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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 Dec 1, 2022, 9:17 am
  #406  
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: DFW
Programs: AA 1M
Posts: 31,526
Originally Posted by sowhatwegetdrunk
Is there a worser site/program than lifemiles?
Skypesos:

Delta award flight significantly cheaper using AF miles than DL miles
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Old Dec 1, 2022, 5:46 pm
  #407  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: SEA
Posts: 3,972
From a redemption standpoint? Yeah a ton of programs are way worse than lifemiles. I'm pretty willing to live with the limitations given the award chart for US-Europe. That said, I'd not park miles there or buy any speculatively. But my Delta redemptions are almost always a worse value.
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Old Dec 1, 2022, 5:48 pm
  #408  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: SEA
Posts: 3,972
Originally Posted by mlqsko
Have you tried SEA-IST-intra Turkey?
I hadn't, but I just did. Same behavior - the SEA-IST segment specifically doesn't show, but the TK intra-europe and now intra-Turkey segments do. The space is still there via EF, Aeroplan, United, and shows as saver space in TK's program (and I'm fresh out of Citi points). Damn, I'd really like to book this, too - 63k vs 90k Aeroplan.
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Old Dec 1, 2022, 7:59 pm
  #409  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Originally Posted by sowhatwegetdrunk
Is there a worser site/program than lifemiles? I mean, I am having an extremely hard time trying to redeem their miles. Finally something shows up as available (MLE-FRA-ORD) on business. I try to book it, it keeps spinning after selecting passenger info. So I go back and search again, now the seats are gone. Only available in economy. Frustrating!

Edit - I wonder if it grabbed those MLE-FRA seats and never put it back in the inventory. BLR-FRA-ORD is still available. Aghhhh!!!
Yes you probably grabbed the seats. Whether they return or not is not LM's control but the carrier operating MLE-FRA (LH or it's subsidiary I guess).

Btw, you are frustrated, fair enough, but you pick MLE as a starting point that has very few *A carriers even operating flights there (just some vacation type flights on WK - Edelweiss which belongs to Swiss but not bookable here IIRC, maybe OS at seasonal times and TK which is best bet but booking tough these days). So if you can be flexible with starting point like India (like your BLR example) or Middle East it may make things a tad easier. YMMV.
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Old Dec 1, 2022, 8:11 pm
  #410  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Originally Posted by demue
Yes you probably grabbed the seats. Whether they return or not is not LM's control but the carrier operating MLE-FRA (LH or it's subsidiary I guess).

Btw, you are frustrated, fair enough, but you pick MLE as a starting point that has very few *A carriers even operating flights there (just some vacation type flights on WK - Edelweiss which belongs to Swiss but not bookable here IIRC, maybe OS at seasonal times and TK which is best bet but booking tough these days). So if you can be flexible with starting point like India (like your BLR example) or Middle East it may make things a tad easier. YMMV.
Thanks. So, I tried to book from BLR (BLR-FRA-ORD) and same issue as well. Kept spinning and now seats are gone. I in fact even looked at United before booking on Lifemiles. Now gone in United too. Crazy

If seats were grabbed, do I have a chance of talking to someone at customer service and see if there is a PNR or something thats on hold that can be paid for and confirmed? Just ranting out loud
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Old Dec 1, 2022, 9:44 pm
  #411  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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If it fails from passenger details selection to payment page, then usually the PNR ref is shown briefly even if there is an error proceeding to the payments page. Such a PNR the support should be able to locate

If your attempt fails when moving to the passenger details already, you can call, but I'm not aware of folks being able to get the record locator. YMMV.
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Old Dec 1, 2022, 11:14 pm
  #412  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 108
Originally Posted by mlqsko
You have medicine you need at XXX airport layover. Also, remember in absolutely worst, worst, worst case scenario, your bag will NOT fly without you to the final destination (period!) and you'll just have to retrieve it.

I have short checked bags on 1.15h intl connections without even a question why.
So the medicine excuse might work on a long layover but if the connection is only 1 hour then it might be hard to convince the ticketing agent I guess.
The worst case scenario you mean, if someone failed to make their connection the baggage will be taken off the plane for it to be picked up at the connecting airport? I guess airlines will hate this because it delays the flight. Just saying.
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Old Dec 2, 2022, 1:23 am
  #413  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 3,860
Originally Posted by carlosiah
The worst case scenario you mean, if someone failed to make their connection the baggage will be taken off the plane for it to be picked up at the connecting airport? I guess airlines will hate this because it delays the flight. Just saying.
Thousands of passengers misconnect daily. For one reason or another Just sayin.

And mind you, this is absolutely worst case scenario. Most agents don't even care and short check the bag(s) even on short connections.
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 5:24 pm
  #414  
 
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Originally Posted by sowhatwegetdrunk
Thanks. So, I tried to book from BLR (BLR-FRA-ORD) and same issue as well. Kept spinning and now seats are gone. I in fact even looked at United before booking on Lifemiles. Now gone in United too. Crazy

If seats were grabbed, do I have a chance of talking to someone at customer service and see if there is a PNR or something thats on hold that can be paid for and confirmed? Just ranting out loud
None of your rants are new or unique to LifeMiles. If you read the posts in the forums you would realize calling customer service is one of the most frustrating functions of LifeMiles. 4-8 hours isn't out of the ordinary to call over and over again until you reach a customer service representative with the wherewithall to complete the required / desired request.

If you have the same issue over and over again; try something different, such as try a different web browser.
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Old Dec 8, 2022, 10:32 am
  #415  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: NYC
Posts: 419
An itinerary on ET (Ethiopian) booked with LifeMiles had a small schedule change (the last flight in the itinerary is now 15 minutes later). The flight number didn't change. ET say that the ticket is good and no need for LifeMiles to reissue it (or maybe they already did). The new timing appears when I view the itinerary on LifeMiles.

Do I trust that the ticket is OK or do I need to push LifeMiles to reissue it anyway? This thread has me wary.

Seth
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Old Dec 8, 2022, 3:47 pm
  #416  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by sethweinstein
An itinerary on ET (Ethiopian) booked with LifeMiles had a small schedule change (the last flight in the itinerary is now 15 minutes later). The flight number didn't change. ET say that the ticket is good and no need for LifeMiles to reissue it (or maybe they already did). The new timing appears when I view the itinerary on LifeMiles.

Do I trust that the ticket is OK or do I need to push LifeMiles to reissue it anyway? This thread has me wary.

Seth
What happens when you pull up the reservation on avianca.com?
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Old Dec 8, 2022, 10:06 pm
  #417  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: NYC
Posts: 419
Originally Posted by skimthetrees
What happens when you pull up the reservation on avianca.com?
Thanks -- oh, wow. I hadn't done that. It shows...

1 warning
A schedule change has occurred on this trip. Please acknowledge it and choose your trip options again (seats, meals,...) (15070)
ADD-NYC: Information concerning flight ET512 has been modified.
DXB-ADD: confirmed

Then there's a button that says "Manage your change" and if I click it, it says "To reschedule your flight, contact us and we will help you with your request." And the page is called "Recovery."

That's all. No option to just accept the change, which is what I want to do.

I guess I do have to call them, then...is that right?

Seth
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Old Dec 9, 2022, 7:41 am
  #418  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by sethweinstein
Thanks -- oh, wow. I hadn't done that. It shows...

1 warning
A schedule change has occurred on this trip. Please acknowledge it and choose your trip options again (seats, meals,...) (15070)
ADD-NYC: Information concerning flight ET512 has been modified.
DXB-ADD: confirmed

Then there's a button that says "Manage your change" and if I click it, it says "To reschedule your flight, contact us and we will help you with your request." And the page is called "Recovery."

That's all. No option to just accept the change, which is what I want to do.

I guess I do have to call them, then...is that right?

Seth
Yes, You should call and have them re-validate the ticket to clear the schedule change warning. How much time is there between flights? If the connection time goes below MCT (Minimum Connect Time) that would be a bigger problem.
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Old Dec 9, 2022, 12:04 pm
  #419  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: NYC
Posts: 419
Originally Posted by skimthetrees
Yes, You should call and have them re-validate the ticket to clear the schedule change warning. How much time is there between flights? If the connection time goes below MCT (Minimum Connect Time) that would be a bigger problem.
Thank you for this! Only 27 minutes, 5 agents, and 4 transfers to get it done, plus half a minute during which I attempted to respond to the survey but couldn't understand any of the questions.

It all looks good now; no errors on the Avianca site. I see the ticket numbers changed. New numbers show on Avianca and Ethiopian sites. Ethiopian shows confirmed and ticketed.

The connection time increased by 15 minutes. I still hope we'll misconnect and get to spend a day in Addis Ababa.

The booking now shows that I have two frequent-flyer numbers with Avianca, one of which is correct, and that my partner has one instead of zero, and it's the same one as the incorrect one assigned to me. I'm assuming that's not going to be a problem. There was some other weird phenomenon in the world where one could end up with two numbers on the booking and it caused a problem -- booking Qatar seats with American miles, maybe? But my seats show up fine here.

Anyway, I appreciate the guidance!

Seth
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Old Dec 9, 2022, 2:53 pm
  #420  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Programs: UA, AS
Posts: 2,418
Originally Posted by sethweinstein
Thank you for this! Only 27 minutes, 5 agents, and 4 transfers to get it done, plus half a minute during which I attempted to respond to the survey but couldn't understand any of the questions.

It all looks good now; no errors on the Avianca site. I see the ticket numbers changed. New numbers show on Avianca and Ethiopian sites. Ethiopian shows confirmed and ticketed.

The connection time increased by 15 minutes. I still hope we'll misconnect and get to spend a day in Addis Ababa.

The booking now shows that I have two frequent-flyer numbers with Avianca, one of which is correct, and that my partner has one instead of zero, and it's the same one as the incorrect one assigned to me. I'm assuming that's not going to be a problem. There was some other weird phenomenon in the world where one could end up with two numbers on the booking and it caused a problem -- booking Qatar seats with American miles, maybe? But my seats show up fine here.

Anyway, I appreciate the guidance!

Seth
You are welcome! Glad it worked out!
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