Old Mar 30, 13, 1:57 pm
  #1  
DBCme
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Slightly to the left of center
Posts: 3,474
Experience redeeming VX miles on International Partners

This post is my personal experience, observation attempting to redeem VX points with Virgin Atlantic and Singapore Airlines. These attempts were made (hats off) to Lucky who initially posted the, at least in theory, great value of VX points for flying around the globe.

http://boardingarea.com/blogs/onemil...ity-is-loaded/

Ring the alarm
"We're still trying to get to know Singapore Airlines"
"I don't have any seats on Air Singapore"
"105,000 points from London to San Francisco"
"There are only three of us who do these types of tickets"
"The person who knows about the points required is not in on Saturdays or Sundays"
Award charts showing incorrectly first and business class seats redemption options to Singapore/Hong Kong and Seoul (Not permitted on 77W, 380).
VX website doesn't show SQ as a partner (only VA, HA, Virgin Australia)

Positive moments
-Agents proactively tried alternate airports (ie: SFO:LAX; LHR:LGW)
-Friendly, upbeat, effort made to make flights work using alternate days/times combo of airlines
-Offered to put me on hold or callback (they did the latter AND called back within 30 minutes)
-Willingness to check every week for me to see if specific dates opened up ("I will call if something becomes available and ask you before ticketing it.")
-AMEX MR points easily transfer to VX in case you are short for redemption
-Award redemption levels are very lucrative in some markets as Lucky points to.

Some issues I had:
1) LHR-SFO - no nonstop space in any class on the days I selected (they offered alternates). But DID find LHR-IAD-SFO in upper class. The pricing on it came to 105,000 points ONE WAY however. The rep claimed it is two award tickets; LHR-IAD and IAD-SFO (VX). Beside the point they are treating this as two tickets (very strange...), how do they price it at 105k when LHR-IAD is 25,000; A VX award ticket is based on market price of the ticket, not a fixed amount like their international partners. Meanwhile, if available, the LHR-SFO is 30,000. 105,000?** Even the agent didn't know how to explain it.

2) Overall impression based on my conversations is reps operate on a cliff notes version of the process and asking questions usually leads to several awkward moments of silence and/or asking a supervisor for help.

3) This process is not sustainable. Man, I love me my VX, but the manual process of this ("let me look these up and call you back...," "I can try looking each week for you...") just won't work long-term if their business model is to...grow. These partnerships with international carriers is great, but only if they can pull it off. Let us not forget the IT mess in the early days of VX and the headaches that was for weeks/months.

** Possible pricing they are use:
LHR-IAD 25,000 fixed price
IAD-SFO 75,163 refundable one-way ticket
IS approximately 105,000

Overall, I was not able to book today. On one hand, there are some really good opportunities here. The speculation of VX existence beyond 2013 are certainly of some concern which is pushing me to redeem sooner than later. Unfortunately, navigating through the redemption process does take some patience.

Last edited by DBCme; Mar 30, 13 at 2:12 pm
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