I wouldn’t continue this saga, and bore you with this tale — except that I learned yet another very valuable lesson about travel hacking. So I thought I’d share.
After calling U.S. Air multiple times to try and find a return flight from Spain, using my purchased frequent flyer miles, I got lucky and was connected with an agent who sympathized and spent a good 15 minutes searching for different combinations of flights to get me home. She was quite a trooper, and finally was able to put together this return:
I kid you not. And here’s the kicker — it was more miles than we paid for my husband’s flight, so I didn’t have enough miles in my account, and would have to pay an additional $250 for the difference in points, plus $155 in taxes. I know, I know, at this point you’re thinking “What the HELL were you doing?” Trust me, I’m a scenario person. I’d worked it all out, seven ways to Sunday. And this option still made more sense than dropping another $1,000 to start over. Anyway, I said “Well, it is what it is. Let’s book it.” But, THANK GOODNESS, the super-agent said “You know, I really think that you should wait. Because of the weekend, I can put this on hold and you’ll have 3 more days before this expires. Call back a couple of times and maybe something better will come open.”
So I waited. And then last night, just a mere 3 hours before the reservation was due to expire I suddenly went “OH S#^*! I almost forgot to call the airline!” I raced for the phone. And sat on hold for 10 min. Then a really cheery woman came on the line and after gasping in horror at the routing I was booked on, said she’d see what she could find. Then she came back on the line and said excitedly “I found something, I found something! I’ll be right back!” So I held my breath. When she came back she said “How would you like to go Barcelona to Frankfurt and then Frankfurt direct to Denver?” Are you KIDDING ME? I nearly went through the phone line and kissed her.
Oh, but it gets better. Because of the delay in booking, the bonus points I thought wouldn’t post for another 2 weeks suddenly showed up in my account. So those extra 2 days of waiting also saved me $250. And it also saved a teensy bit in the taxes because there weren’t so many flights.
And the moral of this story, kids, is stay on top of it, and be patient. There is a travel Santa Clause — you just have to believe (and get lucky).