“You Can’t Book That Many Tickets” — Reader Mistake Story

Mar 11, 2019

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Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Amy, who was unable to book her group on a single award reservation:

We were excited to finally book an awesome trip to Hawaii using our Chase Ultimate Rewards points. We have a family of five, and invited my sister and her husband to join us. Thanks to TPG, we knew to take advantage of the KrisFlyer program to book our flights on United. We pooled our points from our multiple Chase credit cards and transferred them from Ultimate Rewards into my husband’s newly created KrisFlyer account in order to purchase the seven tickets.

What we didn’t know about Singapore Airlines was that an individual can only reserve six tickets on one itinerary. Also, apparently you cannot book flights using KrisFlyer miles for another person unless you are also flying on the same itinerary. Thus, we were unable to purchase the remaining ticket we needed with his KrisFlyer miles.

Luckily, we had more Ultimate Rewards points available, so we were still able to book the final ticket. We have 35,000 miles stuck in my husband’s KrisFlyer account, and no way to use it for this trip. On the other hand, now we get to plan for another trip!

Each frequent flyer program has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to look beyond the award chart when you’re deciding which one to use. One undesirable feature of KrisFlyer is its restrictive policy about booking awards for other passengers. You can redeem miles in someone else’s name (even if you’re not flying), but you have to first add them to your KrisFlyer account as a “redemption nominee,” and you’re limited to five of those at a time. Singapore Airlines also limits the number of tickets you can purchase online in a single transaction (whether you’re paying in miles or cash), but the six-person limit in Amy’s case was likely in reference to the cap on redemption nominees.

Amy was able to book the seventh ticket separately; that’s a perfectly good solution, though it does carry some risk. Splitting your group across multiple reservations can create problems if you need to be reaccommodated (due to an aircraft equipment swap or overbooked flight, for example), since the airline won’t see any need to keep you together. To reduce your odds of being divided, ask for your reservations to be linked after booking — some airlines allow you to do this online, but in most cases you’ll need to call. There’s no guarantee airlines will honor linked reservations, but it can’t hurt.

I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending Amy a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to info@thepointsguy.com, and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.

Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!

(Featured photo by Hero Images/Getty Images)

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