Lesson Learned: My Friend’s ~$1,000 Airfare Booking Mistake (And Why He’ll Always Pay With a Chase Credit Card Now)

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Lesson Learned: My Friend’s ~$1,000 Airfare Booking Mistake (And Why He’ll Always Pay With a Chase Credit Card Now)

KeithLesson Learned: My Friend’s ~$1,000 Airfare Booking Mistake (And Why He’ll Always Pay With a Chase Credit Card Now)Million Mile Secrets Team

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But unlike some other travel cards, which have excellent travel protection benefits, the AMEX Platinum does NOT provide coverage for mishaps like trip delays or cancellations.  And not having this coverage cost my friend dearly.

Here’s what happened.  He booked 2 separate flight reservations through the AMEX travel portal.  First, he booked a United Airlines flight from North Carolina to Newark.  Then, he purchased a round-trip Norwegian Air ticket from Newark to Barcelona.

Because of a significant delay on his first flight, he was 3 hours late arriving in Newark and missed his flight to Barcelona.  Norwegian Air canceled his ticket and AMEX travel said there was nothing they could do.  So my buddy ended up losing ~$1,000, the cost of the round-trip ticket.  Plus, he ended up paying out of pocket for another flight to Europe, which could have been avoided had he paid for his trip with one of the best travel insurance credit cards.

Missed Connections Are Not Uncommon! That’s Why Paying for Airfare With the Best Travel Insurance Credit Cards Should Be a Top Priority!

Here’s why my friend will always pay for travel with Chase Sapphire Reserve moving forward.

You’re entitled to up to $500 per ticket for you, your spouse or domestic partner, and any immediate family on your reservation after a delay of 6+ hours.  That’s HALF the time of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  So you’re MUCH more likely to use this perk.

Even though my friend didn’t have a 6+ hour delay, I’ve read plenty of successful data points for folks using this coverage after a missed connection.  For example, I read about a cardholder who got $625 back for 2 tickets to cover the cost of an overnight hotel stay, Uber, dinner, and incidental items at Walgreens.

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders are also covered up to $10,000 per person per covered trip (maximum $20,000 per occurrence) for trip cancellation & interruption claims.  If my friend paid with the Sapphire Reserve, he would have likely been able to file a claim under this benefit, too.

My friend’s story is a reminder that sometimes earning the most points for a purchase isn’t the best strategy.  It’s a good idea to check your card’s benefits to see if it could potentially save you money if something goes wrong.

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Why didn’t he contact Norwegian to put him on the next flight if possible?
Flights are delayed 3 hours all the time, so why would CSR pay out if a 6+ hour delay is required?
Since Norwegian is so dependent on these types of self constructed itineraries, I would think they would be the most likely to accommodate the customer even if they had to charge a 200$ per ticket change fee, and that would be the worst case.

Author

Because he was delayed and missed the flight, Norwegian cancelled his itinerary. He booked his flight through the AMEX travel portal, so Norwegian told him he would have to contact AMEX to get rebooked. And AMEX was unwilling to rebook.

Missed connections can fall under the trip delay coverage because in reality, he was delayed much more than 3 or 6 hours. He had to pay out of pocket to book a new flight 36 hours later.

I’m pretty surprised that Chase’s benefits administrator is willing to cover these sort of scenarios.

I think you need to dig into the details in a lot more depth though. Lets break this scenario down a bit further. Lets make the assumption that by the time he arrives into EWR there aren’t any more flights to BCN…so he needs to spend the night in EWR and catch a flight the next day. Here are the potential expenses that I can think of off the top of my head:

1. UA Ticket from NC to EWR
2. Norwegian ticket from EWR-BCN
3. Meals and 1 hotel night in EWR
4. Lets assume he had a prepaid hotel reservation in BCN…since he’s arriving a day late that means he “lost” this first night of his hotel reservation
5. Lets say he also had a prepaid tour activity on his first day in BCN…he will miss this too
6. Since Norwegian auto-cancelled his RT ticket when he no-showed that means he needs to buy new round-trip flights from EWR-BCN

So out of these six expenses, what are you saying would and would not be covered?

Author

Hi HoKo – you gave a lot of great reasons why I carry the Sapphire Reserve in my wallet. Many items you listed would be covered under the card’s Trip Cancellation & Interruption benefit, which covers $10,000 per person per covered trip (maximum $20,000 per occurrence). Like any insurance claim, you’ll have to submit supporting documentation and the final say is up to the administrator. But from my experience and reading other data points, trip insurance coverage with credit cards can be an AMAZING benefit!

Keith, could you please be more specific. From your experience, which of the items provided by HoKo will be covered by Chase Sapphire Reserve? Will Sapphire Preferred cover the same items?

I am surprised as all bloggers promoting “Mistake stories” that make a sell for them.

I sent my true mistake story on how I transferred 120k SPG points to Asiana where it is sitting now totally useless because of their ridiculous fees. I wanted readers to be aware and not to tricked into this “great cheap” award program as I was.

After several weeks that story is still yet to be published…

Can you explain Fx, what happened?

Here is my recent experience with Asiana Club mileage program. This program has been promoted heavily by all blogger as the best mileage program for US-Europe business awards. However, in reality it is not correct.

Planning trip to Europe and reading that I can get an OW business class award on Star Alliance airlines for 40k Asiana Club miles, I transferred 120k from SPG to a newly created Asiana account. I needed 3 Business Class tickets from USA to Europe on Star Alliance partners from West Coast. These tickets are not easy to find. Few weeks ago when I finally found 3 award business seats on Lufthansa DEN-FRA, I jumped on my Asiana Club account to book. Only on a final step of that booking it was disclosed to me that I will be charged $2,200+ USD!!! in taxes and fees (for 3 people) in addition to miles for this flight. I spent several hours on a phone with Asiana USA call center, assuming it was a mistake on their Korean website. When, after extremely long hold I spoke with an agent, he advised me it was an actual fee. Really?!! And it is not listed anywhere on their website?! Plus, it is not possible to see taxes and fees on a specific flight if no award ticket is available for the airline?!

Previously I use Korean Air mileage program with very pleasant experience, and expected similar from Asiana. Not a case! Long call waiting. Calls are dropped. When you get someone on a phone, you are only getting “we are sorry, it is what it is” and not a solution or willingness to help. Reservation website is very unresponsive and difficult to do searches.

Unfortunately, the tickets I needed gone quickly. And I could book them on United Airline website for 70k miles only $40 USD in taxes and fees.

After my recent ordeal I was trying to find more accurate information about this program. Please note, several blogs mention fees charged by Asiana. However, they state such fees as $100-$200. $750 (KRW 734200) per ticket is not mentioned even once. Using 1.7-1.8 valuation of UA miles, $750 can buy you 42k+ miles. Therefore, Asiana 40k award effectively becomes 80k+ award, not mentioning that I wasted very valuable SPG points.

I believe my story will help other travelers to avoid losing their miles to Asiana.

Yeah that’s pretty high surcharges. Most of that is gonna be coming from fuel surcharges – also known as YQ/YR. You can check ITA matrix for a given route to get an idea of what to expect….but a lot of times award ticket surcharges don’t exactly match what ITA Matrix shows.

I assume this ticket was on LH? They are known to have really high surcharges, try a different star alliance carrier and u might have better luck

Author

Many travelers can probably relate to my friend’s story. I usually check the fees for an award flight before transferring points. This can help you avoid having a bunch of useless miles in your account.

This post is very misleading. He did not miss a connection. Trip insurance would not cover this because technically his “trip” — the second booking — had not yet begun.

Author

Hi Robert – there are different types of travel insurance. The Sapphire Reserve Benefits Guide states trip interruption kicks in for many reasons, including if severe weather prevents a reasonable and prudent person
from beginning or continuing on a Covered Trip. Key word here is “continuing.” You can have separate reservations and still fall into a continuing trip. It’s always a good idea to read the fine print or reach out to the benefits administrator before you travel to check your specific coverages.