A whole lot o' nothing. And then some….
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Unfair Miles

OK. Hands up those of you who’ve tried to book reward travel using air miles.

Anyone who was unsuccessful can drop your hands now.

I’m guessing there ain’t a lot of hands left flying out there.

I am one of those who use my Visa…oops, I mean my credit card … to rack up the points. The pricier the item, the better to fly away on my dears. So why is it when you go to book these flights, there never seem to be any seats on the flights you want? To make matters worse, if you are lucky enough to have some magic golden horseshoe up your butt and snag a seat, you then have to pay (on your points-gathering credit card of course) to go for free. HUH??

My grandfather (bless his soul, rest in peace and all that) flew up a storm. Every 3 weeks he shlepped from Toronto to Ft Lauderdale. For months. And years. Obviously he collected points and, being the pre-war, first generation immigrant that he was, never used them. So get this: one day, he has a heart attack. In Florida. And as any Canadian, first gen or otherwise knows: do not get sick in the USA!! Immediately his wife, my grandmother, made arrangements to get him home. At last, she thought, I’ll use those airmiles. The ones we’ve been collecting since the program began. But guess what? As the clock ticked away on my Zaidy and his ticker, the folks at the Airline (no names=no lawsuits) told them there were no seats. Forced to pay the old fashioned way, the g’parents headed home to health care. When my grandfather emerged, relatively unscathed with a new pacemaker and a new attitude, he took the airlines on. He sent them letters, made some phone calls and finally, they paid him back – in airmiles of course.

These days, the credit card companies have wised up. They’ve realized there’s a market for cards that actually let you spend your miles. No shortage of seats, no blackout periods, no restrictions on carriers – nothing to stop you jetting away. Oh no, wait – there is one little itty thang; the tax. And did I mention the other “fees”? Lord help you if you dare to change your ticket. Ka-ching, ka-ching.

So, let’s get back to me (actually my man, D, but we’re just counting miles stuff here). A Toronto-NYC flight on a cheap ‘n cheerful airline (don’t get me started on our national biggie) retails for $250 (plus tax).That translates into $350 worth of reward travel via the go anytime/anyplace credit card. A mere $15000 in spending and you’re ready to fly for fee. I mean, free. After the tax (which you pay) and $40 to the airline for a date change, not to mention another $25 to the credit card (again, for the change) the price continues to rise. And you pay for it. I’m no mathematician but that’s seems like a lot of cash for a freebie.

Let’s just hope you’re not delayed.


Fearful flyer said…

Love the blog – it’s funny. I’m disturbed by the airmiles posting – I have a gold travel visa on which I’ve racked up a ridiculous number of points and haven’t yet tried to use them. In the back of my mind I’ve been anticipating problems when I finally go to book something, but in the meantime, I spend, spend, spend with that g-d card. Am I really going to get screwed? I was hoping to book flights in the fall to NY or London. Do tell friend.



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