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Messages - shmuels2

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181
On The Road / Re: New Pointbreaks!
« on: October 06, 2014, 10:38:12 PM »
Here's a little tidbit some of you may be interested in:

When the new PointBreaks was released, I found 2 weeks at the Crown Plaza at the end of November for 5k a night. Having zero IHG points, I tried BOTH transferring from Chase UR and buying from points.com in order to begin the points acquisition trick. Neither method showed up instantly. I called with the intention of having them advance me points or something like that, and was told that it 1) couldn't be done (contrary to others' experience), and 2) wasn't necessary because I could book it at the discounted cash rate and then later change the reservation to points. I voiced my concern that by that time that room rate would undoubtedly be gone and was assured that no matter, since I had it locked down when it was that rate I could later change it, regardless of inventory. I double and triple checked that point.

Well, silly me. When the points cleared, the availability was of course gone. I called and was told as much, repeatedly, my protestations notwithstanding. Even told them I had made a nonrefundable ticket based on the knowledge that this was to be available, and now had no place I could afford to stay. After going around in circles for some time, I was finally referred to a senior case manager. Who was much more understanding. But still unable to do much beyond try to get in touch with the hotel explain the situation to them, and have them release inventory at that rate of their own accord. Obviously not happening in Israel. In fact, they won't even communicate with her.

So at this point she's offering me a)20k IHG points or b)if I book a stay of at least three nights, they'd comp one. I'm leaning toward the points, not least because of the highly unfavorable reviews I've found of the place.

I'm also hoping to dispute the charges related to amassing the miles with amex (about $450 worth), we'll see how that goes.

Anyhow, there's my cautionary tale, don't be dumb like me. And maybe record your phone calls.

Any other ideas of how I might be compensated for their agent's misspeaking? 

182
Up In The Air / Re: BA Avios question(s)
« on: September 07, 2014, 03:50:55 PM »
Figured out a way to get around error issue by adding a 3 dollar donation... New issue is that it doesn't let me select a date for the dob.

Thanks, this finally worked for me! I selected "other" and donated $1. We'll see if it pulls the DOB from my profile.

183
Newbie here, and I'm not sure if this has been discussed, but here's an interesting post about finding cheaper fares by making it appear that you're from somewhere other than the departure city.

http://www.josecasanova.com/blog/how-i-hacked-kayak-and-booked-a-cheaper-flight/

Edit: from the discussion here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7105307

"No. I work for an OTA (not Kayak). First of all airlines file their fare rules and OTAs don't change the prices, and generally airlines pay around $10 to us to book a RT fare so there is little room to discount. Kayak is a meta which means all they do is present prices they are given from their partners (either via a feed or scrape) and then send them to the partner who shares the fee. Southwest (as others have mentioned) is not available in the US as a business choice. Kayak also heavily caches the fares (everyone does to make performance better) and inventory changes a lot especially in close by dates. Seeing cached prices of a cached price means the actual price can change a lot from searching to booking. Note the final price is only determined when you hit a booking page, everything before that is cached and might be fairly stale. Of course they can be errors in pricing since the fare rules are crazy complicated and often the difference in fares might be all the taxing entities. Each country, county, city, airport and cow pasture might affect the final price so it's possible that a country where you are booking might affect this (our customers are mostly in the US) but I doubt it.
tldr - lucky "hacker""

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