Last week we reported on a welcome enhancement to award search functionality on the Singapore Airlines desktop website, significantly improving the ease of making date range searches on a route compared with the airline’s first iteration of the feature, launched over a year ago.
The new faster interface generates seven-day award searching by default and allows easy and quick skipping week-by-week to adjacent periods, even if there is no immediate availability in a search (e.g. two Suites awards to Zurich on the same flight in May).
Better still, the latest improvement also unlocked date range award availability searching on Star Alliance and SIA partner airlines, something not previously possible.
The mobile apps have caught up
When this new functionality first arrived on the desktop site we were a little disappointed to find no change to award searching using the SingaporeAir mobile app.
The app is generally faster than the website for one thing, and it would be better to have this search flexibility ‘on the move’.
The most annoying part though was that if there was no award space available at Saver or Advantage levels across your (three-day) date range you were either shown availability for a different class instead (e.g. Business rather than First, not very helpful), or were ‘locked’ from proceeding to the previous / next three-day period.
Thankfully the new interface has now made it to the app too, though as before you’ll notice that award searching is only for a three-day window (+/- 1 day), not a seven day one. That’s (probably quite sensibly) limited by the screen width.
If there is no award space, even across the entire three-day period, you can still skip forwards and backwards to different date ranges without having to re-enter your search criteria.
On my iPad app, a five-day window is shown. This should also apply when using the app on other tablet devices.
The ‘Flexible travel dates’ option still exists on the mobile app when making an award search (it’s gone on the desktop site), but it doesn’t appear to matter whether you tick it or not. The app will now search and show awards within +/- 1 day of your selected travel date by default.
Displayed miles rates prioritise available awards
One quirk of the new system that’s important to understand is that the ‘headline rate’ is always the cheapest (lowest miles) immediately confirmable award rate on that particular date (Saver or Advantage).
That means waitlist awards might be hidden until you click on the specific date.
In the above example, the lowest immediately confirmable (Advantage) award rate is shown, but there is the opportunity to waitlist at a Saver rate if you prefer. You won’t know this until you click on the date itself.
If there are no immediately confirmable awards on the date displayed in the search bar (e.g. both Saver and Advantage awards are waitlisted), the lowest available waitlist rate will be shown. That’s the case on Sunday 3rd January in the above example.
Star Alliance and partners are included
In line with the recent improvement to the desktop date range search, it’s now possible to search Star Alliance and SIA partner airline award availability with the date range selection bar.
That’s a handy improvement because when the functionality first rolled out, it was only applicable to Singapore Airlines and SilkAir awards.
Previously you had to search Star Alliance and partner award space on an individual date search basis, repeating the search as required or skipping day by day, which was an issue if there wasn’t any availability on a certain route for a given day as the search then became ‘stuck’ and you had to start the process again.
For example, it’s easy to scan through three day’s worth of availability on Ethiopian’s Singapore – Addis Ababa service using the website.
If the date you want is not available, simply scan to the following or previous three-day period and it loads the dates fairly quickly, as with SIA award space.
It did seem odd that Singapore Airlines improved the award search functionality of its desktop site but left the mobile apps out. We find the apps faster and easier to use for this purpose.
Thankfully the apps just took a few days to catch up and now support the same improved search ability. Make sure you’ve got the latest versions downloaded and you should find you can now scan through available awards in three-day periods, with the relevant award space loading up within seconds of tapping a new date or date range.
Though a three-day search period is less flexible than the seven-day window you can preview on the desktop site, it still wouldn’t take you long to scan through a whole month’s award availability on a route using the app – useful for Suites and even some Business redemptions on popular routes (e.g. finding two First Class Saver awards on the same London flight).
(Cover Image: Singapore Airlines)