Credit Card Miles

Credit Card Miles 2016-01-31T19:41:50-07:00

Dear Joel,

I read about your “conquests” of the airline industry with great admiration. I am stuck in a rather uncommon spot, and would truly value your advice.

I am a member of Singapore Airlines’ Krisflyer FFP, and have around 330,000 miles, mostly through credit card incentives with around 30,000 from flying, all on full-fare business.

I have put in a request for a redemption ticket on business class from Singapore to Newark, plus two round trip upgrades from unrestricted economy (full-fare & confirmed) to business for my family flying with me, but have been told that the quotas for “I” (restricted business) class have all been filled, that they could not do anything as my redemptions are on “I” class and they cannot override the quotas, and have been put on waitlist with a “very slim chance” of securing confirmed seats. Yet, when I checked with the airline, only 6 out of the 64 seats on the flight have been filled. Is there any way to increase my chances in getting the tickets confirmed?

I really look forward to your advice.

Thank You,
Arhshath Kaleni


edited question

Answered by The Penny Pincher

Hi Arhshath,

Unfortunately, this is an all too common problem. The reason for this is somewhat of a catch-22 situation. This rationing of seats is due to the sheer number of miles outstanding—some 9 trillion. As in your case most miles are earned from credit card purchases not from flying.

Although not a de-facto rule, airlines tend to be more yielding to customers who earn their miles from flights.

You have something in your favor that trumps all—two full-fare tickets. Occasionally, airlines, including Singapore, offer an automatic upgrade for full-fare passengers and depending on the time of year a free companion ticket.

Here’s what I recommend.

First, understand the rationale behind the airlines’ yield management. The farther out the flight date the more inventory or seats are held in hopes of generating revenue. As the flight date approaches, and unsold seats are still in inventory, award and upgrades become more obtainable. In some cases, airlines do not make any award seats available until a few weeks before the flight’s departure date. I suspect this is the situation with your flight.

In short, the farther in time the flight, the fewer seats available for awards. A flight with open seats in the near future will offer better award opportunities.

Keeping this in mind, call Singapore Airline’s and request a supervisor, then plead your case telling him how disappointed you are with the airlines’ inflexibility, after paying full-fare for two tickets and earning points with them. Tell them that this is not something you would expect from a quality airline.

If the supervisor is unwilling to assist you, politely thank him and hang up. You don’t want to have the supervisor mark you record with a negative remark.

The next step is to contact Singapore Airline’s executive office or the local office in your country. Again, plead your case assertively but not aggressively.

Stress your loyalty and that you have purchased two-full-fare tickets.

It might take a little work, but I’m confident you should get what you’re looking for.

Thanks for the question. Please let me know how it works out.