Category Archives: Airlines

Airlines

Lifemiles increases award cancellation fees by up to 4X

So file this one under “why we can’t have nice things”. Everyone’s favourite South American airline, Avianca, has quadrupled the cancellation fees for Lifemiles award tickets.

As per OMAAT, Lifemiles now charges up to US$200 to cancel an award ticket, versus US$50 before. You can read more posts about this on the FT thread and this Aussie FF thread.

Ben at OMAAT suggests that there are 2 scenarios

  • If your award ticket is within 1 region (eg start in North America, end in North America), your cancellation fee is US$50
  • If your award ticket goes from 1 region to another (eg start in North America, end in Singapore), your cancellation fee is US$200

That said, other people are reporting different- user Tokyoite on FT reports that this varies by cabin class as well.

The logic I see so far is that,
– cancel fee varies between F , J and Y redemptions.
– intra-region is USD 100/ticket/person to refund. as per the site (F & J award)
– inter-region is USD 200/ticket/person to refund. as per the site (F award. J is USD 100)

– Existing tickets are not affected (tickets still show USD 50/ticket).
– Call-center is still clueless and they still say USD 50/ticket

Here’s my experience with some dummy bookings-

  • SIN-SFO in Business Class, US$200 refund fee

  • SIN-JFK in First Class, US$200 refund fee

  • SIN-BKK in Business Class, US$100 refund fee

  • SIN-PER in Business Class, US$200 refund fee

  • SIN-NRT in Business Class, US$100 refund fee

It appears I’m getting something closer to Ben’s experience. However, it’s not strictly the case that inter zone awards always get a US$200 refund fee- Singapore and Japan are in different zones (South and North Asia) as per the LM award chart, yet my cancellation fee is still US$100.

The best advice I can give you is to be aware of these changes and always check what the cancellation fee is before you book (if you hover your mouse over your itinerary the fees for changing/cancelling will appear.

The important thing is that it appears tickets issued before this change will have the original US$50 refund fee honored, at least based on anecdotal reports I’m reading on the forums.

The funny thing about Lifemiles awards is that traditionally they’ve been cheaper to refund (US$50) rather than change (US$150). With this new development it would be cheaper to change rather than refund. I’ve never actually tried changing a date with the call centre before but I can imagine that will be all sorts of fun, given their reputation for competence.

Suffice to say, this doesn’t make Lifemiles a terrible program overnight, but it does mean you’ll want to think carefully about booking “just in case” awards. When the cancellation fee was US$50, it was still justifiable to snap up an award you saw, with cancellation being a (potentially long) phone call and US$50 away. Now that the fee is US$200 the dynamic changes a bit.

By the way, if you want to buy Lifemiles, you can follow this link and get a 140% bonus (buying at 1.375 US cents per mile) when buying miles. You need to register by 27th Feb and buy by 28th Feb.

One day only: $8.63 off a $50 Amazon order

Amazon just got rated #1 in some corporate reputation survey that I couldn’t care less about.

To celebrate, they’re offering $8.62 any purchase of $50 or more (86.27 being their score in the survey which, as said before, I couldn’t care less about). All you need to do is key in BIGTHANKS at checkout to get it.

I know what you’re thinking- not much of a deal for us in Singapore because of the shipping costs.

Well, there’s some truth in that, but you can use the code to buy digital gift cards. I took this opportunity to load up on AirBnB credit at an effective discount of 17%.

Amazon.com gift card design

(EDIT: Air BnB gift cards can only be applied to US-based accounts. I got around this restriction by (1) Changing my address to a US-based one and (2) adding a US payment method to my account. The UOB VirtualPay AMEX is a good idea as it has a US billing address)

There are also other useful gift cards you might want to consider, however, including

  • Hotels.com gift cards
  • Hyatt gift cards
  • Southwest/American Airlines gift cards (assuming your travels are taking you there soon)

Enter BIGTHANKS at checkout and you’re all set. It’s limited to one use per account but if you want to create a few accounts…I won’t judge you.

Offer expires 11.59pm Pacific Time on 22nd Feb. So act fast

T&C here-

Today only, get $8.62 off your purchase of $50 or more when you apply promo code BIGTHANKS at checkout. (Actually, we’ll round up from 8.627, so your discount will be $8.63.)

  • Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. (PT) 2/22/2017.
  • Offer only applies to products sold by Amazon.com.
  • Offer does not apply to digital content, video games, or Amazon Gift Cards.
  • Offer does not apply to orders placed through Alexa, Prime Now, Amazon Restaurants, or any mobile application other than the Amazon Shopping App.
  • Offer limited to one per customer and account.
  • Offer may not be combined with other offers.
  • Items must be purchased in a single order and shipped at the same speed to a single address.
  • Taxes, shipping and handling, and gift wrap charges do not apply when determining minimum purchase amount.
  • Shipping charges and taxes may apply to discounted promotional items.
  • Offer is non-transferable and may not be resold.
  • Offer discount will be allocated proportionally among all promotional items in your order.
  • If any of the products or content related to this offer are returned, your refund will equal the amount you paid for the product or content, subject to applicable refund policies.
  • If you violate any of these terms, the offer will be invalid.
  • Amazon reserves the right to modify or cancel the offer at any time.

An Unplanned Flight on the BB-8 plane

ANA First off the checklist too!

Flown August 2016
Published January 2017

At Narita Airport

It has been some time since my last entry and I finally got the time to share my first flight report for this blog, which is not going to be very common since I prefer to focus on hotels.

Maybe this is considered the second, but I guess my Medical Emergency does not really count as a flight report, does it?

Continue reading An Unplanned Flight on the BB-8 plane