Friday, February 28, 2014 An absurdly useful website

Some time ago I stumbled across Awardmapper, an absurdly simple and useful website:

Awardmapper's creator is active on Flyertalk and has said that he originally created the site for his own use after getting tired of opening multiple tabs to search for award rooms across multiple programs.  He later decided to make the site "live" with the hope that it would be useful to the miles & points community.  Well, it turns out he's created a marvelously useful trip planning tool.

Here's a sample screenshot of a search I just performed:
The site has a very simple interface.  You start at a search box that allows you to enter your destination (Arrow #1).  That will bring up the general geographic area that you'd like to go to and show all the available hotels.  You can then adjust the search area by dragging the screen, or zoom in by double-clicking or with your mouse's scroll wheel.  The page features a slider that allows you to adjust the points range that you'd like to search (Arrow #2), and a selectable list of the major chains that have rewards programs (Arrow #3).  Your search results show up as pins on the map and a list of hotels on the side of the screen (Arrow #4).  Clicking on a pin or a listed hotel takes you to the hotel's website where you can book your award stay.

The caveat is that Awardmapper only displays hotels and award rates.  It won't tell you whether the hotel has availability on any given night.  So, the site isn't a silver bullet for hotel award bookings, but it certainly takes a lot of work out of the process.  Thank you Awardmapper!