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Do the DOT rules apply to award bookings on foreign airline websites?
Do the DOT rules apply to award bookings on foreign airline websites? I’ve been planning a trip to SYD for months, based on the SQ website estimate of the miles required for LAX-HKG. Their site is usually correct, but in this case it priced a flight LAX-SIN-HKG as though it was a non-stop flight. Which is not a route they even fly.
After finally getting all segments of the trip available, including QA to SYD, and JAL FC back to LAX with AA miles, and virtually all of our AMEX and Chase points moved to KrisFlyer, this morning I booked the 3 segment SQ flight as a single package. Yes, it did price out when selected, at 50% more miles than originally quoted. Since it didn’t occur to me that they would increase the award price by that much mid-booking, and having no reason to assume I had a “mistake fare”, I didn’t notice and went ahead and booked it, paying the miles, fuel surcharges, and taxes.
Only when I went to book a subsequent SQ flight back from SYD to HKG did I notice we no longer had the SQ miles left to do that. Instead of the on-line price quote of 70K miles per person, SQ deducted 123K pp. Now they are reluctantly agreeing to put in a request to honor the booking at the originally quoted price, but telling me not to expect much. It being Easter weekend in SIN, I won’t hear from anyone until Monday.
This was not a temporary glitch, it’s been quoiting that price for the past few months that I was planning the trip. I obviously cannot move my Chase and AMEX points back where they came from, and would never have moved them in the first place had the SQ site quoted me the full price. Nor do I want to spend the whole 2 weeks in HG and miss out on SYD. Any advice would be appreciated.
@ Robert Hanson — Hmmm, did you get a screen shot? The price for LAX-NRT-SIN-HKG is indeed supposed to be the cumulative price of LAX-NRT-SIN and SIN-HKG. Sorry, that’s quite frustrating!
I have a screen shot, but I don’t really need it as this is not a mistake fare, it’s an error in their IT system though. There is a non-stop from SFO to HKG that does indeed price at the level the computer gave me. But that is supposed to only apply to non-stop flights. For some reason the website is giving out that price on the 3 flight routing. No way for me to have known that, of course.
As of now, nothing has changed in their online reservation system, and LAX-SIN-HKG is still initially pricing at the non-stop award price. Bait and switch, even if inadvertent. People plan trips and manage miles on the initially quoted price, and don’t tend to price out the ticket until they go to book it, at which time they get a nasty surprise. I guess not many people actually try to book LAX-SIN-HKG, so they probably haven’t been getting many complaints. One of the hazards of my being a dedicated travel hacker used to finding sweet spots in the system I guess.
I called SQ to cancel the booking, since they can’t have a manager contact me until early next week, which is well beyond the 24 hour free cancel period. They strongly requested I not cancel until I talk with a senior manager, so I guess they have more hope something will be done for me than they originally gave me. Based on thatI didn’t cancel, and am trusting that if they won’t give me the offer I thought I was booking, that they will at least let me cancel without a penalty, and use part of those miles later on to go just LAX-SIN, and on to Europe with CX instead of trying to get to SYD and back. Wish me luck…
@ Robert Hanson — Indeed! Please let me know what ends up happening. Good luck!