I know I said no more Wednesday Reviews, but I have been planning my South American adventure and trying to book seats through Qantas Frequent Flyer and I feel I really need to share my experiences because I have nearly pulled out all my hair in the last week and a half trying to make my itinerary work!
Let’s just say it’s been a frustrating process, to say the least. I’ve been trying to book for my wife who’s just coming to Argentina, and for other flights for myself. And frankly, it’s enough to make you scream and throw your computer across the room.
Earning points, I should say, has been actually pretty easy. With my credit cards I am raking in the points and just got a Platinum Amex which will get me some 60,000 bonus points, so my account is looking pretty healthy. But try booking to South America, or internally South America, and you find that it’s really hard to get a booking on the day you want, and then there’s the routing.
Your points are used per mile you fly right, so the longer the journey, the more points you use. So why is it Qantas that you can fly from Sydney to Santiago easily enough, however, go from Sydney to Buenos Aires, and suddenly you are routed through DOHA.
Yes. In the Middle East. Qatar.
90,000 points return Sydney to Santiago. 212,000 points one way to Buenos Aires. It’s 14,000 points from Santiago to Buenos Aires. However, no flights available on the same day. And coming back is a similar problem.
Tried to book Melbourne to Santiago on points, and it gives me these alternative routes –
Melbourne – Adelaide – Sydney – Auckland – Santiago.
Melbourne – Brisbane – Sydney – Auckland – Santiago.
So that’s a lot more points again. It’s a bit of a joke really. What I will end up doing is taking Sydney to Santiago and Santiago to Melbourne (which is surprisingly only a one stop flight), and then buying my wife her ticket from Santiago to Buenos Aires return, as well as doing a separate booking for Melbourne to Sydney.
Insanity indeed! Now take my predicament. I was trying to get a frequent flyer booking from Santiago to Quito. It routed me through MIAMI. I wanted to try Montevideo to Rio, Montevideo is not even on the list on the website. So to book I would need to use the phone service. Where I waited 45 minutes and hung up. Then at night as they are 24 hours, waited over 30 minutes and hung up.
Go through eventually on Sunday after repeatedly pressing ‘replay options’ and was put through to a call back service. No idea why it didn’t happen before. I think because I kept pressing buttons I was lucky somehow.
It’s 6,000 points booking fee or $60. Santiago to Quito was via Montevideo (which you couldn’t select on the website) and Lima over about a day and a half. 35,000 points economy. When you use the points calculator to see how much you need (presumably) direct flight it’s 14,000 points. But with all the zig-zagging and extra flights it’s bumped up by 21,000.
I love the idea of rewards bookings, but sometimes, seriously… it’s a bit of a joke and the customer is the butt of it.
Take care. Rant over. May the Journey Never End!