Couple struggles to cash in FF miles

 
Old Feb 15, 12, 11:28 pm
  #1  
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Couple struggles to cash in FF miles

From 7 On Your Side

Short version: No saver awards available to Europe, couldn't get standard awards because they only had 480k miles (in UA and CO), United to the rescue (!) by allowing them to combine the two accounts and throwing in an additional 10k miles so they can get two standard awards.

But wait ... the math doesn't add up, wouldn't they still be 10k miles short?
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Old Feb 15, 12, 11:47 pm
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50kx2rt=200k plus 10k bonus in the bank!

It doesn't say if United gave them the saver rate, but given KGO's involvement, one would assume. By my math, they have 280k left!
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Old Feb 16, 12, 6:51 am
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Is it that hard to find saver seats to Europe? These folks are in San Rafael, so we can assume they're flying out of SFO, and they're trying to fly to Paris. I'm searching, and I see saver biz-class tickets on that route every one out of the next seven days.

As long as you don't try to book more than a week in advance, you're fine!
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Old Feb 16, 12, 7:40 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by Jorgen View Post
Is it that hard to find saver seats to Europe? These folks are in San Rafael, so we can assume they're flying out of SFO, and they're trying to fly to Paris. I'm searching, and I see saver biz-class tickets on that route every one out of the next seven days.

As long as you don't try to book more than a week in advance, you're fine!
Exactly, but who can plan last minute European vacations? You need to schedule vacation time at work usually well in advance. "7 on your side" may have missed the story. It is that FF miles are pretty much becoming useless, as is loyalty to one particular airline. Unless you fly well over 100K a year, there is little reason to be loyal to UA.
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Old Feb 16, 12, 7:45 am
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Originally Posted by Jorgen View Post
Is it that hard to find saver seats to Europe? These folks are in San Rafael, so we can assume they're flying out of SFO, and they're trying to fly to Paris. I'm searching, and I see saver biz-class tickets on that route every one out of the next seven days.

As long as you don't try to book more than a week in advance, you're fine!
It all depends. If what you want is to get from A to B, and you don't care how, usually something can be found, as long as you're not traveling at peak/holiday times. On the other hand, if you want to fly C nonstop on LH from SFO to FRA on a specific date...then, well, you'll probably be out of luck. We've had been looking at NYC-BKK tickets for a certian time period. Finding something 10+ months out was relatively easy. Finding exactly what I wanted in F was a bit harder. YMMV...
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Old Feb 16, 12, 7:47 am
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Originally Posted by flyinbob View Post
Exactly, but who can plan last minute European vacations? You need to schedule vacation time at work usually well in advance. "7 on your side" may have missed the story. It is that FF miles are pretty much becoming useless, as is loyalty to one particular airline. Unless you fly well over 100K a year, there is little reason to be loyal to UA.
For us, my being able to change awards without charge as a 1K is probably the biggest single benefit. Without it, planning for vacations would be terribly difficult, and the value of my miles would be far less. With the ability to redeposit for free, we can lock in something decent, then make successive changes over time as better flights/times become available.
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Old Feb 16, 12, 7:56 am
  #7  
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For non-FT people who don't have a mastery of the hub & spoke system and have the ANA tool (etc.) ... I agree FF miles are essentially useless.

My parents saved up US miles for years (using the occasional flight & credit cards). About 1.5 years ago they decided to go to Rome and Paris and they had enough miles on US according to the chart for 2 round trip Y tickets.

My mother called me, very upset, and said she had spent an hour on the phone with US and there was "no availability" for any of the dates they could have traveled.

I opened up KVS, spent about a 1/2 hour, and pieced together SAN-YYZ-FCO and CDG-YYZ-ORD-SAN an AC/UA, called US pretending to be my father, and got them there & back no problem.

It's just frustrating because in reality these miles are *not* useless. It's just the phone agents don't do the legwork to really satisfy customers. I'm sure the agent my mother spoke to just types in "SAN to FCO" and the system brought up the most direct (likely US-only) options on which there was no availability and concretely said "Sorry Maam - we have nothing available that day." In actuality that was a complete lie.
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Old Feb 16, 12, 8:45 am
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To my reading, it looked like they had 480k in MileagePlus.
After the "advocate" became involved, they realized they could use their OnePass miles also. Of course, that is something that anyone could do (combine their accounts), so it's too mad the MP agents didn't suggest / ask about that.
Sounds like after combining, they had enough (over 500k) to book the flights using standard awards -- and UA happened to throw in another 10k for their troubles.
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