Valentine’s Day Gone Wrong – Issues Booking Award Travel

I was having a normal Valentine’s Day night trying to use points for flights and it quickly turned into issues booking award travel with Chase and British Airways.

Valentine's Day Issues Booking Award Travel Twitter
Tweeting on my blog’s handle on Valentine’s Day…pure romance

I was trying to do two supposedly very simple things with points. And yes, booking these flights was supposed to be an easy and fun (well fun for me) thing to do on Valentine’s Day since we skipped gifts in favor of more travel.

  1. Use British Airways Avios to fly on the new non-stop from PHX-STS (also known as Sonoma County Airport for a winery weekend)
  2. Transfer 2,000 Chase points to Southwest to top off my husband’s Southwest account to book a flight to Vegas.

Well, it’s times like these that I understand why people use their points so poorly and just get cash back.

Trying to Book Phoenix to Santa Rosa

Using American miles runs 12,500 points each way to Santa Rosa which is in the heart of the wine country. Avios on this new nonstop are a steal at 7,500 points each way, 15,000 round-trip per person.

So I go to American’s website, see the nonstop availability:

Phoenix to Santa Rosa Award Availability Open

Then go to British Airways website and cannot even look up the airport code, much less find the availability. I even think I’ve had too much wine and try typing in both STS and Santa Rosa multiple times.

British Airways Santa Rosa Airport Code not showing

At this point I look up British Airways US call center number and brace myself for a long hold time. Luckily it looks like most people are smarter than me and are spending time with their loved ones on Valentine’s Day. So, I only wait 3 minutes.

Of course, the gentleman who picks up tries to insist that if it’s not on the website the partner availability doesn’t exist. This happens often. I gently and politely asked him if he would just look anyways. He did and found the availability right away.

After confirming flight times, going through the passenger info, etc. he then tries to charge me a $50 phone service fee in addition the $22 in fees. Again I ask, gently and politely, if he can waive it since it’s not possible to be booked online. He tells me he can book it so I must be able to and he needs to charge me the fee. Plus that I must be trying to book in the wrong place. Again, politely, but slightly firmly this time, ask if he can double check on that. He says he will go check the consumer side of the site. Then comes back on the line after 4 minutes. Says he can waive the phone fee. Doesn’t admit I was right, but I’ll take it!

All in, a 20 minute phone call but relatively easy because I know the rules. It is so important to know the rules when trying to redeem points for flights or hotels because airlines rarely will advocate for you or help you any step of the way.

So…for 15,000 Avios each look forward to a Sonoma and Napa trip report coming your way!

Transferring Points from Chase to Southwest

Well, the website was down. No tricks of the trade here. It was time to go spend some quality time with my husband who spent 20 minutes trying to figure out, as I was pacing with my headset on talking to British Airways, whether he was impressed or embarrassed by his wife and her hobbies 😉

Bottom Line

Issues booking award travel happens. Unfortunately if it was always easy everyone would do it and we couldn’t get the great value we do from points. Keep at it though, know when you can get fees waived and any tricks, then enjoy your next free vacation!

Anyone else decide to spend their anniversary, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day booking award travel? Anyone else’s spouse both concerned and impressed by your ability to easily book award travel?

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