Thursday, January 14, 2016

American Airlines Award Map makes it easier to fly away

I recently discovered a feature on the American Airlines website that makes it easier for members of its frequent flier program to indulge their wanderlust, especially when they don’t quite know where they want to go.

The feature, which the airline calls its Award Map, gives members of the airline’s AAdvantage mileage program a list of destinations available to them given the dates they want to travel and the amount of miles in their account.

The interactive tool starts with the traveler’s home airport, then asks them to choose either the general region of the world to which they would like to travel or from a short list of special interests including beach, skiing, or golf. Based on those parameters, the tool returns the destinations available. It also gives the option of searching by Main Cabin or Business/First Class availability.

Map showing available cities
I used the tool when deciding on my trip to Poland last spring. When I put my information into the search boxes, the Award Map returned 65 cities that I could have visited using the amount of miles in my AAdvantage account. Those included Istanbul, Turkey (IST); Bucharest, Romania (OTP); Vienna (VIE) or Salzburg (SZG), Austria; Madrid (MAD) or Barcelona (BCN), Spain; Nice (NCE), Toulouse (TLS), Lyon (LYS), or Paris (CDG or ORY), France, and Warsaw, Poland (WAW) among others.

Warsaw won out.

Award Map is a direct product of the American Airlines Development Program for Technology (ADEPT) initiative, which is a college recruiting program created to develop a technical talent pipeline for Information Technology; a “grow-your-own” initiative of the type that is increasingly popular with many businesses today, particularly those in highly technical fields.

For quite some time, I have thought that such an approach should have been relatively simple to accomplish given the state of today’s technology, and American designed it well. It is intuitive, easy to use and is far more efficient than plugging a number of random destinations into the booking tool one at a time to see what is available. Kudos to American Airlines (NYSE:AAL) for providing this very helpful tool!

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.

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