Make Sure to Check Flight Availability Before Transferring Rewards Points

air miles transfers

It’s a cautionary tale that we could all stand to learn. Never do anything without first ensuring that what you want is available. Never assume that you can get something without making sure it is available, and never count on something until it is quite literally already in your possession. I’ve learned this the hard way once or twice. I once thought that I could forgo booking flights for a trip that was important to us because I wasn’t sure how long I really wanted to stay, and thought I’d just book closer to the time of the trip so that we could make a better decision based on our kids and our schedule at that point. Tickets went from $350 per person to over $1000 per person the closer we got, and we ended up paying entirely too much.

Lesson learned.

It’s a good reason to stop and think for a moment. Most of us have travel credit cards with points and miles that are transferrable. It’s part of the allure of these cards. We spend, we earn and we transfer our points and miles to other programs to get what we want. But what happens when we work so hard to earn points and then we transfer them only to find out that the flight we counted on taking is no longer available? Perhaps it is sold out, perhaps there are no award seats on that flight; whatever it is, it’s too late. Once you transfer points, it’s very difficult to transfer them again, and you lose your flexibility. For that reason, it is imperative that you always check to ensure you are able to transfer points and get what you want.

For example, I once booked a trip using points that we’d accumulated on several other trips. I transferred all the miles from my husband’s account to my account and to the account we wanted to use them for, and then I went to book our flights. Unfortunately, our flight was no longer accepting reservations of our type on that segment. Fortunately for us, we were not on a particular time table. It was not a trip that had any purpose other than pure enjoyment, and that meant we were able to reschedule for a different week just after our initially chosen departure date. It was no big deal at all, and we were able to enjoy our trip using our miles.

The moral of the story is that you have to double check to ensure your rewards are going to work prior to transferring them. Had we had specific plans for a specific date, transferred our points and found out at that point we were not eligible to actually use them for that trip, we would have had to pay for the flights using cash and we might not have been able to transfer our miles back to use them for something we really could have used them for later on. Always double check before you make any transfers.

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