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Tired of searching flight award inventory for hours on end, only to be disappointed by results? Let a new tool do all of the heavy lifting for you! Roame.Travel searches a dozen award programs for flight award space on the route of your choosing — all at the click of a button. I tested out Roame.Travel's website, and here's what you should know about it.
What is Roame?
Similar to competitors like Point.me, Roame.Travel, or just Roame, allows users to search multiple frequent flyer programs for award space. Roame sets itself apart based on the speed at which it conducts searches. The site asserts itself as “the fastest search engine for award flights.” In order to back up this claim, Roame searches only a subset of all possible award programs.
Fortunately, both free and paid options exist. The free version includes all of the basic functionality one would expect with an award search tool. Meanwhile, the paid option ($9.99 monthly or $109 annually) adds a number of advanced options for more frequent or more sophisticated users.
These include advanced filters, unlimited searches, and customizable multi-client features on the enterprise plan.
The Roame journey begins with a free email sign-up, activated by clicking a link that enables all features. Better yet, there are no logins or passwords to remember. Note that I had to do this twice, once on my phone and once on my laptop, in order to use the site on both devices. I was able to give the same email address both times and had no issues. Additionally, be advised that if you log out of your account, you need another email to log back in.
Roame also offers a helpful guide for getting started directly on the site.
Just like other flight search engines and tools, Roame requires an origin, destination, and date to search. The free version of the tool allows users to pick between “economy/premium economy” and “business/first” cabins. Additionally, the number of travelers, anywhere between 1–10, must be specified.
After providing this info, click the red magnifying glass on the right-hand side to initiate the search. Note that all Roame searches are for one-way travel; you need multiple searches for round-trip travel.
Search results populate very quickly, just as the website boasts. Through a variety of test searches, full search results consistently appeared in under 30 seconds. Most searches took even less than that — around 20 seconds. Any “mixed cabin” search results include an indicator with the percentage of travel spent in the premium cabin for the itinerary.
Hovering over the transfer partner option, as shown above, tells users all of the possible ways to gather the proper points to book. Additionally, filters exist for a variety of itinerary details. Some filters, like the one for airline programs, even include an indicator for how many results were found for a particular filter option.
Three distinct search options exist as well. These options allow users to prioritize results that fit their specific needs.
Paid Premium Features
Roame advertises its paid, premium-level subscription with the following features:
- Advanced filtering
- Unlimited non-commercial searches
- SkyView (beta testing access)
- Priority support
- Early access to new products
In reality, users enjoy immediate value from advanced filtering and SkyView access. I put both of these features to the test when trying out Roame. Plus, early access to new products provides future value, though to an unknown degree. Meanwhile, priority support sounds nice on paper, but it likely comes with limited utility. Unlimited non-commercial searches adds no value whatsoever over the free version, unless some unstated search cap exists for free users.
While free users only have two filter options (programs and number of stops), premium users enjoy three additional filter options:
- Cards: Lets users toggle which transferrable currencies should be considered for results. For instance, if a user only collects American Express Membership Rewards points, they can limit search results to Amex transfer partners.
- Airlines: Allows users to pick and choose which airlines to include in search results. This becomes particularly helpful when trying to avoid a particular airline or when seeking a specific carrier. As an example, anyone searching for flights to London might filter out any British Airways results, based on the exorbitant taxes and fees assessed on these itineraries.
- Percent premium: My personal favorite of the three additional filters, this option provides users a way to filter mixed cabin results. Users may toggle anywhere from 0% to 100% premium results at 20% intervals. Note that this is most useful for premium cabin award searches.
On their own, these three advanced filters truly enhance the user experience. Combined, however, the benefits multiply and allow users the benefit of narrowing down results to find the most desired flights possible — all in the quickest amount of time.
Not only do Roame's premium subscribers benefit from advanced filtering options, they also benefit from access to SkyView. Though in its beta phase, SkyView aggregates airfare deals found in the prior 48 hours. On the surface, the benefits appear marginal. After all, Roame award searches take 30 seconds or less to conduct. However, SkyView boasts a few key elements that increase its value to users:
- Multi-day results: Users may search for results from a single day or +/- 3 days. This effectively allows for searching for deals one week at a time.
- Region-by-region results: A personal favorite, SkyView searches allow users to search entire continents at once! Effectively, five levels of regions exist: Continent, Country, State (or state equivalent), City, and Airport. No separate grouping exists for cities, but searches from a large city include all of its airports.
- Points filter: This is handy when hunting a particular deal, allowing you to limit the cost you're willing to pay for a flight.
Roame.Travel's Areas for Improvement
Despite all of the bells and whistles offered by Roame, there are areas for improvement: results and functionality.
While many of my Roame searches yielded positive results, I found a few flaws as well. The biggest flaw, in my experience, was incomplete search results. Here's a clear example: For a premium cabin search from Newark (EWR) to Paris (CDG), Roame returned three results through Aeroplan at 70,000 points, all on LOT Polish Airlines:
This search only tested the capabilities of the site. If I wanted to book such an itinerary, I would need to then search the same thing on the Aeroplan website:
Confirming the search results through Aeroplan raised another question: Why did none of the other Star Alliance carrier programs included by Roame return the same award space? Sometimes this happens, but typically at least one other program has access to the same partner award space. Roame searches for award space through both Avianca LifeMiles and United MileagePlus in addition to Aeroplan. Unexpectedly, searching the United website for the same flights yielded no results. However, the LifeMiles website did:
A few hours later, I refreshed the Roame search, and, to my surprise, one (but not both) of the LifeMiles options appeared:
For someone who has conducted countless award searches before, I knew to search other programs for the same award space. However, less experienced award travelers might take search results at face value and miss out on potential deals. Additionally, the inconsistent search results led me to question the results during future searches. If the results of the tool lack reliability, then the tool itself loses some of its utility.
Apart from the search results, website functionality also leaves opportunities for improvement. In particular, the filters available for a standard search and the filters available for a SkyView search do not line up. I understand that the ability to search across a full week of dates likely doesn't exist for a standard search. However, SkyView searches give users the option to filter by total points. Expanding this option to standard searches could be a nice feature.
Another helpful filter would be one for taxes and fees. This option could be very useful, as award travelers (myself included) often wish to avoid high award surcharges. For many, a low out-of-pocket cost predicates successful award travel.
Furthermore, the SkyView tool possesses great potential. In its current state, however, it requires a good deal of effort to yield high utility. Adding sort and filter options to the SkyView results would work wonders for its functionality. For instance, travelers looking to find award flights to Asia from their home airport might only consider results that include one stop or fewer. Under the current structure of SkyView, filtering for this isn't possible. Other options for paring down search results exist for standard award searches; expanding these methods to SkyView would make it an unparalleled award search tool.
Roame.Travel presents a very useful, but still raw, tool for searching award space. The base version of the site remains free, which makes it accessible to all. Even better, the paid version of Roame adds some really great features, including access to the SkyView beta, adding extra value. Since searches include just a dozen popular award programs, search results populate very quickly.
However, Roame is still a work in progress. Search results do not appear to return all possible award space from the programs searched. Additionally, certain elements of functionality could be expanded or added to further elevate the site. Nonetheless, Roame shows much promise as an award search tool, and I look forward to its continued development.
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