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Booking Flights, Rooms, Cars, Cruises, Activities with UR (include Expedia problems)

Booking Flights, Rooms, Cars, Cruises, Activities with UR (include Expedia problems)

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Old Oct 6, 19, 1:20 am   -   Wikipost
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This thread covers how to use Ultimate Reward points for booking all types of travel via the Ultimate Rewards portal.

In 2018 Chase changed the outsourced booking portal operator from Connexions to Expedia. Posts from January to mid-October 2018 have been archived to a separate thread. Those posts discussed the portal as operated by Connexions, -and- the transition process to Expedia.

There is another thread to discuss booking by transferring to airline of hotel programs: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/chas...tc-2017-a.html

Pay special attention to booking via Chase UR/Expedia with regard to rewards and benefits. Chase UR + Expedia is considered OTA (Online Travel Agency). Travelers purchase or pre-pay travel with the OTA and is subject to the T&C from the OTA. In general, travelers receive miles rewards on flights, but do not receive night credit on hotel stays. Also, in general, travelers lose the airline or hotel status and do not receive the associated benefits (free breakfast, room upgrade etc).

1) How do I book a ticket? Choose my airfare class?
Login to ultimaterewards.com
Click: Use points > Explore and Book Travel
Click the button that defaults to [1 Traveler, All]
Change "Class" (the first entry in the pull-down) from All to Business
Click: Close

2) How far in advance can I book?
In mid-November 2017 it was reported that airline reservations are available only 270 days in advance. Read HERE.

3) How do I book hotels?
Follow the steps above to log on. There are standard looking search engines offered for airfare, hotel, etc at that point.

3.5) How to book cruises?
Chase outsources this to a travel agency specializing in cruises. (I believe they are available solely by telephone.) Agents there can book cruises for you using your URs for payments from initial deposit to final payment. It's also possible to transfer an existing cruise booking to that travel agency. That agency can then make payments (full or partial). However, to transfer a booking, there are some constraints to be aware of. A) The booking and deposit has to be made directly with the cruise line. If you use another agency, you're out of luck. B) The cruise lines limit the window when you can transfer a booking from their control to an agency's. It closes as early as 30 days after initial deposit up to final deposit due date (typically 75-120 prior to sail date) depending on the particular cruise line's rules (which are subject to change).

4) How do I get the better redemption rate offered on some Chase cards?
The upper left corner of the UR page will show you which card you are logged in with. If you hold a Chase Sapphire Reserve or JPMR card, you will be shown a better price on points bookings, as a 1.5 redemption rate is offered as one of the benefits of this card. If you log in to the UR portal from a different UR card, such as the Ink, you will not be offered this rate.

4.5) How do Refunds Work?
When cancelling a booking (and a refund is due), points will be added back to your UR balance and dollars will be refunded to the credit card account used.

5) Where else can I find information?

This thread is a consolidated resource which covers topics including:

Fare buckets, here
Price differences between open market air fares and UR bookings, here
Selecting seat classes
Using cash and points to pay for tickets

and more.

The previous discussion, through 2017, can be found here: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/chas...14-2017-a.html
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Old Dec 7, 18, 6:32 pm
  #76  
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This write up by a well-known blogger on his recent experience dealing with UR booked flight and the subsequent refund process is worth reading.

Also more gems in the comment section - more reinforcement that when things go wrong, bookings made thru UR portal using UR pts could be a nightmare to get refund.

Bottom line - only book things that you are very sure and will consume very soon. Dont make any "long range plan" type of bookings, ever.

https://viewfromthewing.boardingarea...what-happened/
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Old Dec 7, 18, 10:06 pm
  #77  
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Thank you for that. I will avoid as far as possible using UR points for purchasing air tickets!
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Old Dec 7, 18, 11:44 pm
  #78  
 
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I mean, to provide another data point, we booked all our flights for Italy on the Chase UR travel portal like 6 months before our flights...we had no issues

I'm assuming this is very much a YMMV situation
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Old Dec 8, 18, 1:03 pm
  #79  
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Originally Posted by lax01 View Post
I mean, to provide another data point, we booked all our flights for Italy on the Chase UR travel portal like 6 months before our flights...we had no issues

I'm assuming this is very much a YMMV situation
Or it is a "how LUCKY you are situation." No schedule changes / flight cancellation whether due to airlines or worse, airport controller strike caused airport shutdowns...

It is the Unknown that may or may not happen that should be put into the consideration. Some are happy go lucky and everything has gone fine. Some often have issues on their itineraries that are totally not their own doing but external factors.

The ability to make amend should situation warrants, is the important thing to consider whether booking direct with airlines or booking thru UR to save some bucks.

Put it another way, Do you feel being Lucky? before you book your travels with UR pts.

There are also other factors - whether your flights and tickets are with US3 or with an International carrier, whether your flights have schedule changes or worse, cancellation, causing you miss connection or no connection at all, whether there are irrop like the blogger who encountered.

All these and more, would make a difference on how easy to get problems fixed with UR - as posted above, the honeymooner currently has a hard time to get his itinerary fixed due to Kenya airlines schedule changed would cause him miss the KLM connection - UR told him to talk to KLM, KLM told him to talk to UR - both tell him that he would need to cancel and rebook, with the new fares which are a lot more...

Lots of unknowns that are pretty much Luck of Draw - when those happen, it is always always much easier to sort it out with the airlines. In the honeymooner's situation, if he booked directly with KLM, KLM may be willing to change his connection flight so he could make connection, either for free or with small fee. Now KLM kicks him back to UR.

Bottom Line, it boils down to how much risk tolerance one has.

The best way to use one's UR pts remains being transfer to the partners, especially for those who prefer a flat bed on long haul flights. US-Italy is among such. Purchased J tickets would be far more expensive than award redemption. Intra-Italy flights are short hops. LCCs would be far cheaper than using UR pts so I dont see the reaosn to use UR pts for that either.
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Last edited by Happy; Dec 8, 18 at 1:13 pm
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Old Dec 8, 18, 8:07 pm
  #80  
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Data point:

I needed to cancel a one-way domestic AS flight booked partially with my Chase card and partially with points.

I called the number listed on the online page on the Chase UR site that showed me trip.

First, though, it wanted me to input my credit card number. Done.

Then I got a nice woman (hard to understand due to crappy voip on their end -- too many companies use crappy voip) whose first question was, you guessed it, "What's your credit card #?"

After giving it an explaining what I needed to do, she said, "Oh, I have to transfer you to a different department since you made the reservation after October 1."

After 3-4 minutes on hold, she handed me off to a nice gentleman who got very excited when I told him I was AS MVP Gold, saying that meant I wouldn't have a cancellation fee (Yes, I know). He also said the script required him to read me all the fare rules; I said please skip that.

He then put me on hold to call AS, came back on a few minutes later to confirm that it was okay to cancel and have my original form of payment credited. I said yes, and went back on hold. A few minutes later, he came back to say it was all taken care of, and I should see my refund of the "cash" portion in one-to-two billing cycles (Digressive rant: how come banks can charge my card instantly but can't refund a charge instantly??) and my UR points should be returned in a week.

We'll shall see if both things happen, but the reservation is already showing as canceled on the AS website.

So, not painless, but not terrible. But I can imagine it would indeed be awful if dealing with an international itinerary with many moving parts and partners.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 11:27 am
  #81  
 
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booking flights not showing up on UR

Hello, world! I have a question on booking flights not on UR search. There are certain flights that show up on united.com that I wanted to book, but they don't show up when I try to use the Chase search site. Is this something that I can call in and ask to have booked? Or is this a case of airlines not releasing inventory to third party agents and I'm out of luck?
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Old Dec 9, 18, 12:18 pm
  #82  
mia
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Originally Posted by bob_the_d View Post
.... certain flights that show up on united.com that I wanted to book, but they don't show up....
If these are first or business class seats try searching in for both classes. A flight may be coded as business but marketed as first (or vice versa). If you still cannot find them (or they are economy class), look to see if they are available on the main Expedia.com site. If they are, I would call on a weekday during regular business hours and insist that Chase's agency (Expedia) book them for you at the advertised points redemption value.

If there are not forceful complaints, Chase and Citi executives will sit in a conference room, pat one another on the back, and say that everything is fine.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 12:45 pm
  #83  
 
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
If these are first or business class seats try searching in for both classes. A flight may be coded as business but marketed as first (or vice versa). If you still cannot find them (or they are economy class), look to see if they are available on the main Expedia.com site. If they are, I would call on a weekday during regular business hours and insist that Chase's agency (Expedia) book them for you at the advertised points redemption value.

If there are not forceful complaints, Chase and Citi executives will sit in a conference room, pat one another on the back, and say that everything is fine.
Oddly, it still shows on united.com but not on expedia.com either. Am I out of luck, or is this still doable?
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Old Dec 9, 18, 4:23 pm
  #84  
mia
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Originally Posted by bob_the_d View Post
.... shows on united.com but not on expedia.com either.....
Do you mean the lowest fare is only available on united.com -or- that no seats are offered at any price by Expedia? I have heard of airlines reserving certain fares for their own site, but if the flight is not listed it might be an IT error that UA will resolve in a few days.

However, if there is anything out of the ordinary about the flight, such as extra capacity added for travel to a bowl game or similar special event, I would just buy it on united.com.
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Old Dec 10, 18, 7:33 am
  #85  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Maybe UA 1K member get special access to some flights? I know you guys get extra saver award availability on business/first class. I have not booked any UA business class tickets on UR site yet, because if I have to pay non-saver points on UA, the ticket would usually still cost less points than using 1.5X with CSR on UR.
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Old Dec 10, 18, 7:38 am
  #86  
 
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Originally Posted by bob_the_d View Post
Hello, world! I have a question on booking flights not on UR search. There are certain flights that show up on united.com that I wanted to book, but they don't show up when I try to use the Chase search site. Is this something that I can call in and ask to have booked? Or is this a case of airlines not releasing inventory to third party agents and I'm out of luck?
What flight(s) are you trying to book? Is there a connection invovled? If so, search economy, or just a one way for each connection and see if they show separately. It won't help, but rather illustrate the fact how broken and garbage the new system is.
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Old Dec 10, 18, 4:28 pm
  #87  
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Just a reminder that if you have questions on a booking made thru Connexions you need to call 855-234-2542. If it's a question on a newer rez. made thru Expedia call 888-511-5323.
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Old Dec 14, 18, 3:32 pm
  #88  
 
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Is anyone else getting an error message when trying to book a hotel room through the UR portal? I get "Unable to search rooms at this time. Please try again later."

But when I go through the regular Expedia website (for a cash booking), no problem.
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Old Dec 14, 18, 9:31 pm
  #89  
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Originally Posted by Steve in Olympia View Post
Is anyone else getting an error message when trying to book a hotel room through the UR portal? I get "Unable to search rooms at this time. Please try again later."

But when I go through the regular Expedia website (for a cash booking), no problem.
It is just the usual UR portal malfunctioning. Happens all the time. Either super slow or gives the above error. Nothing to do with Expedia as I believe the linkage (or redirect) is not handled by the OTA, be it Connexions or Expedia.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 8:57 pm
  #90  
 
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Originally Posted by Steve in Olympia View Post
Is anyone else getting an error message when trying to book a hotel room through the UR portal? I get "Unable to search rooms at this time. Please try again later."

But when I go through the regular Expedia website (for a cash booking), no problem.
One thing to try is to clear all cookies related to Chase and/or UR.
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