When Life Gives You Lemons, Use Points!
A VIP client of mine called me frantic today from San Francisco airport. His flight to Newark was cancelled due to "Snowmageddon 2010" and the next available flight Continental could reaccomodate him and his wife was for Saturday! They even gave him a hard time because he was on award tickets, which is complete BS.
With a mile long line to speak to an agent at the airport and multiple calls to the American Express Centurion (Black card) concierges yielding no results, he decided to call me. He was told his only option was to buy $700 coach seats, through Chicago with an overnight layover, and that would get him to Philadelphia, maybe.
I don't think so.
Within 30 minutes, I had him booked on the San Francisco to Baltimore direct flight that left 2.5 hours later in first class. Upon landing at 9pm he has the option of taking Amtrak to Newark where his car is or renting a car and driving home depending how the roads are. While it will be a late night for sure, at least he is getting home. As part of the award ticket we booked, he also had a return direct first class ticket to San Francisco for February for a flight he was planning to buy. Total cost for each last minute first class round-trip tickets: 50,000 American Express points and $80.
The benefit of being able to be in court the next day for his clients? Priceless.
As I always say, in times of stress, be creative. Even if you don't have a lot of trips planned, having a nice stockpile of miles or points (like the super-flexible American Express Membership Rewards points) can be the best insurance policy you ever buy.
And if you are ever in a real bind, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if I'm free, I'll see what I can do for you.