Today I caught up with some booking needs from American Airlines, basically getting us back from our upcoming trip to Monterey, CA where we will be spending our ‘babymoon’ at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, I picked that hotel to use up my two free nights from the Hyatt credit card after reviewing what I feel to be the best value locations – if you have those certificates too and don’t know where to spend them maybe reading this post would help: The Best Hyatts Worldwide to use your two free nights
We decided to fly Business Class on American Airlines, two low cost award (MilesAAver) tickets would have cost 50,000 AAdvantage for the domestic route, and it was possible to bolt on a future trip to Europe (non stop on Iberia in Business Class) for an additional 50,000 total. From American’s perspective I booked us from MRY-NYC, stopover for 9 months and onto Madrid, it seems to them that we are living in California and visiting New York before heading to Spain, and who am I to tell them otherwise? That is the value in adding a free stopover to the ticket. Total price was 100K AAdvantage plus $217 for both our tickets (they did charge us 2x$25 fees for the phone booking, but when I asked if they would waive them they did – always ask!)
I opted to pay with my Platinum American Express card and use their $200 annual airline fee reimbursement to bring the out of pocket costs for the two tickets down to $17, not too shabby!
When I was taking care of this booking I also signed up for a targeted promotion which offered me AAdvantage Gold til May 2014 for free and til 2015 for flying just 6000 miles, and as a sweetener they threw in 10x 500 mile upgrade stickers just for signing up.
I doubt I will fly the 6000 miles because I don’t really see the need to pay for flights anymore, but sometimes things come up, and since signing up not only costs nothing, it also grants the free stickers, I would be a fool not to.
Bug #1 Ticketed or Not?
The App says I am ticketed, the website says I am ticketed, but then I open up the reservation and it is instead showing ‘on request’ typically this is because they are waiting for their partner airline to confirm the seat is OK, so we are waiting on Iberia.
It’s somewhat annoying since you think you are all set, but really this ticket could vanish as it is not locked in yet, despite what it says on both the app and the site.
Bug #2 Book another trip for free?
Interestingly, when I checked my phone to see if the reservation was there, not only did it show me that I was suddenly Advantage Gold, but I also had a ticketed reservation AND 100,500 miles in my account.
I went through and took another booking up to the credit card page, it clearly would have allowed me to book, but I was worried that since the Bug #1 outlined above was showing as not fully ticketed that if I spent the miles again it might cause issues with the reservation that I really needed.
All in all, I am not sure what to make of this, I am happy that the Gold status is granted immediately of course, but I didn’t feel confident enough to book another ticket for free during this ‘on request status’ that is mainly because either one of these awards would take my balance to 500 miles – if I had a hefty balance where I could theoretically afford to book both tickets it would certainly be an interesting thing to test out….
Hopefully my award ticket will be confirmed shortly, and I hope for my own sake that they deduct the 100K miles at that point also, since it will be rather tempting to check out a couple of tickets to Tokyo in Business for $10 if not, just in the sake of scientific experimentation of course!
Again, this brings up the moral issue… I am pretty sure that if anyone booked that first ticket and it just ‘forgot’ to deduct the miles they wouldn’t call in to tell AA, but if someone was to be a little more proactive about things and book another trip whilst the system was wondering about debiting them, that would be an outrageous fraud. Ethics are a strange beast.