I’ve quite literally lost it with this ridiculous excuse for a loyalty program. As someone that just about books award tickets for people full time, this is probably the busiest week of the year for me thanks to the British Airways devaluation that’s kicking in on November 16. Not only are they making a radical change to their loyalty program which is more or less going to destroy the award chart for those in the US, but they’re refusing to announce the new chart until November 16, which is the day it goes into effect.
Despite public outrcry they’ve remained firm on their stance without giving any sort of justification, thinking they’re somehow doing us a service by not showing us the new award chart until the day it kicks in (then again based on how bad I suspect the new chart will look, they probably are doing us a service).
So suffice it to say the British Airways Executive Club call centers are an absolute mess and the agents are grouchy as ever, as the hold times are often 30+ minutes. I can handle all that, because it’s understandable since everyone is trying to redeem their miles right now.
What I can’t handle, which has been a common theme over the past week, is that British Airways is extensively blocking partner award availability that even their own website shows!
I thought it was an isolated incident when I was trying to make a booking for a client to South America on LAN. The availability showed up on British Airways’ own search tool, yet the call center couldn’t find the space for two of the four flights. Mind you, I had the agents “direct sell” the space, which will make the space show up if it is in fact there. In the past the only place I had this issue was with Dragonair flights out of Beijing (oddly enough, it’s quite random).
But on all four British Airways awards I’ve worked on this morning, availability on the website hasn’t matched what’s actually there. This is for travel on both Cathay Pacific and LAN.
So the website will say there are eight award seats remaining, but after you enter the credit card information to make the booking, there’s an error message saying to contact Executive Club.
If it were an isolated incident that would be one thing, but of the flights I’m looking at, just about every third segment is having this issue. And it’s not that this is “phantom” award space, because Qantas also shows the space as being available. When phoning up the call center they claim the space isn’t there, which, as far as their systems are concerned, is correct.
On my last call I requested a supervisor because I wanted to bring the discrepancy to their attention, but the agent refused to transfer me — “this isn’t something that we would connect you to a supervisor for.”
Sorry, but the timing on this is just far too convenient. British Airways, are you having some widespread system meltdown or is this intentional? Or can you only answer that question after November 16?
Anyone else having the same issues?