Christmas Vacation is cancelled–Review of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

This post has nothing to do with groceries but it has to do with saving money and using credit card reward points.

Christmas Vacation is cancelled this year.

My wife and I had planned to visit our family in Thunder Bay, Ontario for Christmas.

It was really special for me, my first Christmas as an entire family (I have been married for 1 1/2 years).

grinch_santaTo take advantage of my Alaska Airlines Mileage program miles, I booked a reservation with their rewards partner Kenmore Air in October to get to Seattle. We scheduled another airline (Sun Country) to get us to Minneapolis. From Minneapolis we would stay 1 night in a hotel and take a bus to Duluth, Minnesota where my younger brother would pick us up.

This morning my wife and I arrived at the floatplane terminal in Victoria (Kenmore) and were told they would not be flying out because of the wind. The Kenmore agent told me that since I booked my reservation through Alaska Airlines mileage that they should honour the cancelled reservation to Seattle through Alaska’s other airline, Horizon.

After speaking to several different call center agents and their supervisor, I was told that to get to Seattle with Horizon I would need to spend:

  1. $387 + taxes for each person = $774 + taxes. OR
  2. Spend 32,000 miles + booking fees.

When I informed the call center agent that I didn’t have the budget room or the miles and I would like to cancel my Kenmore reservation and get a refund. I was told then that I would need to pay $100 to get my 20,000 miles that I used for the original booking back on my account and I would not be able to receive my ticketing fee or booking fee.

At this point I spoke to her manager and she told me that the agent misspoke and I would not pay to get the miles back on my account.

When I asked one last time if there was anything she could do – explaining the scenario that my connecting flight was being cancelled – she told me that there was nothing she can do.

After posting to the Alaska Airlines Twitter account, they sent me a DM on Twitter and credited me several miles on my account. They also told me about alternate routes to get to Seattle. I want to give a compliment to their web support team – they did an amazing job responding ASAP. The rewards mile agents get a major FAIL from me.

alaska_airlines_twitter

Unfortunately, I had already cancelled my connecting flight after receiving the previous bad news from the call center supervisor. I had already informed my family and nieces that were expecting us to arrive shortly.

It was personally disappointing letting down my family this time of year.

Lesson from the story

When using Alaska Airlines Mileage plan miles for a reward with a partner airline and that airline cancels the flight – Alaska Airlines will help you eventually. Don’t expect any help or assistance from their call center Partner Desk.

Steven Zussino

Steven Zussino is the co-founder of Grocery Alerts Canada. He loves to help Canadians save money on groceries. He also runs the blog, CanadianTravelHacking.com.

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