Problem booking a ticket with AA gift cards

 

Old Jan 29, 14, 10:51 am
  #1  
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Problem booking a ticket with AA gift cards

I have a trip I'm taking with my family next month. In December, I booked award travel for my wife and daughter, but I was going to use AA gift cards (from my AMEX Plat ) to book mine normally. I thought I booked both...it did take a little extra work with booking segments individually to get the times and MilesAAver amounts I was looking for.

I received a call yesterday afternoon that one of the 4 gift cards I used had zero balance. I was told that I needed to pay immediately or lose my reservation. I told them I need to investigate the situation -- I thought I verified the balance before using it as payment. They told me I would need to book it by the end of the day. I tried reaching out to AA gift card cust service & couldn't reach a live person and my emails did not receive a response. I had also deleted the emails with the valid gift card information after I thought I had successfully booked the flight.

I called back to explain the situation and ask for another day to get the information back from the gift card group. The supervisor was argumentative and seemed insulted that I had this itinerary on hold for 30+ days. She told me with my travel volume I should have seen that I didn't receive a email confirmation and known something was wrong. She refused to give me an extra day and was not able to pull up the valid GC's (not sure if it was real or her attitude). At this point, it was 10 till midnight and in order to keep the flight at the lower rate, I had to pay for it entirely on my credit card or pay an extra $100 in the new fare.

Unfortunately, I'm hazy on the gift card information since it was a month ago and I've since deleted many emails on it. It is possible that I used a GC that has already been liquidated, but I was pretty sure I double checked the balance.

I have a couple of questions here:
1. How was the record locator saved if they didn't have full payment?
2. Wouldn't the system verify the GC balance at the point of sale?
3. Was the extra day request unreasonable? The flight is 2 1/2 weeks out
Ron Mexico is offline  
Old Jan 29, 14, 12:14 pm
  #2  
brp
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Originally Posted by Ron Mexico View Post
1. How was the record locator saved if they didn't have full payment?
2. Wouldn't the system verify the GC balance at the point of sale?
For the answer to #1, see answer to #2.

2. No, the system does not do that. The validity/value is checked after-the-fact. I believe that the even suggest holding on to the gift card information until after ticketing is completed successfully, for just this reason.

Lacking the information that you had originally received regarding the gift card (which would allow easy checking of the current value via AA.com), this is going to be difficult to resolve.

Cheers.
brp is offline  
Old Jan 29, 14, 2:00 pm
  #3  
 
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Originally Posted by Ron Mexico View Post
I received a call yesterday afternoon that one of the 4 gift cards I used had zero balance.

I called back to explain the situation and ask for another day to get the information back from the gift card group.
When you say "gift card group" does this mean you bought the AA Gift Cards from a 3rd party, i.e. gift card reseller/discounter, or directly from AA?

I ask because I've had issues with AA gift cards purchased from a gift card reseller that had a $0 balance on them.

If this is the case [buying discounted gift cards from a reseller], there is little that can be done when AA says either pay up or lose your ticket, besides having to eat the difference and obtain a refund from the gift card reseller.

At least you had the option of being able to find out by the end of the day what happened with the gift card, in my case the phone AAgent that called me said that I would need to decide right then and there if I wanted my ticket or not because of the AA gift card with a $0 balance.
Max M is offline  
Old Jan 29, 14, 9:35 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2007
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I know it is frustrating but you can avoid a lot of hassle by paying attention to how the system works.

For example, you may have noticed that when you pay for a ticket online, it goes to "Ticket Pending"; sometime later, that becomes "Ticketed". This means that some processing is done after a payment/order is accepted, to make sure all is well.

When you use a gift card, the system immediately verifies that the card is valid one, but it does not check the available balance. That is done a little bit later.

This is why one of the constant refrains at FT is not to relax until you get a ticket number. Without that, record locator etc don't mean anything. This is true regardless of the mode of payment.
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