American Airlines has launched an Award Map tool that gives its mileage club members what it calls an expanded view into the award tickets they can book online.
Using a real-time, interactive map of American's network, the airline says the tool lets customers view multiple destinations when searching for award travel.
In order to use the map, AAdvantage members choose a destination from a drop-down menu - like Continental U.S., Hawaii, or Canada and Alaska. They can also search by "Interest," which includes Beach, Ski, and Golf. They must also enter travel dates, number of passengers, and number of miles.
The map yields search results that can be sorted by miles or city name.
Each eligible destination is highlighted on the map. Selected points with numbers mean there is more than one nearby destination. Customers can click on that destination to see more.
Once a user picks a location, the map zooms in and provides a "Book Now" button, which, as the name implies, allows customers to choose actual flights.
In an email, an American Airlines rep writes, "Award Map was developed to make the award searching and booking process more convenient for American's customers (no more one-off searches for the right flight). The target is really any customer who wants to see a list of destinations they can book award travel to using their AAdvantage miles."
An American Airlines rep was not available for further comment by deadline.
American has posted an Award Map demonstration in its YouTube channel.
It has also used #AwardMap to push the feature to @AmericanAir's 525,000 followers.
A Facebook post on March 19 to its 621,000 fans received mixed reactions. Some fans are excited to see the new tool, while others complain about ease of use.
"Award Map is specifically designed with our customers in mind to help make booking flights with miles easier than ever," says Suzanne Rubin, president of the AAdvantage Loyalty Program, in a prepared statement. "The intuitive layout and simple navigation of Award Map offers customers a robust, easy-to-use tool that makes searching for and booking award tickets much more convenient."
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014