4 years ago, I started “travel hacking.” I have always focused on earning the points and miles with some kind of spend. Optimizing the usage of points and miles is a weakness of mine. As an example, I don’t know the fancy routing rules to utilize a stop over or open jaw of a program. My overall understanding of things is pretty good. It’s the execution like the example above that’ll cause a hiccup, which leads to my $4000 mistake.
The mistake stems from trying to secure a China visa for my mom. The consulate required travel documents to China like a flight and hotel reservations. This should be easy, right? Book a refundable airline ticket and make a hotel reservation and then submit. Unfortunately, some where along the process I booked a non refundable ticket business class ticket. I figured that business class tickets should be more flexible than economy to start. I thought I had carefully read through the documentation on the ticket and committed to the right ticket.
After the visa was secured, I cancelled the reservation expecting it to automatically show in a few days. After two weeks, the refund did not show up on my credit card. I called United Airlines to find out that I was booked in a non refundable P class.
What is the lesson to be learned? Be extremely careful before committing to purchasing it and get another set of eyes just in case. The plus side is that I still have credit with United. The downside is that I need to book my mom to a cheap flight to a destination she may or may not want to go and use the difference as a travel credit and use it on myself. The downside is that I now have $4000 I have to use on United.