Refunding upgraded ticket

Old Aug 8, 16, 1:37 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: FRA (formerly JNB)
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Refunding upgraded ticket

Hello,

Sorry for the long post. I hope you guys will be able to help answer a question which so far the voyager and SAA call centres have not been able to, regarding cancelling an upgraded ticket. My parents-in-law have the following tickets booked:

Ticket was originally an open jaw JNB-FRA, IAD-JNB booked in eco K and upgraded with voyager miles. The outbound JNB-FRA has already been flown, the inbound IAD-JNB is planned for next week. Due to a small family emergency, we wanted to get them to go back to JNB via FRA. I considered the following options:

1) Change the inbound to be FRA-JNB (we already have a separate award booked to get them to FRA). According to the call centre, this is not possible, because the ticket has been upgraded. I find this a bit strange, as I would have expected a K fare to be changeable in this way. I would of course expect to lose the upgrade, and pay the difference (if any) to the current fare for FRA-JNB, but I would still expect it to be technically possible.

2) Cancel the inbound completely, and figure out a way to get them back to JNB at a later date, maybe with another award booking. First I was told that the ticket had become non-refundable (?!??) because it had been upgraded. When I argued it was based on a flex eco ticket, he then said the miles + tax difference for the upgrade would not be refunded, and agreed that the unused portion of the original K ticket could be refunded, but could not tell me how much or what the fare rules are. After 30 mins on hold, he said nobody could tell him, and that I should call SAA reservations. Of course they couldn't answer because it's been amended by voyager, but did say that they would need to ask the international rates desk to advise what the refund would be. Twice I asked for this, and was told to call back later, and when I did, the information had not been calculated for me.

Has anyone here got any experience with changing routes or cancelling upgraded tickets? I don't think it should be this hard. I thought LH/LX has bad IT, but at least they can tell me in 3 seconds what the fare rules on my ticket are...

For what it's worth, I've looked at some current K fares on that route and they all seem to be refundable without penalty, as I would expect of a high-fare ticket. I just don't want to make any assumptions. If the ticket truly has become non-refundable, then I would rather change the date of the IAD-JNB to as soon as possible, and then buy another eco ticket to get them from JNB to FRA.

P.S. what is the reason for not refunding the miles when removing the upgrade? Most airlines I know will redeposit the miles. Could it be that only return upgrades are possible, so if cancelling one direction, then you simply lose it? I can't believe it's a general policy that if you cancel an upgrade, you just lose everything.
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Old Aug 8, 16, 10:20 pm
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by purch View Post
1) Change the inbound to be FRA-JNB (we already have a separate award booked to get them to FRA). According to the call centre, this is not possible, because the ticket has been upgraded. I find this a bit strange, as I would have expected a K fare to be changeable in this way. I would of course expect to lose the upgrade, and pay the difference (if any) to the current fare for FRA-JNB, but I would still expect it to be technically possible.
Have to admit, this is not something particularly usual so they probably just have no idea how to do it. When the upgrade is confirmed the ticket is reissued in "I" class (or at least this used to be the inventory that SAA used to use for business upgrades). They can probably only change to "I" class on another date but on the exact same route (since Amadeus probably cannot reprice to "I" class on another flight since "I" doesn't have value on any fare basis).

It's possible, but just takes a fair amount of skill in Amadeus to sort this out. I would suggest contacting the SAA North America call centre. They are by far the most skillful of all SAA offices!
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Old Aug 9, 16, 1:08 pm
  #3  
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Thanks for the reply evanb.

Originally Posted by evanb View Post
They can probably only change to "I" class on another date but on the exact same route (since Amadeus probably cannot reprice to "I" class on another flight since "I" doesn't have value on any fare basis).
This reflects exactly what the agents said - only date changes allowed but no route changes.

Originally Posted by evanb View Post
Have to admit, this is not something particularly usual so they probably just have no idea how to do it.
Well I don't know how many agents they have, but I find it hard to believe that so few people ask for changes on their upgraded tickets, that an agent has never seen such a request before. I do suspect though that the voyager agents probably aren't trained to such a high degree on Amadeus as they are not expected to do as complicated things as, for example, the regular reservations agents. But that's just a guess.

To be honest, lately I seem to be saying "I must be the first person in the history of this company to make such a request, because they have no idea how to handle it" a lot, and it's not just SAA or airlines in general. Customer service in most companies has really gotten a lot worse over the years.

Thanks for the tip of the US call centre. My brother-in-law will visit the Voyager office in Jhb on Thursday, where the agents are much better IME. They always manage to sort something out for us, but if they can't, I will try the US call centre.
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Old Aug 9, 16, 3:12 pm
  #4  
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Join Date: Feb 2016
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Originally Posted by purch View Post
Hello,

Sorry for the long post. I hope you guys will be able to help answer a question which so far the voyager and SAA call centres have not been able to, regarding cancelling an upgraded ticket. My parents-in-law have the following tickets booked:

Ticket was originally an open jaw JNB-FRA, IAD-JNB booked in eco K and upgraded with voyager miles. The outbound JNB-FRA has already been flown, the inbound IAD-JNB is planned for next week. Due to a small family emergency, we wanted to get them to go back to JNB via FRA. I considered the following options:

1) Change the inbound to be FRA-JNB (we already have a separate award booked to get them to FRA). According to the call centre, this is not possible, because the ticket has been upgraded. I find this a bit strange, as I would have expected a K fare to be changeable in this way. I would of course expect to lose the upgrade, and pay the difference (if any) to the current fare for FRA-JNB, but I would still expect it to be technically possible.

2) Cancel the inbound completely, and figure out a way to get them back to JNB at a later date, maybe with another award booking. First I was told that the ticket had become non-refundable (?!??) because it had been upgraded. When I argued it was based on a flex eco ticket, he then said the miles + tax difference for the upgrade would not be refunded, and agreed that the unused portion of the original K ticket could be refunded, but could not tell me how much or what the fare rules are. After 30 mins on hold, he said nobody could tell him, and that I should call SAA reservations. Of course they couldn't answer because it's been amended by voyager, but did say that they would need to ask the international rates desk to advise what the refund would be. Twice I asked for this, and was told to call back later, and when I did, the information had not been calculated for me.

Has anyone here got any experience with changing routes or cancelling upgraded tickets? I don't think it should be this hard. I thought LH/LX has bad IT, but at least they can tell me in 3 seconds what the fare rules on my ticket are...

For what it's worth, I've looked at some current K fares on that route and they all seem to be refundable without penalty, as I would expect of a high-fare ticket. I just don't want to make any assumptions. If the ticket truly has become non-refundable, then I would rather change the date of the IAD-JNB to as soon as possible, and then buy another eco ticket to get them from JNB to FRA.

P.S. what is the reason for not refunding the miles when removing the upgrade? Most airlines I know will redeposit the miles. Could it be that only return upgrades are possible, so if cancelling one direction, then you simply lose it? I can't believe it's a general policy that if you cancel an upgrade, you just lose everything.
Hello purch,

Thank you for choosing South African Airways.

We see that you will be attempting to sort this issue out via the Voyager office in Johannesburg, but you're also welcome to contact the Voyager Department in the North America Customer Call Center at 1 (800) 359-7220. You may also email our North America team at [email protected], providing all above details, with the addition of your reservation details (reference number, names on reservation, etc.)

Once again, thank you for your continued support of South African Airways.

Sincerely

South African Airways - North America
1 (800) 722-9675
FlySAAUSA is offline  
Old Aug 10, 16, 1:13 am
  #5  
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Join Date: Jun 2014
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Originally Posted by FlySAAUSA View Post
Hello purch,

Thank you for choosing South African Airways.

We see that you will be attempting to sort this issue out via the Voyager office in Johannesburg, but you're also welcome to contact the Voyager Department in the North America Customer Call Center at 1 (800) 359-7220. You may also email our North America team at [email protected], providing all above details, with the addition of your reservation details (reference number, names on reservation, etc.)

Once again, thank you for your continued support of South African Airways.

Sincerely

South African Airways - North America
1 (800) 722-9675
Thanks for the message FlySAAUSA - your offer to help is really appreciated. I am sure that we will get the information we need from the Jhb office tomorrow, but if not, I will try to give your team a call.
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