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Lifemiles serious booking problems - Beware (from January 2022 onwards)

Old Jan 17, 2022, 5:12 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: italdesign
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)
- no availability showing at all on the website (try logging out and logging back in)

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.

You need to have 40% of the miles in your account for them to make the booking. On some occasions, credit card points do not transfer over immediately. In such cases also send screenshots of the points being debited from your credit card. In some cases the LM account will immediately show the points transferred in the account activity section. Send a screenshot of that as well.

After a day or two, you will get a reply via email saying the matter has been escalated to an internal area. The next day someone will call you from 305 447 2819 and will process the payment over the phone. You will need to set a PIN which you can do in your online LM account (under the account access section of your online profile).

Send to these two email addresses, and CC yourself (just for your records)
[email protected] (invalid as of July 2022)
[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 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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Lifemiles serious booking problems - Beware (from January 2022 onwards)

Old Aug 11, 2022, 7:45 am
  #286  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: AUS
Programs: BAEC Gold, AA PPro, Hyatt Globalist, Amex Plat
Posts: 7,159
Originally Posted by hp12c
Yeah, it's definitely not the easiest program and certainly not for mile/points newbies. It seems like the best use case for them is when booking something pretty close to departure (but not too close given the datapoints of long ticketing times!) that you're definitely going to fly and that is a very simple itinerary. Beyond that, I'd use United or Aeroplan instead.
I wouldn't say I'm exactly a points and miles "newbie" and honestly, the existence of this very thread and the fact that it gets a new thread every calendar year implies its not exactly easy for even "old timers" to utilize. I don't mind something being "hard" as long as it works and its consistent, but LM seems to be mostly just hard...

Originally Posted by hp12c
The bloggers who constantly post about LM sales/bonuses are doing their readers a complete disservice by failing to mention the numerous pitfalls and difficulties of the LM program.
In general, I agree, but alas, that is what bloggers do and they do it for many, many other things besides LM. Anyone in this game should maintain situational awareness around conflicts of interest and remember the old adage, "if something sounds to good to be true... it probably is."

Regards
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scubadu is offline  
Old Aug 11, 2022, 12:23 pm
  #287  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Programs: UA, AA Gold, SWA, Lifemiles, Emirates, Amex Plat.
Posts: 180
I have been trying to book award business class CDG to MUC on 9/28/22. It shows availability. I attempt to book and after I input passenger information, the tickets automatically downgrades to an economy ticket while still wanting business class miles. Anyone else encountering this? Suggestions?
Thanks
legallyblond is offline  
Old Aug 11, 2022, 1:18 pm
  #288  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Programs: UA, AS
Posts: 2,417
Originally Posted by legallyblond
I have been trying to book award business class CDG to MUC on 9/28/22. It shows availability. I attempt to book and after I input passenger information, the tickets automatically downgrades to an economy ticket while still wanting business class miles. Anyone else encountering this? Suggestions?
Thanks
I think that is just an error in the description. I would guess you have not actually booked it, right? I suspect that so long as it shows Business Class available in the selection screen and charges the correct Business Class miles that once booked it will show up (at least on the partner website) as Business Class. I would say go ahead and book it. If it really is economy (which I doubt) you should be able to get a refund.
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skimthetrees is offline  
Old Aug 11, 2022, 1:26 pm
  #289  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Programs: UA, AA Gold, SWA, Lifemiles, Emirates, Amex Plat.
Posts: 180
I did not book. My experience has shown that dealing with Lifemiles is a pain regarding an award booking is difficult.
legallyblond is offline  
Old Aug 11, 2022, 1:55 pm
  #290  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Programs: UA, AS
Posts: 2,417
Originally Posted by legallyblond
I did not book. My experience has shown that dealing with Lifemiles is a pain regarding an award booking is difficult.
Yes, it is difficult if you have to call in. In your case you either have to take a leap of faith and book and have a possibility of having to call if it does not work out, or you can bite the bullet and call in to book to get an agent to confirm for you before you book in which case you are committing yourself to a definite call, or you can decide not to book through LifeMiles and avoid any possibility of having to call LifeMiles.

I went through the booking process on your itin up to the point you did and my gut combined with my experience leads me to believe it is an error in the description in this case. You will have to decide what level LifeMiles phone risk you can handle.
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skimthetrees is offline  
Old Aug 11, 2022, 2:06 pm
  #291  
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: AU
Programs: former Olympic Airways Gold (yeah - still proud of that!)
Posts: 14,413
Originally Posted by skimthetrees
I think that is just an error in the description. I would guess you have not actually booked it, right? I suspect that so long as it shows Business Class available in the selection screen and charges the correct Business Class miles that once booked it will show up (at least on the partner website) as Business Class. I would say go ahead and book it. If it really is economy (which I doubt) you should be able to get a refund.
Good point… I made a redemption the other day, long haul BR. booked business but in the summary screen said ‘economy’.

Remade the booking, same outcome.

Took the leap of faith… ticketed and confirmed biz class!

It does seem like a glitch. I would confirm via UA or AC that the biz class seats are real, then go ahead on LM.

TBH I was so happy to have made a redemption, without needing to call, that I forgot to mention the class description error!
LHR/MEL/Europe FF is offline  
Old Aug 11, 2022, 2:15 pm
  #292  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Programs: Marriott Platinum, Hilton Diamond, IHG Platinum
Posts: 3,817
Originally Posted by GUWonder
The most annoying ticketing times I’ve had on mileage tickets are with AA mileage ticket bookings. AV/Lifemiles has been very fast for ticketing my stuff.
AA is my primary redemption program. 90% of the time my int'l award tickets are issued within a few hours, even when the flight is months out. The few times it's taken longer have been either wrong CC info or partner didn't auto-approve the space (but always resolved by the agent when I call).

In my experience if your AA award ticket isn't issued within a day, something is wrong (despite what agents may say) and it's time to call.
italdesign is offline  
Old Aug 11, 2022, 2:37 pm
  #293  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 42
Originally Posted by skimthetrees
Did you first confirm the F availability through other programs? You can't force something out of nothing, but the claim was that if something was there but was simply hidden, you could unhide it and possibly book it.
Yes, I did. I thought it was maybe due to LM behaving weirdly (as usual).
josephs is offline  
Old Aug 11, 2022, 4:07 pm
  #294  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Programs: UA, AS
Posts: 2,417
Originally Posted by josephs
Yes, I did. I thought it was maybe due to LM behaving weirdly (as usual).
Thanks for confirming. Someone else reported a failure after you and yesterday I took the time to check it myself and found that it does not work. It is possible that there is an error in the posted code or LifeMiles could have changed the underlying source. I requested comment from the author so hopefully he will respond and maybe we can get a fix.
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skimthetrees is offline  
Old Aug 11, 2022, 7:30 pm
  #295  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: HNL
Programs: UA Plat, DL Plat, Marriott Lifetime Plat, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 60
I keep trying to buy miles, have tried a large combination of VPNs/browsers and it keeps saying my card is declined even though I clearly know that is not the case (no alerts or any notice of transaction from card issuer). Anyone have this issue and know any technical workarounds besides calling in?
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r_tsunami is offline  
Old Aug 12, 2022, 5:11 pm
  #296  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 1,470
Ready to book. Purchased miles 2 hours ago. Received confirmation email for the purchase. Can see mile purchase with the correct amount in my Account Statement section of the website yet my balance is still 0 and I am unable to book anything while I wait. Are miles no longer posting instantly now or is this just more of the fun we all love with this program?
greendx is offline  
Old Aug 12, 2022, 5:16 pm
  #297  
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Join Date: Mar 2019
Programs: AA EXP; Hyatt Globalist; Hilton Diamond; Marriott Gold
Posts: 724
Originally Posted by scubadu
I wouldn't say I'm exactly a points and miles "newbie" and honestly, the existence of this very thread and the fact that it gets a new thread every calendar year implies its not exactly easy for even "old timers" to utilize. I don't mind something being "hard" as long as it works and its consistent, but LM seems to be mostly just hard...


In general, I agree, but alas, that is what bloggers do and they do it for many, many other things besides LM. Anyone in this game should maintain situational awareness around conflicts of interest and remember the old adage, "if something sounds to good to be true... it probably is."

Regards
Sorry, I wasnt implying that you didnt know what youre doing or that youre a pints/miles newbie. It was just a general comment that LM is definitely not the first place Id steer someone new to the game. And yes, its even a difficult and annoying program for people with lots of experience due to the fact that there seems to be no consistency in terms of rules, availability, and processes.
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hp12c is offline  
Old Aug 12, 2022, 5:19 pm
  #298  
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Join Date: Mar 2019
Programs: AA EXP; Hyatt Globalist; Hilton Diamond; Marriott Gold
Posts: 724
Originally Posted by greendx
Ready to book. Purchased miles 2 hours ago. Received confirmation email for the purchase. Can see mile purchase with the correct amount in my Account Statement section of the website yet my balance is still 0 and I am unable to book anything while I wait. Are miles no longer posting instantly now or is this just more of the fun we all love with this program?

This happened to me when transferring Amex miles a couple months ago. It seems that theres a batch processing that occurs overnight (maybe 1am ET?). You could either wait for that or just not worry about it until tomorrow. But yeah, more LM fun
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hp12c is offline  
Old Aug 12, 2022, 6:43 pm
  #299  
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: AU
Programs: former Olympic Airways Gold (yeah - still proud of that!)
Posts: 14,413
IIRC miles post overnight.
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LHR/MEL/Europe FF is offline  
Old Aug 13, 2022, 1:08 am
  #300  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 1,470
Originally Posted by hp12c
This happened to me when transferring Amex miles a couple months ago. It seems that theres a batch processing that occurs overnight (maybe 1am ET?). You could either wait for that or just not worry about it until tomorrow. But yeah, more LM fun
Not sure the exact time they posted but it ended up happening sometime between 1am and 2am. Luckily my award space was still available
greendx is offline  

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