Free companion ticket with Barclays MC! Sure...

Old Oct 21, 09, 10:11 am
  #1  
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Free companion ticket with Barclays MC! Sure...

Well two years ago I decided to take an application for the Barclays Mastercard as the means to preserve my LH Miles. Part of the advertised deal was a free companion ticket which sounds attactive when travelling with family. Everything went well and I was approved for the "blue" version of the card (my wife has the silver) and have been using it ever since always paying on time my full balance. Fast forward two years when I decided to take LH and Barclays on the offer that made me pick up the card. The free companion ticket.

To get started I called the companion ticket LH service, some call center in India, and after an hour of waiting was adviced of the terms. You must buy a full fare ticket to get the companion for which you have to pay the "taxes". Taxes amount to about 30% of the ticket according to Lufthansas calculation, and the full fare ticket is about 40% more expensive. I guess you still save a few hundred dollars but it is definitely not FREE. But my story does not stop here. I proceeded with accepting the terms and conditions, made a reservation and then asked to wait for the "blessing" from LH since they have to approve the ticket. After a week from this date, the reservation was to expire so I called to check on finalizing the "deal." To my surprise I was informed that the offer was declined because my card did not qualify for the offer???? After a call to Barclays, it turns out that one of the two versions of the Mastercard (the blue) does not qualify for a companion ticket!!! Yet they advertise both with that particular benefit on every web page I could find. Further they claim that my card carries no annual fee and therefore the lack of this feature, yet my first year I was billed 59 USD for the privilige. They just did not charge me the follow up year.

It is sad to see how LH and Barclays are misleading people with their ads about the card which do not have a disclaimer warning that you may not get all the advertised benefits. I agree that one should read carefully the agreements they receive instead of what they were promised but honestly who takes the time to review ten pages of fine print when you receive the shiny new card in the mail. Yes it is fair game to have rules in fine print, but not advertise benefits that one cannot get for one reason or another. Applying for a card affects one's credit report so by tempting you to apply, may ask you to add liabilities on your credit report. Their advertising should explain what is "FREE" and that they may change the benefits in the middle of service...

I wanted to share my experience with those considering Barclays and LH Miles and More programs.

Good luck

George

Last edited by station1; Oct 21, 09 at 10:17 am
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Old Oct 21, 09, 10:39 am
  #2  
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Sorry to hear it turned out like this.
However, even the initial deal does not sound too attractive if you have to buy a full fare ticket to get the companion free of charge (plus taxes and fuel surcharge).

You could (even two years ago) have probably gotten two revenue tickets at discounted pricing cheaper compared to the full fare ticket plus the "free" companion ticket.
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Old Oct 21, 09, 3:49 pm
  #3  
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Welcome to FT station1, and thanks for sharing your (sad) experience.

This type of problem is typical for many credit card deal. And it usually is not the airlines fault. Barclays has negotiated a deal with LH. That they advertise this deal in a strange way and for a card which doesn't even offer the benefit is the fault of Barclays, not LH.

With this sort of advertising you would have the right to compensation. So depending on how certain you are and on your energy level you could take them to a tribunal or small claims court to get your $59 back and to force them to offer you this "deal". The taxes seem to be quite high by the way and I would ask for a breakdown. 30% of a full fare ticket price is high.

There are many similar experiences here on FT for other cards and programs. Some Amex cards have Companion Ticket deals for C & F and they also require full fare tickets. Now back in 2007 when many tickets were close to full fare anyway, this still delivered some deals. But nowadays it is cheaper to buy two discounted tickets.

There was one other Asian carrier (Asiana) offering a Pay Y, Fly C deal. The catch was that you had to buy a Y class ticket which is about the same price as a discounted business ticket. Some people might have gotten some savings out of it but it was certainly a much worse deal that it initially appeared to be.
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Old Oct 21, 09, 6:55 pm
  #4  
 
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A free ticket is a gift not an entitlement ... ooops wrong login .

Sorry to hear your experience station1. I'd think that was Barclay's did to you was fraudulent ... by charging you for the privilege, they granted it to you. And by stating that they wait for the approval confirmed that their partners held the same notion on the subject.

For once it is quite likely not LH's sole fault - the scam taxes excluded. The way these things are advertised this makes it indeed a form of highway robbery and quite likely a rainmaker case in the US.
But of course in the quirky Old World, some cryptic wording and denying any responsibility for goods hawk off to the customer will be good enough to walk free.

Big for LH to deal with such a criminal company. But then they deal with T-Mobile so that makes it .
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Old Jun 4, 11, 2:46 pm
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Miles and more companion ticket

Did your wife get the companion ticket with her silver card?
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