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Tour operator says they will redeem their miles for my flights, should I be worried?

Tour operator says they will redeem their miles for my flights, should I be worried?

Old Jun 22, 2023, 8:56 pm
  #1  
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Tour operator says they will redeem their miles for my flights, should I be worried?

I organize toirs for a couple not for profit organizations on a volunteer basis. My flights are worked in to the participants tour package. Always in the past the tour company has reimbursed me for flights, up to a set amount, and I make my own arrangements earning miles on whichever flight I decide to take. On a tour coming up to the Galapagos this tour agent who I haven’t worked with before surprised me by telling me they were planning on using their miles for my flight. I was also told they are Plainum with AA so I supposedly can get the preferred seats.

Obviously I would prefer to be in charge of my own flight arrangements and be reimbursed and get the miles in the flight myself. Other than this, are there any drawbacks to having them use miles for my flight? For instance, if there was a problem enroute I couldn’t get into their account and make changes unless they give me their account number and password. Other thoughts?

Last edited by ctkathy; Jun 22, 2023 at 9:35 pm
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Old Jun 22, 2023, 9:10 pm
  #2  
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There are people/organisations that "buy" ff miles and then "sell" for award flights. Is not in accordance with ffp t&c's

But your TA may be genuine. To me this is very strange for a commercial tour operator, who should have many customers.
Making changes to an award fight is hard in most cases.
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Old Jun 22, 2023, 9:18 pm
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If you don't know this person who is offering to use their miles for you, it is screaming "scam" to me.
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Old Jun 22, 2023, 9:27 pm
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Originally Posted by ctkathy
I was also told they are Plainum with AA so I supposedly can get the preferred seats.
That's definitely not how it works with AA, if you don't have status yourself then you won't be able to get preferred seats for no charge, the status of the person booking the ticket has no bearing here.

While I'm not sure I'd classify this as a scam as opposed to a tour operator just being extremely frugal, I would probably push back and let them know you want to be in charge of your own ticket and would prefer to just be reimbursed in $$.
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Old Jun 22, 2023, 9:29 pm
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey
While I'm not sure I'd classify this as a scam as opposed to a tour operator just being extremely frugal, I would probably push back and let them know you want to be in charge of your own ticket and would prefer to just be reimbursed in $$.
Even if not a scam, it's in violation of the T&Cs I think. I'm assuming this tour operator is being compensated and not gifting the mileage tickets.

I would not do this.
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Old Jun 22, 2023, 9:36 pm
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Originally Posted by GNRMatt
If you don't know this person who is offering to use their miles for you, it is screaming "scam" to me.

I do know this person.
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Old Jun 22, 2023, 9:41 pm
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Is the tour agent (obtaining the ticket with miles) traveling with you on the tour?
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Old Jun 22, 2023, 9:54 pm
  #8  
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No. Not traveling with me.

Originally Posted by JJeffrey
That's definitely not how it works with AA, if you don't have status yourself then you won't be able to get preferred seats for no charge, the status of the person booking the ticket has no bearing here.

While I'm not sure I'd classify this as a scam as opposed to a tour operator just being extremely frugal, I would probably push back and let them know you want to be in charge of your own ticket and would prefer to just be reimbursed in $$.

thank you. Ill be traveling with my husband who is Platinum but we wont be on the same record locator. So I will have to pay for my preferred seats?

Last edited by Microwave; Jun 23, 2023 at 4:24 am Reason: Merged consecutive posts for readability
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Old Jun 22, 2023, 10:00 pm
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Originally Posted by ctkathy
thank you. Ill be traveling with my husband who is Platinum but we wont be on the same record locator. So I will have to pay for my preferred seats?
No, your husband can call AA after everything is booked and get you seated next to him in MCE or preferred seats for no charge.
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Old Jun 23, 2023, 4:27 am
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Originally Posted by Antarius
Even if not a scam, it's in violation of the T&Cs I think. I'm assuming this tour operator is being compensated and not gifting the mileage tickets.
Bingo. You're paying the tour agent to arrange travel, in exchange the agent is redeeming miles for your ticket. Even if you trust this person enough not to book the flight and then cancel it for a mileage refund later (which the tour operator in this case would absolutely be allowed to do, and you'd have no recourse or avenue for redress through AA), if AA were to get wind of this little operation, you could find that AA have cancelled your tickets as their sale to you contravenes AA's frequent flyer programme's rules. This seems like way too much risk for very little upside.
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Old Jun 23, 2023, 5:43 am
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Originally Posted by Antarius
Even if not a scam, it's in violation of the T&Cs I think. I'm assuming this tour operator is being compensated and not gifting the mileage tickets.

I would not do this.
Agreed. The ticket runs the risk of being cancelled. Its basically given instead of some other type of compensation which I believe is a violation of the T&Cs.
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Old Jun 23, 2023, 5:53 am
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No way I would do this. Run fast. Run now.
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Old Jun 23, 2023, 6:17 am
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If this "Tour Operator" is a Legit, Licensed/ Credentialed Travel Agent, I wouldn't think they would want to risk their relationship with AA over the price of a ticket? what they are offering is basically selling miles RT
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Old Jun 23, 2023, 8:53 am
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Just to double check -- are you sure they literally meant "miles"? I've had to use clients earned "certificates" (electronic or otherwise, booked by them) for billable travel many times, that the nonprofit earned from their group travel. That's perfectly legal and legit, and common with nonprofits that try to keep travel costs minimal. (Sucks for the traveler though, as they're still free tickets.) Totally agree with the other responses though if they literally mean miles -- miles don't work like that.
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Old Jun 23, 2023, 9:04 am
  #15  
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Easy response - tell them you're not interested in flying on someone else's award tickets and with to earn your own points as 99% of people do when traveling on behalf of a business/organization.

Side note - have they actually looked at how many of "their" miles they would have to spend if they were to fly you that way?
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