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The real problem, $150 reward change fee, not the 500 minimum

The real problem, $150 reward change fee, not the 500 minimum

Old Sep 23, 08, 10:44 pm
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Angry The real problem, $150 reward change fee, not the 500 minimum

C'mon guys, all this focus on the 500 miles has got people snowballed.

I realize there are mostly plats here, but if you're GOLD, you're paying $150 a change on reward tickets. IF you're gold you're paying the same exorbitant fee that some schmo who has nothing with CO except 25k MR points transferred in.

Why not something more reasonable? Especially for changing things like date/time/routing/carrier. Make a reasonable change $25 (or free). Refuding the miles, I could understand being $150, that's fine (though I still think for Golds its excessive)

If CO had the kind of inventory available that competitors, such as UA have, then this wouldn't be quite the same, but the fact is that CO has VERY little available >3 weeks out. Once CO has figured out they're not going to sell all the seats they start to open seats up. Until then, its tight, and you might be forced to choose inconvenient flights because that's all that is available.

If CO is going to jack up the TLV prices 20k, they should allow routing via europe instead of just on EWR-TLVs. TLV via Europe is 120k Y 180k in C, which is way out of line with appropriate pricing.
entropy is offline  
Old Sep 23, 08, 10:48 pm
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I agree that the $150 reward change fee is excessive for Gold members. It should be less than a Silver, as otherwise, there is very little difference between the two levels other than a greater mileage bonus and better reward/EUA/upgrade availability. Oh, and you get an exit row if a Plat hasn't gotten to it first.
DUKEswoosh is offline  
Old Sep 23, 08, 10:50 pm
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Well being based in TX virtually every trip I make starts or ends with an RJ/Turboprop that means easily 50% of my flying is sub 500 miles, it is the same for many of us flying CO sot he 500 mile minimum can mean a lot.

As for me I buy a ticket and don't change it, I keep my plans pretty concrete, I realize some can't/don't/won't have such ability.
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Old Sep 23, 08, 10:56 pm
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I think the fee is fair..you are saying you will fly on a certain flight and taking inventory away from what they could otherwise be selling..I think its fair for them to cover the cost in this [email protected]:-)
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Old Sep 23, 08, 11:06 pm
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Originally Posted by CAL PHL FLYER View Post
I think the fee is fair..you are saying you will fly on a certain flight and taking inventory away from what they could otherwise be selling..I think its fair for them to cover the cost in this [email protected]:-)
Which CO call center do you work in anyway, SLC? TPA? IAH?

At any rate the $150 fee is truly excessive for a measly date change on an award ticket with no hold time and highly restricted availability-which by definition is a ticket CO doesn't plan to sell.
Folks, AA allows FREE DATE CHANGES on award tickets-even if it requires a change in connecting cities.
For CO to charge $150 for a date change on an award ticket is beyond the pale.
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Old Sep 23, 08, 11:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Steph3n View Post
As for me I buy a ticket and don't change it, I keep my plans pretty concrete, I realize some can't/don't/won't have such ability.
The point is not the plans changing, but flights opening up and such.

Clearly the $150 fee demonstrates that CO does not understand what it's like to book reward travel these days.

It's not uncommon to lock in a trip with some suboptimal, worst-case scenario flights, then switch as flights open up. These things are not worth $150 to change.

As an example, I recently booked SFO-DTW-ATL-STT. Clearly I don't want to fly that. Don't get me wrong, I do want to go to STT, the date works out fine for me. The route is just a bit too long. I'll hope that DL opens space SFO-ATL to connect up wtih my ATL-STT, or CO opens space SFO-IAH-STT to make that more efficient. While it is still a change, by charging such a punitive fee, CO seems to be missing the fact that people change tickets because of tight availability, not because they want to. The OP's idea of charging more for a redeposit, but a more reasonable amount for a change seems to make sense.

Even UA and AA allow date/time changes along the same route. That way if a better flight opens up, you can switch to that at no charge.
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Old Sep 24, 08, 1:08 am
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I'm glad others see this. I ask you, though, how come there is no outrage at this. This fee is already in place! What did we see here about this? Nothing. Instead, we saw people complain ad nauseum about 25% bonus EQM and 500 mile segment credit. Sure, those items are important -- but they are nothing compared to gold elite members having to pay $150 to change an award ticket.
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Old Sep 24, 08, 1:24 am
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Maybe it's me, but I just don't get all the complaining. Sure, the $150 fee seems steep. But, how often are people changing their reservations?

I make 1-2 reward reservations and very rarely change them. I make a lot more flights under 500 miles. I would assume a lot of people are in this boat, particularly the intra-texas and NE travelers.

I do feel the fee structures need to be adjusted across the board. Prices should not be the same for Silver, Gold and Platinum. Plats should pay the fewest fees and Silvers should be given a break compared to general members. Elites should be treated as such, they have earned that by commiting a certain amount of business to CO and that should be reflected on how they are treated.

As for the $150 fee, i think it would be nice if CO implemented the ability to change flights without a fee if the starting and ending point were the same as well as the dates.
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Old Sep 24, 08, 1:25 am
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
It's not uncommon to lock in a trip with some suboptimal, worst-case scenario flights, then switch as flights open up. These things are not worth $150 to change.
I wholly agree. Most folks got distracted by the miles earning side of things and forgot that the point is to spend them.

My last reward trip was NYC-IST-Any of about 6 airports in England-NYC. I made at least 5 changes to the routing as better options opened up in the 5 months after I booked it, with the last change being made about a month prior to travel. And I was still looking for the nonstop DL flight JFK-IST until 2 days prior to the trip at which point I finally gave up and took the trip as booked at that point. But I was able to confirm seats on a cruddy routing to start with (ORY/CDG connection, forced overnight for 10 hours in CDG on the return, etc.) just in case nothing better came along. And when you're using miles there are times when nothing better will come along.

I actually think that the free reward changes for Platinums is the best benefit of that status. Better than the incremental 25% bonus over gold. Better than the EUA priority over gold. Better than the incrementally shorter hold times on calls. Seeing the new fees for this being so high is pretty appalling, especially since, as noted above, the actual cost to make the change is virtually nil and CO's expectation of realizing cash revenue for the seats in question is only slightly higher than that.
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Old Sep 24, 08, 6:36 am
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I think it depends what your expectations are. I'm Gold. If you expect to get the optimal routing for the lowest miles, yes, then even if your plans are flexible, you're going to have to make changes. However, I no longer expect this, and I reduce stress by finding only one direction with the routing I want available, and paying the double rate for the rest, because the mileage premium is worth it now.

I'm also no longer accumulating miles except on trips that cost less than about $250. I have a few 25K domestic awards booked for myself, which I never would have dreamed of before. (And I'm dropping to Silver next year and expect to lose elite status in 2010; it just isn't worth it.)

So, yes, it's a devaluation, but it only matches the higher fee for changing paid tickets, so it doesn't upset me much. CO's fee was probably too low before. But on the flip side, I get to respond by stopping making much effort to earn the miles.
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Old Sep 24, 08, 6:41 am
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Originally Posted by fozz View Post
Maybe it's me, but I just don't get all the complaining. Sure, the $150 fee seems steep. But, how often are people changing their reservations?
I would say for me, on large international rewards, my tickets get changed about 3-5 times prior to the trip.

As noted above, you need to book way in advance and the optimum routing is ususally not available nor the desired time of day. Flights do open on CO and other partner carriers and making changes is part of the reward process. CO waits until about a month before, before CO opens seats. DL opens them through out the year, usually with initial availability 11 months out (CO does not open 11 months out).

The way CO releases inventory - changes are inevitable, particularly if you want to fly on CO metal.

I am lucky as Plat so I can make these changes. I agree $150 is way too high for other CO elites and even non-elites based on CO inventory release policy.

Examples, I have flights to SYD via ICN. (1) Return was KE: ICN-NRT, connecting DL NRT-ATL. Now the DL non-stop ICN-ATL opened so I was able to change. (2) Had DCA-LGA, taxi to JFK. DCA-JFK opened, so changed. (3) On trip last year - NRT-DTW - NW only releases one BC seat on each of the parrallel 744s. But 1-2 months out, they open more seats - so you can plan your trip (two people on separate flights) then move one person to same flight.

All of these would have cost $ had I not been Plat. Unless CO wants to release all of its reward inventory at 11 months and not add any - then the change fees are excessive.
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Old Sep 24, 08, 6:55 am
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I always end up making a lot of changes to my itineraries as I fine tune them from "I will take what I can get" to "this is what I would like." Heck, my itinerary to the Maldives this year had upwards of 20 changes as more preferential flights, dates or carriers became available.
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Old Sep 24, 08, 7:59 am
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I always have to make changes to reward tickets, it's inevitable. Even as a Platinum, finding DG/EN classes is ridiculously hard.

Many times I can't book what I want, so I have to pick alternate cities and days, and as it becomes available, take those. If I were Gold, I wouldn't be able to afford $750 of changes to book a ticket.

If I were not a Platinum, not only would I not pay the ridiculous $150 fee, I would simply cease to fly CO whatsoever over its gouging policy which I consider to be absolutely disgusting towards non-Plat. customers.

The only way the $150 change fee for reward tickets makes sense is if they did away with EasyPass, and let you book a Standard Reward on any flight you want, anywhere in the system, space-available.
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Old Sep 24, 08, 8:04 am
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I am gold for the first time this year. I have been heavy on the "accumulate miles" side of the eqation so far and was hoping starting in '09 to start using miels to buy to companion tix for dergon_gf to parallel the flights I was paying for on CO to earn miles. That seems virtually impossible for me to do in the first attempt up front. I refuse to pop $150 for change tix.

I have now kind of resigned myself to continuing to accumulate and just occasionally use miles to upgrade internationally. I just have to cross my fingers that perhaps something for the better will change later on or that I'll find by dumb luck some open availabilty to fit my plans ahead of time one of these days.

I am going to just make gold for '09. For 2010 however, if things stay the way they are, I won't be putting much effort into making gold and will just hold at silver from my *normal* flying.
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Old Sep 24, 08, 8:07 am
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I said this right away, but no one paid attention

Not only is the change fee ridiculous, the redeposit fee, which is the same, is even MORE ridiculous.

If I have to cancel a trip, CO is probably not going to put that seat back into award inventory and instead, sell it. I'm actually earning CO money by cancelling. I understand there may be times that seat is not sold, but it certainly can't cost them $150 to press a button to give me back the miles.

I am not making award reservations for my parents specifically because I can never ever get the dates I need and always have to either change or redeposit. I refuse to pay $150 to do either, so I'm just not booking.
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