Thursday, July 20, 2006

Frequent Flyer Miles and the reality of our trip to Hawaii

We have been thinking about our trip to Hawaii since we returned from our last one in 2004. My dad has a time-share in Maui and we get to use it every 3 years (my siblings get it the alternating years). Our next turn in 2007. To make this trip possible, we are using frequent flyer miles that my husband and I have been hording like kids with ice cream cones. We have enough saved for 4 super saver tickets!

The trick with frequent flyer (FF) tickets is that you book them 330 days before your trip. You figure out what that day is and then you start calling around 12midnight Eastern. They don't have many tickets - the last time we tried this, the family before us got all the 7 allocated seats. We no longer mess around.

Husband called the airline about 4 weeks ago to confirm the date that we could start calling for tickets. It was July 16th. Since we were not sure when they would be released, we started calling at 9pm.

When you call, as you are waiting to talk to someone on the phone, you get the message that you could save $15 by booking the tickets on-line. What they don't tell you is that the on-line system is not programmed to allow this to happen, thereby ensuring that you need to talk to a live customer service agent to make it happen. $60 for 4 tickets to Hawaii is not bad, I rationalize.

At 9pm, the person on the other end nicely told us that the flights were not yet in the system. But, did we realize that we could not actually book our return at the same time, because they can only hold the seats for 3 days and our return is going to be 14 days after we leave. Huh? I suggested we call back and get someone better on the phone.

At 10:15pm we call again, the tickets are still not ready, but the person was way more helpful, and said it would not be a problem to book the return flights.

Husband goes to bed (I had a 2hour nap in the afternoon, I was not tired). 11pm, I call again, still no seats available, but the person on the other end is very helpful and I wish the seats were available because I think she would be nice to work with.

1:30am - Husband gets out of bed to go potty and decides to call again - gets through - I hear a lot of "yes, yes, 4 seats, yes, June 13th, yes, yes"...sounded good to me. The whole conversation took 8 minutes, felt like forever. He gets back in bed, we do a little high-five and go back to sleep.

When I talked with him this morning, he said he had the best, most helpful person on the phone who confirmed that we just need to call back in 2 weeks to confirm the return portion of our trip.

So, now I can begin the dance of joy over our trip to Hawaii in 2007!!

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