Amex Travel IAP Business Booked In Premium Econ?

Old Sep 18, 19, 3:24 pm
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Amex Travel IAP Business Booked In Premium Econ?

Hi,

Not sure where to post it so I am posting it here.. I searched for some (older) posts complaining about Amex Travel and they were here.

So the story is I booked a business round trip on Delta with Amex Travel using the Platinum card's International Airline Program benefit. Was about 600 USD cheaper. I have booked this trip many times in the past by calling in to Platinum Travel, always all first class for domestic and Delta One for the international segments.

This year they opened up online booking for IAP (very buggy) but I was able to find the desired segment for what I consider a deal. Booked it in a hurry. Then realized the last leg on my return segment was on Delta One + Comfort+ instead of First. Interestingly the outbound portion of my trip is on First then Delta One as it should be.

Then I check on Amex's website, and discovered that if I selected a later flight for the domestic leg of my return trip it would be on First.... Even though the Delta One portion is the same... Even for the SAME price........... So you basically have to check before you book to see if it is totally on First/Delta One or Comfort+ is mixed in. (You are always booked in First when booking Delta One trips on Delta's website.)

Then the worst part happened. I called Amex Travel to see if they could correct this, the agent who answered my call knows nothing about Delta and claims I brought business class ticket and was UPGRADED to Delta One which is first class???? And I needed to book a first class round trip for my domestic legs to be on first..... I pointed out my outbound domestic leg is on first and she told me it was a free upgrade....????

I thought about canceling and rebooking but Amex has raised the price after my booking... Even though it shows IAP price when selecting the price but for check out the price will be raised....

So anyone knows if there is anyway to file complaint with Amex Travel? Or anyway to talk to someone at Amex Travel who knows Delta's naming schemes? And if you are booking online for IAP please double check....
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Old Sep 18, 19, 4:06 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by deathwatch View Post
(You are always booked in First when booking Delta One trips on Delta's website.).
Perhaps not. This POST from 2017 includes an example of a Premium Select itinerary with the domestic portion in Economy because the required fare bucket was not available in First at the time. This would explain why you see domestic First on some flights, but not others, on the same day. This isn't Amex Travel, it's supply/demand.

In that example it sounds as if Delta was open to the possibility of moving the passenger into First if the bucket opened up, but they may not be willing to touch an agency booking.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 4:18 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Perhaps not. This POST from 2017 includes an example of a Premium Select itinerary with the domestic portion in Economy because the required fare bucket was not available in First at the time. This would explain why you see domestic First on some flights, but not others, on the same day. This isn't Amex Travel, it's supply/demand.

In that example it sounds as if Delta was open to the possibility of moving the passenger into First if the bucket opened up, but they may not be willing to touch an agency booking.
Yes that might be the case. However before I searched on Amex's website and made the booking I check on Delta's and it was the same price (with first class) as the later flights (which if i booked with Amex will be first as well.) And that on my current reservation on Delta's website only 1 of the first class seat is taken (it is in January). Delta is also willing to sell me an upgrade to first class for 211.5 USD.

I messaged Delta about this, they told me there is nothing they can do...
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Old Sep 18, 19, 4:27 pm
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Hmm, I just searched again on Amex Travel's website in the hope of finding a chance to rebook for the same price. (I booked it for 4311 USD)

Now the price is increased to 4991 USD(with IAP) (interestingly the same as Delta's website before I made the booking) and now Delta's website is asking for 5801. Though now Amex's fare does include first class on the last leg.

So I guess the thing with Amex Travel IAP is if the fare is too good they might nickel and dime you by reducing the fare class on the domestic leg? Don't know if it would have made a difference if I called to make the booking but guess I will try it next time.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 5:18 pm
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Originally Posted by deathwatch View Post
Hmm, I just searched again on Amex Travel's website in the hope of finding a chance to rebook for the same price. (I booked it for 4311 USD)

Now the price is increased to 4991 USD(with IAP) (interestingly the same as Delta's website before I made the booking) and now Delta's website is asking for 5801. Though now Amex's fare does include first class on the last leg.

So I guess the thing with Amex Travel IAP is if the fare is too good they might nickel and dime you by reducing the fare class on the domestic leg? Don't know if it would have made a difference if I called to make the booking but guess I will try it next time.
I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a blanket nickel-and-dime decision, I saved 10% off of a Delta.com flight all in D1 a few months ago. I've also seen the IAP online fares bounce around, for a few days I couldn't book at the rate i wanted but it did eventually come back.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 5:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Gig103 View Post
I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a blanket nickel-and-dime decision, I saved 10% off of a Delta.com flight all in D1 a few months ago. I've also seen the IAP online fares bounce around, for a few days I couldn't book at the rate i wanted but it did eventually come back.
Yes I agree IAP is pretty good value. I always save around 10-14% flying Delta with IAP. And this is the first time it happened to me (comfort+ instead of first.) All other dates around what I booked cost around 7k USD so I expect 5-6k even with IAP... I still got a good deal in the end.

It just seems that the website is very buggy at the moment. Not just this comfort+ thing but also what you said, IAP rate isn't always available online. I searched a lot of date and finally found this one that is both cheap and available with IAP online.

Based on my past experience I always get IAP rate when calling in. Maybe for a smaller discount (worst is around 5%) but always something. (I tend to save a few potential flights and ask them to check for me.) But with this new website for some dates there is just no IAP rate...

EDIT: Funniest thing, I searched again and changed my return dates. It seems my date is the only one that Amex is willing to give IAP rate from PVG to BOS via DTW. The other dates (say Jan 11) Amex would only allow MU PVG-NRT, DL NRT-DTW-BOS. Or (Jan 10) MU PVG-PEK, DL PEK-DTW-BOS. Not what I always book which is PVG-DTW/SEA-BOS

Last edited by deathwatch; Sep 18, 19 at 5:40 pm
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Old Sep 18, 19, 5:59 pm
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You should consider calling in, because the website results are incomplete (not all carriers permit it). And who knows, maybe a different routing option is available if you feed flight numbers to the phone rep?

I have called before and been given the same price as Google Flights, so maybe your dates/routes were just lucky?

I will though take to heart the advice to read carefully if Amex is willing to mix fares like that. I have less trust in AmexTravel.com (aka Expedia) than I do in Platinum Travel Services and have considered going back to the $39 fee in the future for peace of mind.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 8:07 pm
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Originally Posted by deathwatch View Post
.....only 1 of the first class seat is taken....

Looking at seat reservations tell us little about ticket sales, and we do not know if more than one seat in the required bucket is typically offered. Do you have an ExpertFlyer subscription (or similar) to see if seats in "G" class are available on the domestic segment?
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Old Sep 19, 19, 7:20 am
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Originally Posted by deathwatch View Post
Hmm, I just searched again on Amex Travel's website in the hope of finding a chance to rebook for the same price. (I booked it for 4311 USD)

Now the price is increased to 4991 USD(with IAP) (interestingly the same as Delta's website before I made the booking) and now Delta's website is asking for 5801. Though now Amex's fare does include first class on the last leg.

So I guess the thing with Amex Travel IAP is if the fare is too good they might nickel and dime you by reducing the fare class on the domestic leg? Don't know if it would have made a difference if I called to make the booking but guess I will try it next time.
If you provide your route, fare code(s) and booking classes, someone here might be able to help you. Depending on the route, I suspect that you have a (deep) discount RT Z or I fare. These book into FC for domestic connecting flights but most fare rules say that they can only book into lower inventory classes in FC. [DL has changed their fare/booking classes recently, but in the past a Z fare usually required G domestic FC inventory, while an I ticket required A, etc.] So if FC is full on your flight or if only FULL F seats remain, you will be assigned a seat in coach (unless the fare rules say C+). I don't believe that AmEx broke the fare to sell you a mixed class itinerary, especially since doing so would generally make the ticket more expensive, but if you find the fare construction on your receipt, you can check this.

With IAP or more generally PTS/CTS, if you get an phone agent who doesn't know what he/she is doing, either ask for a supervisor or HUCA.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 7:50 am
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I had this happen on an AA flight where the 2nd leg was in coach, not first. I did not notice until later, but fortunately within 24 hours so I cancelled and re-booked.

My experience is that the AMEX travel agents are not that great, YMMV.

that said, it is a great discount, when it works.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 8:57 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If you provide your route, fare code(s) and booking classes, someone here might be able to help you. Depending on the route, I suspect that you have a (deep) discount RT Z or I fare. These book into FC for domestic connecting flights but most fare rules say that they can only book into lower inventory classes in FC. [DL has changed their fare/booking classes recently, but in the past a Z fare usually required G domestic FC inventory, while an I ticket required A, etc.] So if FC is full on your flight or if only FULL F seats remain, you will be assigned a seat in coach (unless the fare rules say C+). I don't believe that AmEx broke the fare to sell you a mixed class itinerary, especially since doing so would generally make the ticket more expensive, but if you find the fare construction on your receipt, you can check this.
Usually what happens in that case is the fare bumps up to the higher business class fare that allows booking in a higher domestic FC inventory. I suppose a good agent could over-ride, and book the cheaper BC fare with a voluntary downgrade on the coach segment. So Amex may have been doing the OP a favor!
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Old Sep 24, 19, 11:29 am
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Hmm, Delta emailed me back. (I chatted online and was told no help was possible.) And told me "I did look at your reservation and see that currently there is an upgrade to first on your Detroit to Boston flight for $111.50 or 10,200 miles. There is also an upgrade available using one of your Regional certificates. If you would like to upgrade using one of these methods, give us a call at the Platinum Desk, 1-800-xxx-xxxx, and an agent will be happy to assist you. Keep in mind we cannot guarantee availability until it's purchased."

And I checked online and it did dropped from 200 to 100 USD (for the upgrade.) I guess I will give Delta a call to see if I can use my Regional cert. They actually expire this year and the flight is next year... Not sure if it would work.. But I guess worth a call.

Originally Posted by mia View Post
Looking at seat reservations tell us little about ticket sales, and we do not know if more than one seat in the required bucket is typically offered. Do you have an ExpertFlyer subscription (or similar) to see if seats in "G" class are available on the domestic segment?
I don't... Because I usually can find flight awards availability myself. But I might get one to check.

I don't think it is very likely that a January flight from DTW to BOS is packed already though.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If you provide your route, fare code(s) and booking classes, someone here might be able to help you. Depending on the route, I suspect that you have a (deep) discount RT Z or I fare. These book into FC for domestic connecting flights but most fare rules say that they can only book into lower inventory classes in FC. [DL has changed their fare/booking classes recently, but in the past a Z fare usually required G domestic FC inventory, while an I ticket required A, etc.] So if FC is full on your flight or if only FULL F seats remain, you will be assigned a seat in coach (unless the fare rules say C+). I don't believe that AmEx broke the fare to sell you a mixed class itinerary, especially since doing so would generally make the ticket more expensive, but if you find the fare construction on your receipt, you can check this.

With IAP or more generally PTS/CTS, if you get an phone agent who doesn't know what he/she is doing, either ask for a supervisor or HUCA.
I used the website... So not a phone agent's fault. I used to use phone and they always worked for me.

I only have a receipt from Amex, not from Delta, and it doesn't include fare codes. I can only see I am booked in First-Business, Business-Premium Econ. On delta's app I can see I am in I-I, Z-W. I think for my last flight on the same route this summer I was booked in all I.

Last edited by mia; Sep 24, 19 at 12:06 pm Reason: Consolidate consecutive replies
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Old Sep 24, 19, 11:40 am
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Originally Posted by deathwatch View Post
I don't... Because I usually can find flight awards availability myself. But I might get one to check.

I don't think it is very likely that a January flight from DTW to BOS is packed already though.
It could be if there's a huge convention/conference in Boston or some important special event such as pro sports.

Originally Posted by deathwatch View Post
I used the website... So not a phone agent's fault. I used to use phone and they always worked for me.

I only have a receipt from Amex, not from Delta, and it doesn't include fare codes. I can only see I am booked in First-Business, Business-Premium Econ. On delta's app I can see I am in I-I, Z-W. I think for my last flight on the same route this summer I was booked in all I.
For DL flights/fares, I class is dicount business class while Z is deep discount business class. IIRC W is either unrestricted last seat availability FULL genuine Premium Economy (which DL calls Premium Select) or it's ComfortPlus (coach seats with a bit more legroom and a few other minor perks).

PS is only currently available on a few (all international?) routes and on certain widebody aircraft, so you should look carefully at seat maps for your W segment (or tell us the route, aircraft type, and other details).

Last edited by mia; Sep 24, 19 at 12:06 pm Reason: Consolidate consecutive replies
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Old Sep 24, 19, 11:48 am
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Oops. Called in, can't use this year's cert for next year. Guess I will have to either pay for it now or wait for next year when I hit plat again....

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
For DL flights/fares, I class is dicount business class while Z is deep discount business class. IIRC W is either unrestricted last seat availability FULL genuine Premium Economy (which DL calls Premium Select) or it's ComfortPlus (coach seats with a bit more legroom and a few other minor perks).

PS is only currently available on a few (all international?) routes and on certain widebody aircraft, so you should look carefully at seat maps for your W segment (or tell us the route, aircraft type, and other details).
My last flight (that one in W) is DTW-BOS on A320... No way it is the premium select. It is comfort+....

If you guys are curious my last leg is on DL988 DTW-BOS. On Delta's website there are 3 more tickets in Z available for 214.3 USD. And even basic is available for 68 USD. I don't think 1. there is a huge event in Boston on that date 2. I don't think the discount tickets are sold out...

Last edited by mia; Sep 24, 19 at 12:07 pm Reason: Consolidate consecutive replies
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Old Sep 24, 19, 12:01 pm
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Originally Posted by deathwatch View Post
If you guys are curious my last leg is on DL988 DTW-BOS. On Delta's website there are 3 more tickets in Z available for 214.3 USD. And even basic is available for 68 USD. I don't think 1. there is a huge event in Boston on that date 2. I don't think the discount tickets are sold out...
Look at your receipt. If they broke the fare, you have a C+ ticket for that segment, but if it's a through fare, it should be possible to get one of those Z seats as you have paid for business/first class but have a coach seat assigned. Also if they broke the fare, this might have made the ticket more expensive, so IMO this is something that AmEx should fix.

However, this could be a married segment availability issue too, so I might be tempted to call DL first and ask them to look at the ticket carefully, even though you'll probably have to call AmEx PTS/CTS to get it fixed (or maybe pay DL $50 or so to take over the ticket since it was issued by a travel agent, but I'm not sure whether DL can touch IAP tickets before the day of departure).
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