To really get the most out of being a points collector, you’ve got to have quite a few different accounts for every airline, hotel and car hire place on the planet. This can become pretty unwieldy, pretty quickly.
What you should look for from a points tracking service
Most people have quite a few loyalty program accounts. Some are for slowly building balances over time while others might be just to take advantage of offers or for searching award availability.
The majority probably only have a smattering of points in them, if any. Most people don’t need to track all of those accounts, but it is useful to store all their logins and have balances checked centrally.
Our ‘everyday’ accounts that need tracking are probably similar to yours, being Qantas, Velocity, and flybuys. The next in the list might be things like AAdvantage and KrisFlyer and your car rental company of choice, or maybe a few hotel programs.
Note that two-factor authentication is a lot more common now, which (understandably) wreaks havoc with points tracking services, as they need you to confirm additional details before being able to log in. Qantas is a prime example of one program which is much harder to add now, though it’s still possible.
For the purposes of this exercise, and to try and work out which is the ‘best’ points tracker, we looked at the common loyalty trackers as a baseline requirement. From those programs, we hand-picked the three that we feel are best suited for Aussies (lots of them are targeted for people living in the USA).
Here’s the breakdown, with deeper analysis below the table:
|Tripit Pro||AwardWallet||App in the Air|
|Qantas Business Rewards||Y||Y||Y|
|BA Executive Club||Y||Y||Y|
|American Express Membership Rewards||Y||Y||N|
|Multiple accounts from same program?||Y||Y||Y|
|Cost||$49 USD/year||Free for most functions or $39/year for 'Plus'||Free for this purpose
($81.99 lifetime for flight alerts and SMS alerts)
AwardWallet supports all of the programs in our list and gets first place. It also allows me to enter multiple accounts and has a pretty good looking app. Looking through the list of supported loyalty programs, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find something it doesn’t support.
Airlines are its bread and butter, of course. Qantas and Velocity adds without any unexpected issues, although strangely seeing my Status Credits balance for Qantas is a premium-only perk, while it’s not for Velocity.
AwardWallet also includes a simple itinerary tracker. The ‘Plus’ version has some additional features including seeing more info, faster data updates (up to five parallel accounts), as well as the ability to review historical data on your points usage.
The Plus version now costs $30 USD per year, although those who signed up before February 2017 may have the old ‘Early Supporters Discount’ pricing of $10 USD per year.
Visit: http://www.awardwallet.com →
I would imagine that anyone who’s used a travel organisation app has come across Tripit. As an itinerary tracker, it’s excellent, although it has plenty of competition from the likes of Kayak Trips, TripCase and a multitude of other free services.
If you’re prepared to stump up $49 USD per year (or try the 30-day free trial), then an upgrade to Tripit Pro will give you some additional features. We won’t cover them all off here, but the main one we’re interested in is the Points Tracker.
Tripit Pro covers all of the accounts I’m after except Flybuys, which I knew was going to be the tricky one. A bonus for Tripit Pro is that it gives the user the ability to track more than one account from the same loyalty program (as does Awardwallet).
This option puts everything in one box (itinerary management, alerts and reward points), so if that’s what you’re after, then this may be for you. It’s a bit of a travel Swiss Army knife. The app is also excellent with all your loyalty programs visible on one screen, and warnings when your points are about to expire.
There is a 30 day free trial so you can check it out properly before committing. Personally, I wouldn’t pay $49 USD a year for the points tracking functionality, and the other premium features of TripIt Pro are of no interest to me.
Visit: https://www.tripit.com →
App in the Air
Like TripIt, App In The Air is predominantly a flight tracking app and does have a free wallet functionality. Although it was missing flybuys and American Express Membership Rewards, and hence has the weakest coverage out of the three main apps we’re comparing, it still does all the main airlines and hotels well, including showing tier status and the current balance.
Once again, you might choose this over AwardWallet as it can combine your flight itineraries and reward points into one simple app. Best of all, points tracking is included in the free version. There is a premium subscription to App In The Air ($42 a year or $82 for lifetime), but that’s for alerts and SMS features that aren’t relevant to this guide.
Lighter users: Stocard, Google Pay, Apple Pay
These additional options are designed for more active Point Hackers who may have multiple rewards accounts to keep track of. If you’re a lighter user (perhaps just a Qantas and Velocity account), then there may be simpler options for you!
Stocard is a great app for Australian shoppers to keep track of their various loyalty cards. Although it isn’t airline-focused, you can still log-in and track airlines like Qantas, Velocity, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. Note that flybuys points aren’t trackable through here (but you can still add the card).
Visit: https://stocardapp.com/ →
Summing up – points tracking services
Firstly, is it worth using a points tracking service? If you manage more than a handful of accounts, we’d argue absolutely, yes.
It’s worth noting that all apps except AwardWallet require you to trust their service with the login to your frequent flyer account – so if you’re not comfortable doing that, then your choice is limited.
Awardwallet offers the ability to save passwords locally to avoid giving out your password to a third-party. But take note; doing that though removes most of the automated account update features.
If it is just points tracking that you’re looking for, then AwardWallet wins hands down. It’s got the best coverage and the core features are free. The paid options unlock more relevant features and isn’t too pricey in comparison.
If you’re wanting itinerary tracking in the mix as well, then I’d consider App In The Air as the second-place contender, followed by TripIt Pro if you’re happy to pay the annual fee.
While the latter has more features, it’s more useful when you’re stranded at an airport with long delays rather than when you’re at home planning a trip.
All up – have a look at the products, and the table up above to work out what’s important to you. The free versions of AwardWallet and App In The Air do points tracking out of the box, so Tripit Pro is really the only one that charges a premium. Stocard might be a great light option also.
Setting them all up is reasonably painless – just try them out with a handful of accounts first – and probably worth doing if you really want to know what will work for you.