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Sale on candy is this week’s best consumer experience, while trying to get a ticket with American Airlines disappoints

By Rita R. Robison

My best consumer experience this week, was finding two sales on Valentine’s Day candy. My worst was trying to use my frequent flyer miles with American Airlines.

My best: Getting a good deal on Valentine’s Day candy

Valentines Day Candy

When I went to Rite Aid and Target, I found sales of 75 percent off on Valentine’s Day candy.

My daughter, who lives in Madrid, asked me to get some for her family for next year. They don’t have the special heart-shaped candy there.

I also bought some valentines cards with candies attached. Valentine’s Day cards aren’t available in Spain, and this year, I mailed two sets for my grandchildren.

My worst: Trying to get American Airlines to issue me a ticket using my rewards miles

American Parked Big

I have 39,183 miles in my American Airlines Advantage account. I had hoped to buy additional miles to put my point total up to 50,000 so I get a reduced fare ticket to Madrid later this year.

When I called about it, there weren’t many Advantage mile slots available. The ticket agent could get me to Madrid, but on my return flight, there only were slots available to Chicago.

Adding to the frustration, I had a five-hour layover at Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport.

It wasn’t looking good. I would have to pay $355 to buy the extra miles, and the ticket from Chicago to Seattle would cost another $220. I’d have to pay about $565 for a ticket and use up all of my Advantage miles.

Then I had what I thought was another brilliant idea. I have miles through the rewards programs on two credit cards. I had enough miles to get a one-way ticket to Chicago to get me back to Seattle.

However, again, I’d have another five-hour layover on the way home when I was really jet lagged.

I got ready to try to book the ticket on hold the day before it was going to expire.

When I called, I found I had to buy the $355 worth of tickets in advance before I booked the ticket. The ticket agent said there might not be time for the transaction to clear before I arranged for the ticket.

I threw up my hands and purchased a full-price ticket. I’ll use the miles for my next trip and try to get an Advantage ticket to use next year.

The airline analysts who said American Airlines would be instituting belt-tightening measures due to their bankruptcy filings certainly were correct. I’ve never had this much trouble arranging a rewards ticket with American previously. I’m disappointed.

Copyright 2012, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


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