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Lifemiles serious booking problems - Beware

Lifemiles serious booking problems - Beware

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Old Aug 2, 18, 2:27 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: Tokyoite
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Please do your homework before buying Lifemiles. It is what it is... for some that's useful, for others it's not.

Biggest complaints are about
- mixed class bookings are available but now many of the suitable connections dont show
- not being able to book anything that isn't available online (there are work-arounds, see screenshot method below)
- the quality of the call center (English speaking agents are scarce, you might get thrown in a loop with call transfers within their call center)
- no stopovers (>24H) or open jaws, but you can book one way awards
- no reservations on Certain subsidiaries of Star Alliance carriers (Lufthansa Cityline, Germanwings)

Problems with ticketing / lack of confirmation screen or email
- write down the confirmation number shown on the screen after confirming your purchase.
check here: http://serviciosenlinea.avianca.com/...doReserva.aspx

Sometimes, even if you cannot see the PNR, the record may have been created, so better to call them and give them flight details you were trying to book. They can find the PNR from those details.
- ticketing usually takes place within 10-15 min of booking
- but it may also take up to 2 days
- if miles have been deducted from your account and a temporary authorization has been placed on your CC, you're probably fine even if you did not see a confirmation screen
- if no e-ticket number is visible on checkmytrip.com after two days, you should contact LifeMiles. You can expedite the ticketing by emailing with your booking reference to: [email protected] after you have booked, especially if you have booked last minute flights, and need ticketing straight away

Screenshot method.
So, on a date you are looking for in the future, there is availability for LAX-NRT and NRT-BKK. But not LAX-NRT-BKK.
It may be a case of the LM system not offering the through connection.

Take three screen shots - two 'available' screen shots for LAX-NRT and NRT-BKK and the 'not available' screen for LAX-BKK.
Send them all off with a scan of your passport page (PDF) and LM will make the booking manually for you.

Send to these two email addresses, and CC yourself (just for your records)
[email protected]
[email protected]

Sample email:
====
Email topic: Urgent request for booking Lifemiles Award
====
Dear Sirs,

I have tried several times, over several days, but the following itinerary does not show on the website.
Please see the three attached screenshots I took just now.
Please do the manual booking First Class/Business class for xx,000 miles. (*Know how many miles the whole award should cost-here, to avoid surprises once ticketed)

The availability is only 1 seat for this date, so please process this request urgently before it is gone.

Los Angeles (LAX) - Bangkok (BKK)
Saturday August 11th 2018
NH 175 connecting to NH 807
(*Provide the specific flight numbers you want, to avoid surprises once ticketed)

My passport copy (Number xxxx, expiry 20xx/xx/xx, Nationality xxx) is attached in this email.

LifeMiles Number: xxx
First Name: xxx
Last name: xxx
Date of Birth: Month, date, year
Gender: Male/Female
Email: xxxx
Phone Number: +1-xxxx

Regards,
XXX
=========
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Old Nov 23, 18, 4:07 pm
  #1036  
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: SDF
Programs: former Olympic Airways Gold (yeah - still proud of that!)
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Originally Posted by snowymt View Post
I called twice today - no luck. There is no reservation attached under my LifeMiles account. I am bummed, there's a second option open but it requires us to stay overnight before reaching final destination. Any ideas if/when new availability may pop up? (this is for July - SIN to LAX or ORD) I'm debating if I should book what I can now to guarantee our flight and maybe just pay a change fee if a better itinerary opens up.
Sometimes after clicking the payment button a screen will appear with the booking reference... thatís the time to take a screen print in case the payment fails and you need the call centre to try and take manual payment.

Otherwise if thereís no PNR to work from the success rate of finding a Ďmissingí booking can be very low (if at all).

I donít believe the change fee can be used for what you need. Change is only allowed to the date IIRC. Anything else... like a change of route (including transits) or airlines will incur the cancellation fee, and youíll need to rebook.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 2:57 pm
  #1037  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: AUS
Posts: 234
Update - dates became available again, not for my original date but for the day after (my second try that also disappeared) so I went for it. Booking went through smoothly and I made sure to screenshot every page just in case like you all suggested. Super excited to fly Eva Business class. Thanks for all the support here while I was trying to figure it out!

Last edited by snowymt; Nov 24, 18 at 3:02 pm
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Old Nov 24, 18, 5:35 pm
  #1038  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Programs: UA, AS
Posts: 859
Originally Posted by demue View Post
Now here I was recalling pretty decent (never stellar) availability on NH between SIN-NRT/HND-SIN in past years, at least if booking further out. I just went through the entire 350+ days using Smart Search as well as Carrier defaulted to NH and there are a total of ZERO business class seats even for 1 pax. WTH happened? Did others observe that too? Even Eco seats are somewhat scarce (not that I would want to redeem for those). Am I doing something wrong?

I was pondering buying a new stash of miles during current sale, but availability with different (more desirable) carriers seems to be getting harder and harder to find unless one can chance on last minute availability under 14days out from travel, YMMV.
For SIN-TYO there definitely is something going on. I'm not sure if it is a block, a bug, or what. Carrier NH does not seem to find anything to NRT and you cannot select TYO in the NH search. The best of the bad options seems to be using the smart search. Using the default options smart search does not find any Biz SIN-TYO but I can find some connecting itins by changing the search time to 6PM or 9PM you can sometimes pick up later connecting flights in Biz. For example, on Sept. 18, 2019 using Smart Search SIN-TYO with a time search of 6PM or 9PM I see a couple of connecting Biz itineraries later in the day.

I was also able to find some SIN-TYO J flights by searching further on, such as SIN-SFO or SIN-YVR. If I really wanted it I might try booking out a SIN-YVR or SIN-SFO or SIN-xxx connecting through TYO and then calling in to drop the segement beyond TYO. Would it work? I do not know. But it might be worth a try.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 6:55 pm
  #1039  
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Originally Posted by skimthetrees View Post
For SIN-TYO there definitely is something going on. I'm not sure if it is a block, a bug, or what. Carrier NH does not seem to find anything to NRT and you cannot select TYO in the NH search. The best of the bad options seems to be using the smart search. Using the default options smart search does not find any Biz SIN-TYO but I can find some connecting itins by changing the search time to 6PM or 9PM you can sometimes pick up later connecting flights in Biz. For example, on Sept. 18, 2019 using Smart Search SIN-TYO with a time search of 6PM or 9PM I see a couple of connecting Biz itineraries later in the day.

I was also able to find some SIN-TYO J flights by searching further on, such as SIN-SFO or SIN-YVR. If I really wanted it I might try booking out a SIN-YVR or SIN-SFO or SIN-xxx connecting through TYO and then calling in to drop the segement beyond TYO. Would it work? I do not know. But it might be worth a try.
It might work... but... could be expensive or risky. How would dropping the segment be handled? Likely a cancellation, so $200. And, the call centre can only book what we see on line... so trying to reissue the ticket without the lnward sector may not be possible (ie, if they canít see that flight alone).
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Old Nov 25, 18, 1:32 pm
  #1040  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Programs: UA, AS
Posts: 859
Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF View Post


It might work... but... could be expensive or risky. How would dropping the segment be handled? Likely a cancellation, so $200. And, the call centre can only book what we see on line... so trying to reissue the ticket without the lnward sector may not be possible (ie, if they canít see that flight alone).
With any decent airline (not sure that applies here) you would not cancel the ticket you would change the ticket to drop a segment. For most US airlines you can do a change or cancellation for free within 24 hours of purchasing a ticket. For Lifemiles it is not clear to me whether you could get a free change within 24 hours. You could get a free cancellation if booked from the US but as you mention once a cancellation happens you will not be able to get the segment you want back. You want a change and it is not specified in the Avianca policy whether they would do the change for free within 24 hours which probably means they would not. In which case to get this to work you may have to pay the $150 change fee. It is probably not worth pursuing for most.

When you reserve or purchase a ticket at any sales office, call center or through Avianca.com in the United States you may cancel your purchase without a penalty and receive a full refund.

You must meet the following conditions:
  • The cancellation must be requested within 24 hours of the purchase.
  • The reservation must be made 7 days (or more) prior to the date of the flight.
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Old Nov 25, 18, 2:39 pm
  #1041  
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Originally Posted by skimthetrees View Post
With any decent airline (not sure that applies here) you would not cancel the ticket you would change the ticket to drop a segment. For most US airlines you can do a change or cancellation for free within 24 hours of purchasing a ticket. For Lifemiles it is not clear to me whether you could get a free change within 24 hours. You could get a free cancellation if booked from the US but as you mention once a cancellation happens you will not be able to get the segment you want back. You want a change and it is not specified in the Avianca policy whether they would do the change for free within 24 hours which probably means they would not. In which case to get this to work you may have to pay the $150 change fee. It is probably not worth pursuing for most.
The 24-hour rule might work. But that would be for cancellations.

The rebooking would then be the hard part as the call centre can only book what we see (supposedly).

The LM terms and conditions are here: https://www.lifemiles.com/eng/abo/wnb/wnbtercond.aspx

Date changes only are permitted (as well as class of service if necessary). But changes to route, or incorporating a stopover, or changes to carrier are not permitted.
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Old Nov 25, 18, 3:22 pm
  #1042  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: AUS
Programs: AA Gold 1MM, SPG Gold, HH Gold, Hertz Gold, National Exec
Posts: 147
Originally Posted by Tokyoite View Post
using firefox and developer tools, there are deep ways to manually change the "FRA" in the menu to "LEJ" ,
after selecting FRA and before clicking on search. It works (it was part of the "Lifemiles trick it" body of knowledge)
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/..._the_Inspector
Hi, Could you give me a little more guidance on how to do this? Here of via PM.

I'm looking for LM to pull up AUS-FRA on LH, which is a new flight starting in May 2019. UA and EF show plenty of availability, but LM doesn't even allow AUS as a valid origin when limiting search to "Lufthansa."

Hoping that I can fake it out to show me the flight.
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Old Nov 25, 18, 5:38 pm
  #1043  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Programs: United MileagePlus Platinum
Posts: 62
Friends - hoping you can help with this one. I have booked ICN-JFK on OZ F and ORD-NAR on NH F. I have received confirmation emails on both flights.

My problem is, when I try inputting the confirmation number into the ticket status drop down on the Avianca website, I receive the following message:

We cannot process your request at this time. Please try again. (3002)
  • Your confirmation request could not be processed because the system is already processing a request from you. If you were trying to confirm a booking, please review your trip list to check whether your trip has been confirmed (3002)

Any ideas on why this is occurring? I was able to view it just last week!

Thank you!
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Old Nov 25, 18, 5:49 pm
  #1044  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Programs: United MileagePlus Platinum
Posts: 62
quick update - NH worked when I tried the Avianca reservation number. This is a good start.
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Old Nov 25, 18, 7:53 pm
  #1045  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: SIN (LEJ once a year)
Programs: A3*S, LH, SQ, BA, IHG Spire AMB, HH Gold, Marriot Silver
Posts: 4,726
This is not an issue caused by LM. The reservation (PNR) reference you received also works for OZ as they also use Amadeus Altea reservation system like AV and NH and many others. For OZ there is an entire thread in that forum which talks about issues with assigning seats on OZ and offers certain tricks / workarounds which hopefully yield the desired results for you. Go check it out. YMMV.
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Old Nov 25, 18, 8:39 pm
  #1046  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Programs: United MileagePlus Platinum
Posts: 62
Thank you for the help - I have worked around it and figured it out!
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Old Nov 26, 18, 9:14 am
  #1047  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Programs: UA, AS
Posts: 859
Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF View Post
The 24-hour rule might work. But that would be for cancellations.

The rebooking would then be the hard part as the call centre can only book what we see (supposedly).

The LM terms and conditions are here: https://www.lifemiles.com/eng/abo/wnb/wnbtercond.aspx

Date changes only are permitted (as well as class of service if necessary). But changes to route, or incorporating a stopover, or changes to carrier are not permitted.
Thinking more about it I think the better strategy would be to pull up the itin SIN-YVR/SFO through TYO through a smart search and attempt a screenshot method to book SIN-TYO. Either it works or it does not but there are no extra fees involved to change or cancel if they do not ticket it.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 3:33 pm
  #1048  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: IAD/DCA
Programs: HH Diamond, VS Silver, SPG Gold
Posts: 948
I haven't booked with LM in a couple years, but tried to book biz IAD-VIE on OS. Non-stop RT flight. Got to the end and got the "session timed out" error (I think, my Spanish is a little rusty). Been a couple of hours, no miles deducted, no charge to credit card. I tried twice with different browsers. However, the seats seem to have come out of inventory (on LM, UA.com, and Aeroplan). Any thoughts? IIRC there used to be issues booking OS with Lifemiles, but I thought they fixed this.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 4:00 pm
  #1049  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Programs: United MileagePlus Platinum
Posts: 62
Originally Posted by ctbarron View Post
I haven't booked with LM in a couple years, but tried to book biz IAD-VIE on OS. Non-stop RT flight. Got to the end and got the "session timed out" error (I think, my Spanish is a little rusty). Been a couple of hours, no miles deducted, no charge to credit card. I tried twice with different browsers. However, the seats seem to have come out of inventory (on LM, UA.com, and Aeroplan). Any thoughts? IIRC there used to be issues booking OS with Lifemiles, but I thought they fixed this.
Call them up - that happened to me. Need to get lucky with an operator who understands your situation. Essentially, from what I gathered, the flight is currently on hold under your name. Now you just need to tell them you want to pay for using miles + taxes.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 4:58 pm
  #1050  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: IAD/DCA
Programs: HH Diamond, VS Silver, SPG Gold
Posts: 948
Originally Posted by IAH2MEL View Post
Call them up - that happened to me. Need to get lucky with an operator who understands your situation. Essentially, from what I gathered, the flight is currently on hold under your name. Now you just need to tell them you want to pay for using miles + taxes.
Good idea that made sense but didn't work. Got a competent agent too but he couldn't find anything under my LM#. I wonder how long before (if?) the seats go back into inventory. Or if I owe the community at large an apology for nuking a couple...
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