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Old Jun 6, 08, 12:57 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Citi PremierPass companion airfare

Spirit Incentives, the group which handles companion airfare for Citi cards, is by far the worst companion program I've yet experienced.

After a dozen or so inquiries, there is never availability. Each time, the reason I'm give is "a base fare is available which doesn't meet the minimum of $299" (literally quoted... must be a boiler-plate response)

I've tested this the last few times with a number of discount travel sites and actually had a travel-agent friend search from her end. The last 5 inquires should have been honored... no base fare on any airline was even close to below $299. On top of that, even if the base fare requirement is met, you cannot choose the carrier, flight times, non-stop, etc.

Essentially, when the CSR inputs the data, data for a single flight is returned. That's all folks.

I must say... I'm giving serious consideration to going with AMEX Platinum again. Even though one is limited to 4 companion fares per year, the program is entirely flexible and you may choose carrier, times, etc.

CitiBank, if they care at all, should seriously reconsider the program supplier.

I voiced my concern to both CitiBank and Spirit...neither seemed the least bit interested.

Last edited by BluEyedFF; Jun 7, 08 at 6:43 am.. Reason: misspelled
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Old Jun 6, 08, 1:32 pm   #2
 
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Agreed as to utility of the Citi PPE companion award.

But:"I must say... I'm giving serious consideration to going with AMEX Platinum again. Even though one is limited to 4 companion fares per year, the program is entirely flexible and you may choose carrier, times, etc."

Is this the Citi Amex Platinum card?
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Old Jun 6, 08, 2:08 pm   #3
 
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I've never tried to book through Spirit Incentives to utilize PPE companion awards BECAUSE I keep hearing and reading about how terrible they are. I agree that Citi should reconsider who they use.
American Express platinum card members (not from Citi) have MUCH more success booking companion award tickets. However, the annual fee is $450 so you have to know if that is worth it for you or not - a couple of companion tickets should cover it.
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Old Jun 6, 08, 2:34 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluEyedFF View Post
Spirit Incentives, the group which handles companion airfare for Citi cards, is by far the worst companion program I've yet experienced.

After a dozen or so inquiries, there is never availability. Each time, the reason I'm give is "a base fare is available which doesn't meet the minimum of $299" (literally quoted... must be a boiler-plate response)

I've tested this the last few times with a number of discount travel sites and actually had a travel-agent friend search from her end. The last 5 inquires should have been honored... no base fare on any airline was even close to below $299. On top of that, even if the base fare requirement is met, you cannot choose the carrier, flight times, non-stop, etc.

Essentially, when the CSR inputs the data, data for a single flight is returned. That's all folks.

I must say... I'm giving serious consideration to going with AMEX Platinum again. Even though one is limited to 4 companion fares per year, the program is entirely flexible and you may choose carrier, times, etc.

CitiBank, if they care at all, should seriously reconsider the program supplier.

I voiced my concern to both CitiBank and Spirit...neither seemed the least be interested.
Agreed. PPE's program is utter ..... I have never used a different one, but i have a hard time imagining a crappier one.

I'm almost wondering if there might be a class action law suit for false advertising for the PPE. Nothing works as advertised. The companion ticket is advertised as buy a ticket for $299 and get a free one, but we all know it doesn't work that way. The way flight points are advertised is misleading. It's actually one of the most overhyped cards out there.. Does anyone else feel like maybe suing them might be a good option?
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Old Jun 6, 08, 2:52 pm   #5
mia
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What is misleading in this pararaph?

Earn 1 point for every mile flown, 2 points for every dollar spent on purchases made in select categories, and 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. The total number of points that may be earned on your Citi PremierPass Card Elite Level is 200,000 per calendar year, only 100,000 of which may be earned through miles flown. For every point earned from purchases, one point earned from miles becomes available for redemption.
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Old Jun 6, 08, 3:15 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleFlyerGuy View Post
I'm almost wondering if there might be a class action law suit for false advertising for the PPE. Nothing works as advertised. The companion ticket is advertised as buy a ticket for $299 and get a free one, but we all know it doesn't work that way. The way flight points are advertised is misleading. It's actually one of the most overhyped cards out there.. Does anyone else feel like maybe suing them might be a good option?
I do agree that companion ticket is false advertising.
BUT flight points is quite clear and don't think it's "overhyped". I got good returns from these cards.
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Old Jun 6, 08, 4:50 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleFlyerGuy View Post
The way flight points are advertised is misleading. It's actually one of the most overhyped cards out there.. Does anyone else feel like maybe suing them might be a good option?
Flight points are pretty simple to understand and figure out, unless one is an utter .....

I for one will not be joining you in that suit !!! I love TYP program and is the only one I use !!
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Old Jun 7, 08, 6:49 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friedablass View Post
However, the annual fee is $450 so you have to know if that is worth it for you or not - a couple of companion tickets should cover it.
With tix prices skyrocketing, exercising just one companion fare could justify the Plat annual fee.

I agree, the TYP appears to be a decent enough rewards, but I was sold on the companion airfare. Before applying, I spoke with a Citi CSR about the details. All I was told was buy one fare for $299+, get the companion fare free plus taxes. Pity the CSRs aren't required to disclose the fine print or at the very least say "the reality is, you'll get very little, if any, use of this benefit"
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Old Jun 7, 08, 11:39 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anaggie View Post
Flight points are pretty simple to understand and figure out, unless one is an utter .....

I for one will not be joining you in that suit !!! I love TYP program and is the only one I use !!
I second the motion. I'm able to rack up TYP quite fast with bonus points, select spend points, flight points, etc. I like this program for airline tickets a lot better than any mileage program - since there's no blackout dates, it's much easier to get the exact dates and flights you need than with an airline mileage award. On top of that, I can still earn mileage on whatever airline I fly. It's definitely a great program, except if one is an utter.........

To BlueeyedFF: I knew when I signed up for this card that the companion program is not worth the paper it's written on. If you're looking for a good companion program then you should definitely go with amex plat - people are very happy with it; you can read about it on the amex forum.
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Old Jun 8, 08, 10:28 am   #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
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I decided to test the program on Saturday morning (fares always higher). Was finally told there was availability HOWEVER everything was on AA.

My destination was LAS... I inquired on originating from PHL, BWI, DCA, EWR, LGA & JFK. Even though there were less expensive fares (still meeting $299 minimum) on other airlines, the only airline on which Spirit Incentives would book was AA. And it was just the worst connections

Was wondering if anyone familiar with the program has had a similar experience...
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Old Jun 10, 08, 11:23 am   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mia View Post
What is misleading in this pararaph?
1: That paragraph is newish. I signed up back before this was part of the PPE, or at least before it was advertised...

2: This is how the card was advertised to me and is advertised even as late a month ago:

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNEPwX2kE0E

Or as an image:

What is it advertising? That if you buy a ticket for $360 and fly 5000 miles, you get a total of $5360 points. Plus you regular airline miles. What does the video advertise? About the same deal. What is the reality of the deal? That for your $360 purchase, you only earn 720 points, while the rest sit in purgatory, waiting for you to spend an additional $4640 to "unlock" them. Isn't that just a little misleading?

If the program worked how I was told it worked when I signed up and as these ads indicate, I'd be up 60,000 ThY Points but as it is they are "flight points". That makes me a little peeved (I've since then started signing up for the other ThY cards to get my ThY points "back" from them..).

...not to mention that the companion fare details are 100% hidden until you actually call to book! The CSRs at Citi are clueless about how it works and it's not until you call and request a flight that the guys over at the CompFare place tell you it doesn't really work at all, but assure you nonetheless that "hundreds of people book flights through us every day!"

Last edited by SeattleFlyerGuy; Jun 10, 08 at 11:33 am..
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Old Jun 10, 08, 5:26 pm   #12
 
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I have the Chairman MasterCard and have never used this feature or program, but always suspected it was horribly difficult to take advantage of. I had head AA was the preferred carrier (given the AA/Citi relationship). I did know Spirit Incentives runs it. If you look up their site, it looks like a spam email you get. They are based in FL. Citi must pay them a flat fee regardless of how many successful tickets they sell, so they probably have no incentive to book anything for you. The agents must sit around all day gossiping and laughing that no one who calls gets a ticket.

I wonder, if you want to book a simple air and hotel itinerary with your PPE (do you have this feature) or Chairman do they - Spirit - handle it for you? That could be a horrible experience too.
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Old Jun 11, 08, 8:03 am   #13
 
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It took over 7 days for Spirit Incentives to reply to an inquiry made at their own advertised website, www.companiontravelonline.com

I replied thanking the CSR for responding and included a rather scathing email criticizing their program. I requested that she forward to her supervisors. Needless to say, I receive no confirmation that she forwarded nor have I received a reply.

I intend to find an email address for CitiCards so I may go on record.
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Old Jun 11, 08, 11:29 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleFlyerGuy View Post
1: That paragraph is newish. I signed up back before this was part of the PPE, or at least before it was advertised...

2: This is how the card was advertised to me and is advertised even as late a month ago:

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNEPwX2kE0E

Or as an image:

What is it advertising? That if you buy a ticket for $360 and fly 5000 miles, you get a total of $5360 points. Plus you regular airline miles. What does the video advertise? About the same deal. What is the reality of the deal? That for your $360 purchase, you only earn 720 points, while the rest sit in purgatory, waiting for you to spend an additional $4640 to "unlock" them. Isn't that just a little misleading?

If the program worked how I was told it worked when I signed up and as these ads indicate, I'd be up 60,000 ThY Points but as it is they are "flight points". That makes me a little peeved (I've since then started signing up for the other ThY cards to get my ThY points "back" from them..).

...not to mention that the companion fare details are 100% hidden until you actually call to book! The CSRs at Citi are clueless about how it works and it's not until you call and request a flight that the guys over at the CompFare place tell you it doesn't really work at all, but assure you nonetheless that "hundreds of people book flights through us every day!"
When you signed up for the PPE you should have gotten at least 20,000 bonus points for signing up (and spending $600 within 2-3 months which isn't too hard since you already bought an airline ticket). Those 20k points can definitely be matched with flight points, so I don't know why you didn't get yours. You should check if the airport codes posted properly to your statement - if they did call CSR and they should release the flight points; if they didn't then you can mail in the boarding passes and they will adjust your flight points.
In the small print of PPE advertisements I always see that flight points need to be matched with purchase points, but in the beginning that's not a problem since the signup bonus points are counted as purchase points and can be matched with flight points.
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Old Jun 11, 08, 1:06 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friedablass View Post
When you signed up for the PPE you should have gotten at least 20,000 bonus points for signing up (and spending $600 within 2-3 months which isn't too hard since you already bought an airline ticket). Those 20k points can definitely be matched with flight points, so I don't know why you didn't get yours.
I did. A year ago, and during that time everything seemed to be as in the ads above. I made the card my airline ticket purchasing card and paid the annual fee, thinking that the annual fee would be paid back as points and companion tickets.

Since then, I've found that the companion program is a joke (one of the main reasons for me getting the PPE) and that their flight point system doesn't really work the way that I thought it should, based on what they told me and what I surmised from their advertising at the time. Hence, when the opportunity to fly cheap to germany (UA/LH's spring promo), I jumped on and brought some friends along. We had a great time... but I've got 60,000 phantasmal "points" sitting on my card and I'm not going to be spending $60,000 anytime soon. Weak sauce for me, and it bugs me that their hooks for the program don't really match the way it works. It's like signing up for an all expenses paid trip to New York City and finding out that the included hotel is a motel 6 in Newark.

Oh yeah, and since I originally got a PP and then upgraded to a PPE... I only got 10k ThY points, not 20k!
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