Yesterday I told the tale of the points guru, yours truly, coming up with an innovative way of getting out of the points prison known as Mongolia.
The plan was brilliant, the Excel documented fully outlined with flight numbers, dates, and destinations. Then I did something that I never do; I told everyone that I had unlocked a great redemption. This was a fatal mistake.
This morning I woke up, ready to book after checking and rechecking all the parameters. First, I decided to take down the easy reservation: HKG to BKK using Avios for 7500 points and $15 cash. That went off without a hitch .
The next booking was the ace up my sleeve against the United devaluation, Lifemiles points. I inputted the dates and locations, ULN to HKG and noticed that the points required had gone up. I did it again and again and in incognito mode, it still was higher. I googled Lifemiles devaluation as I had heard some rumblings about it coming up.
Stupid me, its effective date was October 15th. Annoyed, I rationalized that the extra miles weren’t that big of a deal because the ticket would still be free. Actually, I hit refresh and cleared my browser again then contemplated if I could call and make up some excuse. Then I realized that Avianca customer service is the worst and bit the bullet.
Booking time came and guess what? Barclays put a freeze, like they always do when I book flights on my account. I confirmed via email that the Avios booking was legitimate and went back to the Lifemiles page. Surprise number two, the flights were gone! Refresh, clear cache, clear my head. Flights still gone.
Hours later having gone through the same process, I still couldn’t find the flights.
I turned my attention to the return flights where I used 20,000 United miles to fly from BKK back to ULN. Same thing, the flight I wanted disappeared forcing me to book a day earlier and incur the close in booking fee of $75. On tilt, I paid $350 for a flight from ULN to HKG to complete my itinerary.
All set ready to go! No. I wasn’t excited at all.
Here’s what I wanted and here’s what I ended up with.
Lifemiles 17.5k to Hong Kong (1 Night)
7500 + $35 British Avios to BKK (3 Nights)
$50 Air Asia to Phuket (3 Nights)
20,000 United Miles back to ULN
Total: $100 in taxes
$350 Hunnu Air (don’t ask) to Hong Kong (1 night)
20,000 + $111 in taxes on United to ULN (skipping Phuket for Pattaya because I’m boycotting aviation as much as possible in reaction to Lifemiles devaluation). (3 Nights in each)
Undoubtedly one of my worst redemptions ever.
I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t that bad, that they all can’t be winners. Moments later, I found myself on the phone cancelling all the flights. I agree that churn n burn is the best strategy for points but this would’ve tarnished my resume and ruined any chance I had at a promising career as an awards booker.
Sometimes it’s better to give up and stay home…till tomorrow when I’m back at it again.
Churn wisely my friends.