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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 Sep 11, 2022, 7:13 pm
  #316  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 1,739
Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF
I’ve drained my account! But to be fair, there aren’t many FF programs that allow you to pay for additional miles at 100% bonus. That used to be one of LM’s distinctions.
Aeroplan is my new favorite. They allow buy up at about 1.5cpm (though in fixed quantities). They don't have weekly sales like LM, unfortunately - but availability is orders of magnitude better (and also allow higher redemption options with free cancelation vs lower with a $150 fee). I only get to earn them through a credit card though - looking for more ways.

As far as LM - I've flown an LM booking this summer, and might again shortly. Once that is done - the account will be empty (but I have a bunch of miles on my Citi card that are, realistically, only transferable to LM). So it's a 2step - need to replace the Citi card as well.

P.S. Jinxed it. Saw the flight I wanted become available. Went to book. Errored out going to the payment page. Availability disappeared (I assume my reservation process grabbed it). Will retry if/when it comes back but not hopeful.

Last edited by tr3k; Sep 11, 2022 at 8:02 pm
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Old Sep 11, 2022, 8:48 pm
  #317  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: SIN (LEJ once a year)
Programs: SQ, LH, BA, IHG Diamond AMB, HH Gold, SLH Indulged, Accor Gold, Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 7,903
Did you note the PNR reference? It should generate it and display, but if not, it usually shows at the end of the URL in the web browser when it moves to payment page. YMMV
demue is offline  
Old Sep 11, 2022, 8:55 pm
  #318  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 1,739
Originally Posted by demue
Did you note the PNR reference? It should generate it and display, but if not, it usually shows at the end of the URL in the web browser when it moves to payment page. YMMV
It did not show me the pnr yet at that point, and did not seem to have it in the url (though, admittedly, I did not look too closely). If it did - I'd try to call and book.
As it stands - will see if the flight comes back into inventory. It is available on UA/Aeroplan, so someone will likely book it before then. Oh well.

Just need to find a credit card that earns as much as my Citi but transferable to Aeroplan, and this LM silliness is done.
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Old Sep 13, 2022, 7:51 am
  #319  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 3,798
Originally Posted by tr3k
Aeroplan is my new favorite. They allow buy up at about 1.5cpm (though in fixed quantities). They don't have weekly sales like LM, unfortunately - but availability is orders of magnitude better (and also allow higher redemption options with free cancelation vs lower with a $150 fee). I only get to earn them through a credit card though - looking for more ways.

As far as LM - I've flown an LM booking this summer, and might again shortly. Once that is done - the account will be empty (but I have a bunch of miles on my Citi card that are, realistically, only transferable to LM). So it's a 2step - need to replace the Citi card as well.

P.S. Jinxed it. Saw the flight I wanted become available. Went to book. Errored out going to the payment page. Availability disappeared (I assume my reservation process grabbed it). Will retry if/when it comes back but not hopeful.
Also considering LM alternatives.

Is Aeroplan better than United MP? Don't you have to pay fuel surcharges with Aeroplan though?
iluvdoco is offline  
Old Sep 13, 2022, 8:09 am
  #320  
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Posts: 31,526
Originally Posted by iluvdoco
Also considering LM alternatives.

Is Aeroplan better than United MP? Don't you have to pay fuel surcharges with Aeroplan though?
For a Y flyer like me, UA is much better. AC changed their program last year and stopped YQ, but increased mileage requirements and added a CAD 39 booking for fee for partner awards.
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Old Sep 13, 2022, 8:05 pm
  #321  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 1,739
Originally Posted by iluvdoco
Also considering LM alternatives.

Is Aeroplan better than United MP? Don't you have to pay fuel surcharges with Aeroplan though?
I like Aeroplan more than UA.
1. Lower redemption levels for J (and also for at least *some* Y - although I rarely use award bookings to fly economy). Low taxes, no surcharges. Various lower priced "mixed class" itineraries (though they are preset, unlike LM, and some options are quite ridiculous - "5% of this flight is in business" costs as much as "95% of this flight is in business"). That's my main reason.
Anecdotally, just had to book a somewhat difficult to get flight in Y. UA didn't have it for my dates, and for other dates - 25K miles. Aeroplan - 7.5K miles, but also possible to spend 3.5K miles and pay CAD 140 == USD 90 or so. Actual ticket - USD 350 if you can get it.
2. Choice of award levels - pay more for fully flexible or less (and cancel with a fee of USD 100 or so).
3. Decent IT (def. better than LM, so far about as good as UA for my purposes)
4. Better choice of partners (they have Egyptair and Etihad which UA never has)
5. Can book with miles and money (although only at fixed ratios), miles charged at about 1.5cpm

That said, LM somewhat redeemed itself today.
1. Last minute availability on a route I needed, mixed class (short local hop in Y + TATL in J on a good carrier - 61K miles, vs UA 80K+). Booking worked fine,
charged, ticket issued in a minute.
2. I made an error while booking, picked a connection that was too short.
3. Called LM - amazingly their customer service picks up right away (made several calls, all immediately answered)
4. Unfortunately, they could not just change my ticket. But being within a 24 hour period they could cancel and redeposit the miles right away. There was still availability on the route I wanted.
5. Canceled on the phone, saw miles back in the account right away (and, curiously, the tax + service fee seems to be reversed on my CC, I can see the preauthorization for the charge and the refund, but will see how it goes)
6. My original seat went right back into the inventory (was showing "1 ticket available" before, went up to "2 tickets"). Booked again, still no errors, new ticket issued in a minute. All good.

So, LM still works, sometimes. But it also still has lots of issues. For example, try searching for any flight from JFK to TLV - "impossible airport combination" :/

I'll still use LM sometimes when it makes sense, in particular since my favorite travel credit card earns their miles. But Aeroplan is my preferred program, and I am making an effort to obtain more of their miles.
iluvdoco and mildfrequence like this.

Last edited by tr3k; Sep 14, 2022 at 8:23 am
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Old Sep 13, 2022, 8:37 pm
  #322  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 292
For an Australian, Aeroplan is far better than LifeMiles or MileagePlus due the exchange rate differences.
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Old Sep 16, 2022, 5:41 pm
  #323  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 1,739
Originally Posted by tr3k
It did not show me the pnr yet at that point, and did not seem to have it in the url (though, admittedly, I did not look too closely). If it did - I'd try to call and book.
As it stands - will see if the flight comes back into inventory. It is available on UA/Aeroplan, so someone will likely book it before then. Oh well.

Just need to find a credit card that earns as much as my Citi but transferable to Aeroplan, and this LM silliness is done.
To follow up on this - the next day I got a call from the Avianca call center (went to VM) and at the same time an itenerary landed in my mailbox, with a note stating I can pay for it within 3 days. So - it looks like if the booking is made but the payment errors out, LM call center will handle it. I found a better routing by then, so did not need it - but good to know. In general recent LM customer service experience was pretty decent. So not all bad.
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Old Sep 16, 2022, 7:41 pm
  #324  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
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Originally Posted by tr3k
To follow up on this - the next day I got a call from the Avianca call center (went to VM) and at the same time an itenerary landed in my mailbox, with a note stating I can pay for it within 3 days. So - it looks like if the booking is made but the payment errors out, LM call center will handle it. I found a better routing by then, so did not need it - but good to know. In general recent LM customer service experience was pretty decent. So not all bad.
Agreed re the call center. The first time I ever used LM years ago, my booking errored out at payment and I frantically called the center as no PNR was shown and they found the reservation and said payment will call me in the next few days which they did a couple days after. Not the smoothest experience but it worked out.

I booked a ticket yesterday which immediately told me to call the center even before payment but gave me a PNR and the agent was even able to send the itinerary and said billing would call in 24-72 hours but they called about 4 hours later. Again, not the smoothest but it worked just fine. Agents seem markedly better than before
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Old Sep 16, 2022, 9:59 pm
  #325  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Programs: Velocity
Posts: 70

is anyone getting this error message on the Lifemiles App?
Notyourbag is offline  
Old Sep 18, 2022, 9:16 pm
  #326  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 1,739
Originally Posted by Notyourbag
is anyone getting this error message on the Lifemiles App?
Was this at the point you were redirected to the payment page? If so - I did, and LM called me the next day with that booking to pay. So they might call you as well (or not).

Last edited by tr3k; Sep 19, 2022 at 10:26 am
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Old Sep 22, 2022, 6:51 am
  #327  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 1,951
Anyone want to rate my chances at getting a (any Europe, e.g. CDG, BRU, MRS) - ADD - MNL on ET J ticketed?

The transit in ADD is an early morning to near midnight one.

I wonder if it would be charged as a Europe-Asia ticket, or would I just have to book two tickets...
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Old Sep 22, 2022, 11:42 am
  #328  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
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If I can see *A (OS) partner award space available on the Lifemiles site, the UA site, and Expertflyer, but not via AC or SQ, is there any way to tell if it's phantom space before I transfer points into Lifemiles? Do I need to call, and if so, will they hold the space while I transfer in the points? There's only one seat left.
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Old Sep 22, 2022, 11:58 am
  #329  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: SIN (LEJ once a year)
Programs: SQ, LH, BA, IHG Diamond AMB, HH Gold, SLH Indulged, Accor Gold, Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 7,903
Originally Posted by anat0l
Anyone want to rate my chances at getting a (any Europe, e.g. CDG, BRU, MRS) - ADD - MNL on ET J ticketed?

The transit in ADD is an early morning to near midnight one.

I wonder if it would be charged as a Europe-Asia ticket, or would I just have to book two tickets...
Sorry, you are getting the itinerary/ routing offered by LM or you want to force it that way because you see space on each of the individual segments (screenshot method)?

I can't comment on this specific case, but LM has offered me routings via a 3rd zone as connecting/ transit point before like FRA/MUC - NRT/ICN - SIN and it was 78k mls one-way in BIz (of course no such availability of late) which is same amount of miles like a direct FRA - SIN or FRA-BKK-SIN (where BKk & SiN are in same zone as per LM definition).

​​​​​​Having said that, the detour in my examples is not that huge and I don't know if LM also uses some sort of MPM (maximum permitted mileage) restrictions on top of their routing rules etc. YMMV.
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Old Sep 22, 2022, 5:55 pm
  #330  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Programs: DL PM - IC RA - HHonors Gold - Hertz Gold - AA - US - CO - Choice Privileges
Posts: 1,740
Originally Posted by LowValueCustomer
If I can see *A (OS) partner award space available on the Lifemiles site, the UA site, and Expertflyer, but not via AC or SQ, is there any way to tell if it's phantom space before I transfer points into Lifemiles? Do I need to call, and if so, will they hold the space while I transfer in the points? There's only one seat left.
Untill you receive the "You’ve redeemed LifeMiles!" email, zero guarantees. You are not calling the Delta Platinum Medallion line. I would only contact customer service directly for cancellations and involuntary flight changes; otherwise the process is wearing at best.
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