Trying to book award, being told to visit office

Reply

Old Jul 11, 19, 7:10 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: ORD
Posts: 81
Trying to book award, being told to visit office

Hello, kind FTers. My wife used points transferred from Chase to book award travel (RT ORD-CDG) for her and her friend. A third friend decided to go on this trip with them so my wife attempted to book a third award ticket. It seemed like the award was issued, she got a message saying booking successful. But the ticket confirmation hasn't been issued, her points seem to have been refunded, and she received a message saying to contact Air France.

She called Air France this morning and was told she needs to visit an Air France ticketing desk/agent in person to complete the transaction. She wasn't told why this is the case. This is an eight hour drive there and back and not really an option. Anyone have any idea what's going on here and possible solutions?

One thing I'm thinking happened: when booking the award for the third friend, she used the friend's credit card info to pay the taxes and fees. Perhaps this gummed something in the system and triggered some kind of fraud prevention? Any suggestions are appreciated, thanks!
xenophile is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 11, 19, 7:24 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 260
Originally Posted by xenophile View Post
Hello, kind FTers. My wife used points transferred from Chase to book award travel (RT ORD-CDG) for her and her friend. A third friend decided to go on this trip with them so my wife attempted to book a third award ticket. It seemed like the award was issued, she got a message saying booking successful. But the ticket confirmation hasn't been issued, her points seem to have been refunded, and she received a message saying to contact Air France.

She called Air France this morning and was told she needs to visit an Air France ticketing desk/agent in person to complete the transaction. She wasn't told why this is the case. This is an eight hour drive there and back and not really an option. Anyone have any idea what's going on here and possible solutions?

One thing I'm thinking happened: when booking the award for the third friend, she used the friend's credit card info to pay the taxes and fees. Perhaps this gummed something in the system and triggered some kind of fraud prevention? Any suggestions are appreciated, thanks!
I would call again to Air France and ask the details.
Probably its for fraud prevention.
BobTL is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 11, 19, 8:14 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: Gold: A3, KL Silver: AZ, BA
Posts: 23,416
Booking awards for third parties from accounts that have only ever received FB miles as a result of credit card point transfers are a no-no.

You will have to visit an Air France ticket office to satisfy them that you are not a mileage broker, receiving payment from the third parties that you are attempting to book travel for.

This has been reported many, many times.

Air France/FB says my 317,000+ MR transfer is FRAUD! Help!
Security on new account - call center unable to escalate
Burned by FB. What to do now?
Award ticket too complex? Told to go to airport/ticket office to issue
Told to "go to airport" to book award ticket
etc etc etc

My advice would be to have this third friend buy her own ticket.

Last edited by irishguy28; Jul 11, 19 at 8:19 am
irishguy28 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 11, 19, 8:43 am
  #4  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 41,293
While being flagged for fraud is unpleasant (when one is simply doing something nice for another person), this has all the red flags for fraud.

While there is not likely anything to be done, it is at least worth a call to AF to determine whether there is some alternative which it might consider.
xenophile likes this.
Often1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 11, 19, 8:55 am
  #5  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 80,271
Has she pointed out to AF clearly that the ticket for the second friend is for exactly the same flights as she and first friend have booked and ticketed? That should make it seem much less likely to be fraud.
xenophile and altabello like this.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 11, 19, 9:36 am
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: ORD
Posts: 81
Thanks for the replies guys. I should have searched more before posting, this is pretty clear that she's been flagged. I think there's an AF office at STL, so maybe wouldn't have to go all the way to ORD to sort it out. Phone representative she spoke to was adamant that she couldn't help remotely.
xenophile is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 11, 19, 9:40 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: Gold: A3, KL Silver: AZ, BA
Posts: 23,416
Originally Posted by xenophile View Post
I think there's an AF office at STL
STL doesn't have service to Paris, let alone any Air France flights.

You will not find an Air France ticket desk at any airport not served by Air France...and this not something a Delta ticket counter will be able to help with.
irishguy28 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 11, 19, 9:55 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Paris, FR
Programs: AF/KL Plat, AA EXP, A3*G, UA *G, LH FTL, CCarlson Gold, HH Gold
Posts: 713
Originally Posted by xenophile View Post
Thanks for the replies guys. I should have searched more before posting, this is pretty clear that she's been flagged. I think there's an AF office at STL, so maybe wouldn't have to go all the way to ORD to sort it out. Phone representative she spoke to was adamant that she couldn't help remotely.
Have you tried calling Flying Blue in France? Not saying they will necessarily be able to help, but it might save you an 8 hour drive. Also Air France on Twitter is usually responsive.
xenophile likes this.
Oxymore is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 11, 19, 10:35 am
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: ORD
Posts: 81
Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
STL doesn't have service to Paris, let alone any Air France flights.

You will not find an Air France ticket desk at any airport not served by Air France...and this not something a Delta ticket counter will be able to help with.
Yeah, realizing that now. Saw they did some codeshares and thought they might be able to help. Oh well, I think before trying to visit an AF counter another call or two to the service line is in order. Perhaps she can try to book again with her own card and they'll let that one through. My fear is that now that she's been flagged, there's no other option than visiting an AF ticket desk. Live and learn!!

Thanks again for the help all!
xenophile is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 11, 19, 11:35 am
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: Gold: A3, KL Silver: AZ, BA
Posts: 23,416
I guess another option would be to cancel the existing two tickets (at a charge of €45 per ticket, unless these were Promo Awards which cannot be changed or cancelled) and, once the miles have been returned to the Flying Blue account, make a new booking for all three passengers, including the account holder, in a single transaction.

However, availability on the desired flights may have changed and may be more expensive than when originally booked; and there is no guarantee that FB/AF wouldn't still decide they wanted to see the account holder in person at a ticket desk now that the request has already been issued.
irishguy28 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 11, 19, 2:12 pm
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: FB AF Silver, BA Gold
Posts: 11,185
Just seeing you wife at a ticketing office might not be sufficient. If she just opened the account and a friend received the award (and even paid taxes with his cc), there is obvious suspicion of barter and AF could easily decide to void the account and all the tickets. Barter could be that wifey received some gift in exchange for the award ticket. So she should come prepared with a solid case. Proof of family relationship could help. But if the recipient is a mere friend who lives far away, the case might be harder to argue.
MSPeconomist likes this.
brunos is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 11, 19, 4:50 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: Gold: A3, KL Silver: AZ, BA
Posts: 23,416
Originally Posted by brunos View Post
Just seeing you wife at a ticketing office might not be sufficient. I
I think that’s being too paranoid.

A mileage broker is likely to find themselves in this situation for every booking they make on behalf of their clients, and will soon tire of the effort and bother of attending AF ticket counters each time and/or creating convincing fake IDs for each new name they use (FB would quickly catch on if they use the same name each time).

A genuine passenger, only expecting to find themselves in this situation once, is far more likely to follow this required course of action (though, invariably, all such reports here on FT come from US customers living hours from the nearest AF ticket desk)

For what it’s worth, while we regularly have reports here of people being told to report to an AF ticket desk, we have yet to hear of anyone doing so and still being refused. As such, there is no reason to suspect that the OP would have the ticket cancelled even after attending an AF ticket desk. However, that we have heard no reports of this happening is more likely due to the fact that these people never bother to go through with the booking....which from AF’s perspective may validate their use of this approach.

I hope that the OP will tell us how this situation concludes, because most other posters neglect to complete their stories.
altabello, Goldorak and fifty_two like this.
irishguy28 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 12, 19, 3:13 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: FB AF Silver, BA Gold
Posts: 11,185
Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
I think that’s being too paranoid.

A mileage broker is likely to find themselves in this situation for every booking they make on behalf of their clients, and will soon tire of the effort and bother of attending AF ticket counters each time and/or creating convincing fake IDs for each new name they use (FB would quickly catch on if they use the same name each time).

A genuine passenger, only expecting to find themselves in this situation once, is far more likely to follow this required course of action (though, invariably, all such reports here on FT come from US customers living hours from the nearest AF ticket desk).


For what it’s worth, while we regularly have reports here of people being told to report to an AF ticket desk, we have yet to hear of anyone doing so and still being refused. As such, there is no reason to suspect that the OP would have the ticket cancelled even after attending an AF ticket desk. However, that we have heard no reports of this happening is more likely due to the fact that these people never bother to go through with the booking....which from AF’s perspective may validate their use of this approach.

I hope that the OP will tell us how this situation concludes, because most other posters neglect to complete their stories.
I do remember a recent thread where the OP showing up at the airport was not sufficient to clear the award.

I am not sure how you describe a mileage broker. My understanding is that they act as middle man to make demand and supply meet. X wishes to fly on AF ORD-CDG. The broker checks for availability and find Y who has plenty of FB miles (usually by transferring from a cc). Then the broker charges say $1,000 to X and pays $800 to Y when he has booked the award ticket in the name of X. If FB refuses to issue, then it is up to Y to clear the problem. The broker is never in contact with FB.

In the current case, the fact that the "friend" travels on exactly the same flight as the FB member should/could help.
BTW: I.remember reading an interesting blog (cannot find it now) about some ways people use to minimize the risk of getting flagged when bartering miles. This is .in USA where this activity is primarily taking place with very-generous credit cards. A guy books an award for himself and a "client" on the same flight. A couple of weeks later he cancels his own ticket. A guy was found out as he had done it repeatedly on his account.



Last edited by brunos; Jul 14, 19 at 9:44 am
brunos is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 14, 19, 9:52 pm
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: ORD
Posts: 81
Hello, looping back around to let everyone know how it turned out. Despite having been told to visit an AF ticket desk to sort out the situation, my wife called Flying Blue customer service the following day and simply asked to book a flight for her second friend (the one that had been denied booking online the prior day), as if she'd never tried to do so previously. She mentioned nothing about being flagged previously (if that's what indeed happened). She told the CSR that she'd tried to book online unsuccessfully and she'd prefer to try over the phone. CSR left the phone four or five times over the course of a 30 min call. Much to DW's delight, the seat was booked and confirmed with no problems.

Humorously, AF media team DM'd her later in the day after she'd booked seat (she had posted something earlier in the day). They told basically "sorry, we can't help, go to airport ticket desk." She didn't bother arguing.

Anyway, this data point seems to indicate that being flagged for fraud on a new FB account after a transfer of partner miles (in this case, URs) and attempted award booking doesn't necessarily require a ticket desk visit. If at first you don't succeed online, try you luck over the phone. Thanks for all the good input and guidance everyone!
xenophile is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 14, 19, 10:00 pm
  #15  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 80,271
Are we sure that wife won't be asked to report to AF ticket office regarding the new ticket? Personally, I'd be holding breath until the flights have all been successfully flown.
Goldorak and irishguy28 like this.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread