Baited, Switched and Screwed.
Next June, I’m going to London to see the first ever regular season major league baseball games to be played in the U.K.—the Boston Red Sox vs. the New York Yankees. That cannot be missed.
Don’t worry, I assured my wife, I’ll use my Hawaiian Airlines miles to get me to the West Coast, I’ll use my Amtrak Guest Reward points to get me from there to Chicago, and I’ve got plenty of American Airlines Aadvantage miles to take me from there to London and back.
My first pass on the American Airlines web site, showed four non-stop flights from O’Hare to London.
Oh … wait! I forgot to check the box to indicate I was going to pay for my trip with Advantage miles.
After backing up and clicking the “Redeem Miles” box, I entered a different world. First came the good news: I can fly Chicago-London-Chicago in Business Class for 57,500 miles each way. Then came the bad news—POW! POW! POW!
First Pow: I’n not offered any American Airlines flights. Instead, now my only choices are on British Air. Not a big deal, but . . .
Second Pow: British Air has only one non-stop flight and it’s a red-eye.
Third Pow: There’s a fee . . . almost $600 . . . each way! Whoa! American told me they would get me to London and back in Business Class for 115,000 miles. But they hand me off to British Air and B.A. tells me they’ll take me to London and back, but only for an additional twelve hundred bucks.
Of course I’m stuck because I’ve already bought tickets to the baseball games. (Please do not ask me what they cost.)
Bam #4 comes when I go onto the British Air web site to select my seat. *ka-ching! That’ll be an additional $111 . . . each way!
Bottom line: I’m going to London, but I’ve used up most of my American Airlines miles and I’ve shelled out about $1400 in fees.
I can hear my wife now: “But you said . . . “
Lesson learned – never use points to fly BA to Europe. The fuel surcharges are bad on economy, but outright robbery in biz/first. You’d be better off using United miles. Or really just about any other currency. Airline miles are much more complicated than Amtrak’s flatish 2.5 cents a point.
Understood, but I’m sitting here with a fistful of American and Hawaiian miles. I’ll use the latter to get to the mainland and back home. It’s Aadvantage miles or cash and that was something like $3,000 each way.
Does Bruce know about this?
He does by now!
If he didn’t have the same experience I’m really going to be upset!
(Bruce is going to travel with me next June.)
I always find reward programs so interesting. On Amtrak, you can get two roomettes on the Empire Builder for 32,000 points, but you need 158,000 points for bedrooms! There’s always the rewards program fees charged for each flight. There’s always a catch to getting a “free flight”. It’s so interesting to see how much money people will spend to see sports games.