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As I mentioned in my last post, there is a great promotion going on right now where if you transfer American Express Membership Rewards (MR) to British Airways you get a 50% points bonus. That is amazing! We took advantage of this deal by transferring 34,000 AMEX MR yesterday so we could book The Man’s parents tickets to come visit after the holidays. We booked two domestic round-trip tickets for 25,000 miles a piece through British Airways but on American flights. We gave them a similar Christmas present last year, and were excited to be able to do it again this year. The points transferred with no problem, but when I went to book online with British Airways, the system kept throwing numerous errors for no apparent reason. I decided to call it quits last night and try again this morning.
Well, this morning it was the same error-ridden story. It is SO annoying to enter all the travel dates, times, passenger names, birthdays, phone numbers, credit card info, etc….. just to get error messages at the end of it all. With anything travel-related (and especially with reward tickets) inventory can change in a moment’s notice, so I was not going to risk the seats I wanted disappearing any longer. I called into British Airways, as the error message indicated, and basically started the conversation off saying that I have been trying for 12 hours on the website and it hasn’t worked. I then nicely explained that I did not want to pay the $20 per ticket fee for booking over the telephone since I would rather book online if their lame-o system would just work! The customer service rep got her supervisor to waive the telephone fee and proceeded to book my awards without a problem.
The only weird thing was that since I was not traveling on the tickets, they required two different credit card numbers from me. They said both have to have the same billing address. I assume it is for verification purposes, but it was a little strange. They said that if you book online you only need one credit card. Weird. Nonetheless, it worked and now Little C’s out-of-state grandparents will be coming for a visit early next year, hurray!!
This experience highlights that it can sometimes be a little work to get “free” flights. Total I probably spent about an hour trying online or on the phone. It felt like an eternity, but in the grand scheme it was very little work to set up what will hopefully be a great weekend for all involved and that is the point of all of this.
This picture of C and her Grandma was taken during this year’s February “Christmas Present” trip.