The rush from award bookings…

As One Mile At a Time very aptly puts it, there’s that rush when you book (award) tickets, especially when there’s an aspirational redemption or a mistake fare dangling in front of you.

The award that I feel most deserves to win the “award that will give you that high” is probably going to be Lifemiles. They are the winner of giving you that adrenaline rush. Allow me to summarize my fun night with them…

This (very early) morning I was trying to book an award with the online engine. My EF alerts didn’t seem to be working, but I decided to check lifemiles anyways for a redemption I had in mind, as even if the segments are all there on one day, it might not be bookable. I’ve also heard too many reports of horror stories with the call center and trying in vain to piece together an award segment by segment on the phone, so all I am willing to do is to just sit and hope the online system to spit out what I want.

So I’m in luck today but first, you have to go through the very glitchy engine and wait a long time with this screen as it pulls up the results. Twice the engine says that there is an error, the lifemiles support team has been notified, blah blah blah. I try again. Results show up! That’s so great!

Then you get to wait for another minute as it pulls the seats and goes to the payment page, and through to the traveller information page. All this time I’m extremely tense for reasons I cannot disclose for fears of angry FT haters and my own ethical boundaries, as I’ve seen the engine time out before. This seems to happen a lot with my itineraries, but this time I click, and voila! I get through to the CC page! Now I am celebrating as all I have to do is enter my credit card information.

For some dumb reason (or maybe it was smart?) I decided to use my Chase Marriott Visa which has no forex instead of my trusty AMEX which I used for my last transaction with lifemiles. So I click through… and

“We were unable to obtain authorization for your credit card. Please verify that your Credit Card information is correct or try again using a different Credit Card.”

Why now??!!I was super ecstatic over snagging two TPAC business class seats essentially during peak season summer travel 2 months out and so at first I thought the engine was having trouble processing my credit card as several people have posted about this on Flyertalk. So I go over to my online banking and l see a declined transaction.

Online Banking

Oh goodie my what the f#@ just happened??!! Well, at least I know now that a couple hundred dollar “mail/phone order” charge from a Colombian Airline company in the middle of the night is going to get declined. 😛

Back on the page I’m on (unfortunately I forgot to take a screenshot), there’s no option to rebook. So I can’t really use another credit card. To top off the bad news, Chase Canada Customer Service is closed until 8AM EST so now I can just sit and relax hope that the seats are being held or will come back.

It’s certainly the first time this has happened, though all the previous times my routes have been “legitimate,” if you want to put it that way, so it wasn’t really a problem. But When you combine getting a great deal and snagging award seats with no clarity on what you’re going to get at all and the fact that the we’re dealing with a company that has the worst call center, won’t let you book mixed class tickets online or via phone, and has no qualms about devaluing their redemption values with advance notice, it’s pretty insane. It honestly really is a crapshoot, all the while with your heart racing.

So that was my very interesting experience with lifemiles. Now I have to go phone their call center, wish me luck!

Comments

  1. This happened to me last week. Life miles made it to booking, then rejected my usa plat amex. I called Amex and was told they rejected nothing. I called a avianca and I was told my flight was not held and my only option was to start over. GL! (for me the space returned later in the day)

  2. Just redeemed my crappy Lifemiles last night for a flight to DC today. Used to be a lot easier to redeem from what I remember a few years ago. Not quite the availability as AA or UA offered but was flexible, used another crappy currency (LANPass kms) to reposition, and got it after several hrs work

  3. Here is a bit of a slightly different rush. Some people say airline miles aren’t worth anything. Let me challenge that. For 25K miles (the lowest redemption award) plus $10 in taxes I was able to 1) travel just under 4,000 miles on four different flights, flew twice on the newest airliner in the sky, was treated with more consideration by the United staff at IAH than I probably deserved, was welcomed onboard the two B787 flights with enthusiasm by the crew, and had my hotel paid for because of the flight cancellation of my original B787 rotation. Remember, UA could have gotten me to Chicago and back on alternate flights that didn’t result in the overnight – and that’s all they are obligated to do – but they understood that I was there for the B787 flights, and others wouldn’t do, and still offered the free hotel. I never asked because I didn’t feel I was entitled to it. Yes, airline miles are still very much worth it. (I hesitate to wonder whether my airline of choice, American, would have been have as accommodating).And yes, it as a rush. The B787 is truly a Dreamliner.

    • I actually wasn’t booking SQ, haha! Seems like my seats have not gone back to inventory so it looks like I’m going to wait a bit longer.

  4. “I actually wasn’t booking SQ, haha! Seems like my seats have not gone back to inventory so it looks like I’m going to wait a bit longer.”

    “I was super ecstatic over snagging two TPAC business class seats essentially during peak season summer travel 2 months out”

    Strange how usually you are happy to give full information about these deals, but when it is your own booking, you don’t want to tell your readers the airline and the routing??

    Are you scared some of your loyal readers will snatch the two seats you were trying to get????

    • I’m actually a bit confused now. I thought you were all for protecting Lifemiles glitches because you went ballistic when I posted about SQ space with Lifemiles (which by the way, was still there a week ago). So now you want to me to give the routing to everyone, which is a glitched one? Oh, and I don’t give my travel dates to readers. Should I give them my home address too? Or perhaps my SIN/SSN?

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