost any cabin. You can even set alerts for the seats you’d like, which are currently showing as taken. Much like all the other cool functions, you get an email or notification if your dream seat becomes open. I’ve been able to score an entire row in economy to myself, on more than one occasion!

a person holding a credit card and typing on a laptopAirfare Data

Wondering when the hot sale is going to end – or when you need to book your ticket by? Users can look up the details for any fare, showing how many stopovers are allowed, how long you must stay or when you must return by. Of course, most fares usually have an expiration date too, so you’ll know when you must book. This can be paired with the flight availability tools, where you can set alerts if less than or more than any number of seats are available. It’s easy to say, let me know if less than 5 cheap fares are available on this flight. You simply set alerts.


ExpertFlyer is $9.99 a month, but you can cancel at any time, and effectively pause your membership. You could pay for a month, get tons of use – pause and then just re start your $9.99 at any time. This flexibility is key for people who may not get $120 of value out of it in a year, but easily will get $9.99. I get $1000’s in value each year as a frequent flyer, and I’d bet you will too. I really do pay for it, too.

Do you use ExpertFlyer?

Featured image courtesy of Air New Zealand.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I love expert flyer. I called into Virgin Atlantic earlier this year for a reward flight on a Star Alliance partner Airline. I used all of the partner Airlines to find availability, but virgin couldn’t find what I had seen. Luckily, one of their helpful employees told me to try expert flyer and it worked like a charm. Saved me days of searching, totally worth the ten bucks.

  2. dear points master – didn’t we think about you putting together some type of beinner tutorial for this a while back?

    1. what tutorial do you need? Go play around with it, it’s pretty intuitive. If you are looking for an award flight, click that, put in the dates/airline/class of service and hit search. If you want to find upgrades, click on that tab. If you want to set an alert, click on that one. If you want to read a primer, there’s one on the site you can download. If you’re trying to look for something you haven’t thought of yet, well, can’t help you there.

  3. Following the advice here…

    I booked LHR / DXB in business and waited. Waited for the return I needed. It did. 3 weeks later boom. Booked.

    Love expert flyer. Though not sure it’s 100% on elite gold BA seats in economy. Anyway, it’s worth it.

    Thanks GSTP

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