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Points for Tickets...one seat only? WHAT?

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#1 kerryjbrown

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    Posted 02 January 2009 - 01:46 PM

    So...tried to use points yesterday to book our plane tickets to Bora Bora for the honeymoon. I called American Airlines as I am using their points on Air Tahiti Nui (the only way to get to Bora Bora). I tried to book First Class tickets as it is a long flight and we had saved 300k just for the flights knowing this is what it would cost. To my surprise, there is only one seat available for booking with points in first class (on any flight, at any time). They only release 1 seat for a points purchase option!

    I am so frustrated as I had not budgeted for paying for tickets for the flights! Has anyone heard this? Is this new with airlines so couples cannot both fly on points? I am so shocked, especially on a honeymoon flight (who else goes to Bora Bora?)

    #2 KatyKo

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      Posted 02 January 2009 - 01:51 PM

      That is very strange! I am not much of a traveler, but that doesn't seem right. Could you book two regular seats with your points? Maybe then, you could upgrade once you got to the airport?

      We used points to buy FI's flight, but only had enough for one seat, so we had to pay for the other. Good luck!!

      #3 MomentsThatMatter

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        Posted 02 January 2009 - 01:52 PM

        I know they limit the number of seats for points. But I've never heard of it being just 1... that sounds like a wee bit of a scam to me.
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        #4 Ayita

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          Posted 02 January 2009 - 02:34 PM

          I know they limit the number of seats but I never had the issue - I booked business class on Air France last summer with points and I could get two seats with no problem... by the way, Air France is going to Papeete... check flights out from Los Angeles, the flight is coming from Paris, makes a technical stop at LA, and then off to Papeete. From there there is a domestic flight to Bora Bora. I think they take incoming passengers in LA is some people only book the Paris-LA section of this flight, and they make everybody get out of the aircraft.

          #5 Amarillis

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            Posted 02 January 2009 - 04:19 PM

            That is a total scam... we went to Florida in November and used our points for business class travel... not quite first class but it was nice... I have never heard of that.

            #6 Andi


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              Posted 02 January 2009 - 04:41 PM

              I think all airlines are different in the total number of seats they make available for points.

              I do know however that they do limit the number of seats per flight that they make availabe for points bookings. Pretty sure they do this because if they didn't they would lose money on the flight (even more than most are losing already). Also they dont want a plane to go out with 1/2 of the seats being on point redemtions!

              We ran into this problem when booking for Puerto Vallarta. my parents wanted to use points but the flights they wanted did not have any seats available for point redemption (because they were booked already). So they just booked points for a different day/time.

              #7 Ayita

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                Posted 02 January 2009 - 04:51 PM

                yes, different airlines have different policies. For instance, I know some have black-out dates - dates where you just cannot use miles to book tickets. This said, only allowing you to get one seat is rough ! Do they have different "prices" for their seats ? Like, for AF, you can get "mini-miles" of "open-miles" fares. For mini-miles you will "pay" 90.000 miles and open-miles, 180.000 - so you double the price in miles but there are no more seat restrictions.

                For what it's worth - I would send them a hell of an email to tell them what I think of their policy and how customer-friendly their reward program is !

                #8 becks



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                Posted 02 January 2009 - 06:11 PM

                Been there, done this...

                Here's what I discovered when we did our booking.

                Air Tahiti Nui is an American partner. So, American only gets allocated a few seats on ATN for use with American points. If ATN says they only get one seat, then there is absolutely NOTHING American can do about it.

                You might call ATN directly and see what they can do - sometimes partnered airlines will allow you to transfer your miles to their reward system and then you'll have access to the seats that their reward fliers hav - but it's very rarely a 1-for-1 exchange.

                Alternatively, can you push your honeymoon back? We booked our tickets almost a year in advance (actually prior to booking our DW) - the further out you can book your honeymoon, the better chance you'll have of getting 2 seats.

                We ended up using my Continental OnePass rewards to book on Air France (business class - 2 seats, no problems), which had the HUMUNGOUS benefit of no customs line - virtually everyone on the flight was European and had a different customs line than the Americans did. On the other hand, everyone we talked to who flew ATN had a massive wait in customs because everyone their flight was American.

                Good luck with your search!

                Happily married since 2008

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                #9 kristendotcom

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                  Posted 03 January 2009 - 03:06 PM

                  I had the same problem with American. They told me the same thing for when I tried to book 2 flights to Hawaii. We got one flight for 35,000 miles but the other flight I actually had to purchase miles and use 70,000. They told me only one seat gets the low super saver fare or whatever they call it. How frustrating!

                  #10 nylalany

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                    Posted 05 January 2009 - 02:53 PM

                    I'm pretty sure I read on an airline forum (flyertalk or something) that there is always only 1 seat in First Class and 1 seat in Business Class for AA miles on Air Tahiti Nui. Nothing to do about when you buy it or anything - that is it, just 1 in each. And you can't upgrade if you buy an economy with miles as far as I know (but maybe I'm wrong). It totally sucks. One person mentioned buying one in each and then trading down with someone so they were both in business, but that seems like a waste of miles.

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