An Amex Journey mistake practically price this reader over $6,000


Final fall, Daniel Cordova was scrambling to spend an expiring $3,978 flight credit score he had with American Airways from canceled plans throughout the pandemic.

Utilizing the American Categorical Platinum Journey Service, Cordova booked a first-class, round-trip flight from Los Angeles Worldwide Airport (LAX) to O’Hare Worldwide Airport (ORD) to attend a marriage.

Nonetheless, when he tried to examine in for his flight, American Airways informed him he didn’t have a reservation. Caught on the airport with few choices to get to the marriage on time, Cordova bought a last-minute ticket for an economic system seat on the flight he initially meant to take for $407.

The confusion did not finish there, although. When Cordova tried to fly again residence, he found that American Airways had marked him as a no-show for the outbound flight – the reservation he supposedly now not had. In consequence, the airline had canceled his return flight.

To return to LA, Cordova was pressured to purchase one other ticket for an extra $1,447. The short journey to rejoice a good friend’s marriage ceremony and redeem his American Airways flight credit score had spiraled into an costly journey fiasco.

So, when neither American Categorical nor American Airways would offer the financial reduction Cordova anticipated, he turned to TPG for assist. His query: What went incorrect right here, and the place did his practically $4,000 American Airways flight credit score go?

That’s what TPG needed to seek out out, too.

Racing towards the clock to redeem the flight credit score


Like many American Airways AAdvantage members, Cordova got here out of the pandemic with a large flight credit score from canceled journeys. American Airways had a number of occasions prolonged the expiration date of flight credit earned throughout these darkish days. However by mid-2022, the airline made it clear that the extensions had been over.

The message from American Airways: Guide your journey and spend any credit score in your account by Oct. 31, 2022 (and fly by Dec. 31, 2022). No American Airways credit score earned by vacationers throughout the pandemic can be coming alongside into the brand new 12 months.

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“I knew the flight credit score I had on American Airways wanted to be redeemed by October,” Cordova defined. “I had the marriage to go to in September, so the timing was proper.”

Cordova, a long-time holder of The Platinum Card® from American Categorical, contacted the American Categorical Platinum Journey Service to care for the plans since they might apply the American Airways credit score for him.

Spending all of his credit score plus an extra $280, Cordova booked a round-trip flight on American Airways in top quality. It was an costly splurge, however since he had no different plans to journey earlier than the top of the 12 months, it made sense to spend the expiring flight credit score on this manner.

Making a small change to the itinerary

Shortly after reserving this journey, Cordova realized he wanted to make a small change to the itinerary. No drawback, he thought — Amex’s Platinum Journey Service would care for these particulars, too.

“The Amex consultant made the modifications, and all appeared high quality,” Cordova recalled. “That’s, till I went to examine in for my flight.”

Cordova acquired a message that he wanted to examine in on the airport, which he thought was odd for a home flight. However he didn’t give it a lot thought, assuming it was a glitch within the system that might be simply addressed.

The issue would certainly be addressed, however not in the way in which Cordova imagined.

American Airways: You don’t have a reservation on this flight

When Cordova couldn’t examine in for his flight, he once more picked up the cellphone and known as American Categorical.

“I used to be notified that my outbound flight was mistakenly canceled by American Categorical after I requested the agent to [switch to an earlier flight],” he stated. “My solely choice for attending to Chicago was to purchase an economic system ticket on that very same flight quantity since American Airways gave away my first-class seat.”

Cordova paid the $407 fare and shortly discovered himself boarding the airplane and strolling via the first-class cabin to his seat in economic system.

It was a disappointing and complicated flip of occasions. However Cordova had an thrilling occasion to look ahead to, so he pushed this disagreeable state of affairs into the background and centered on the celebration.

American Airways: You had been a no-show in your outbound flight

By all accounts, the marriage Cordova attended was an exquisite affair. However the next day, it was time to get again to LA.

He figured he may straighten out no matter went incorrect on the outbound flight and get a refund or his credit again when he obtained residence. He didn’t anticipate a repeat efficiency of the issue he had on the way in which to Chicago. However unbelievably, Cordova was about to expertise deja vu … and be pressured to buy an much more costly ticket to get residence.

“On the day I used to be scheduled to fly again to LA, I couldn’t examine in for my flight on-line,” Cordova recalled. “Then I obtained a name from American Categorical Platinum Journey.”

The identical American Categorical agent that had knowledgeable Cordova of the error that led to the cancellation of his outbound flight had extra complicated information. He informed Cordova that American Airways had marked him as a no-show for the outbound flight and, consequently, had canceled his return flight.

Almost each airline worldwide will cancel the remainder of your ticket for those who skip any a part of your flight. So for those who’re a traveler who needs to strive the hack of reserving hidden metropolis tickets, beware. You could possibly find yourself with a large monetary headache and even get banned from flying your favourite airline. In fact, this isn’t what Cordova did. He had proven up for his unique flight and even took it, however because of the itinerary snafu, he had been flagged as a no-show.

Cordova requested what choices had been accessible.

“My agent stated he didn’t know what went incorrect however that I may purchase one other ticket on American Airways or one other airline and I’d obtain a [statement] credit score. So he discovered me a last-minute ticket on United Airways, which had the following accessible flight to LAX, and I paid $1,447,” he stated.

Quickly Cordova was airborne on his manner again residence to LA, the place he hoped to have the ability to put this journey nightmare to relaxation.

Asking American Airways: What occurred to this passenger’s flight credit score? 


A number of weeks later, Cordova’s irritating plight landed on my desk. He had hoped that Amex Journey would be capable to type out the issue and refund all of his additional flight bills. That appeared like a good decision and was additionally what he believed had been promised by the Platinum Journey Service brokers.

As he put it:

“A month in the past [I was promised a resolution]. I’ve heard nothing again from them, regardless of calling as soon as every week. Every time I name, I ask to talk with a supervisor overseeing this subject, and am suggested that they’ll contact me immediately … nobody ever does.

As you possibly can think about, I’m vastly annoyed by this case. I rely closely on my Amex for my enterprise and have been a member since 2008. It’s actually disappointing that Amex Platinum Journey Service would depart me out to dry like this ….”

The place is the affirmation for the modifications to the unique itinerary?

As I usually do after I assess a criticism, I requested Cordova for his “paper path” — paperwork that present an summary of the state of affairs and assist me decide how greatest to method the issue. On this case, I needed to see the notification of the cancellation of the outbound flight and a affirmation of the primary change by the American Categorical agent.

That’s the place we hit a stumbling level: Cordova had neither.

“They [American Express] knowledgeable me [of the cancellation] over the cellphone, and so I don’t have something to ship by way of screenshots ….”

Right here’s the place Cordova ought to have taken a unique tack. Any time you modify a flight reservation, it’s essential to make sure you obtain a affirmation of that alteration. Don’t assume, as Cordova did, that every one is properly. It doubtless hasn’t been confirmed for those who don’t obtain an e-mail notification of the change.

I reviewed Cordova’s restricted paper path, which solely included affirmation of the 2 new flights he was pressured to buy. The absence of any cancellation notification and the shortage of affirmation of the initially requested change led me to suspect that the primary Amex agent had not appropriately switched the flights.

Based mostly on Cordova’s documentation and narrative, I requested American Airways in regards to the lacking flight credit score. In any case, Cordova had exchanged $3,978 in credit score, paid an extra $280 and acquired nothing in return.

American Airways has at all times been useful and customer-friendly with the instances I’ve dropped at their govt group over a few years. So, I anticipated a swift decision.

Excellent news from each American Airways and American Categorical

I rapidly heard again from my govt contact at American Airways. (This isn’t a customer-facing contact.) As a shopper advocate and a media member, I’ve entry to useful airline executives that common clients don’t who can assist me resolve points like this.

I acquired the next message.

“Hello Michelle, I’ve excellent news. You might be appropriate. The problems had been prompted by the journey company error, however our group has reviewed and is issuing a visit credit score for his unique ticket as a goodwill gesture.

All the very best,

[American Airlines spokesperson]”

However there was even higher information for Cordova.

I additionally reached out to American Categorical Journey, which confirmed that Cordova’s journey fiasco resulted from easy human error. Truly, a sequence of complicated human errors.

As I suspected, the unique agent had not correctly processed Cordova’s requested change. The second American Categorical agent made an extra error by telling Cordova he had no outbound ticket to Chicago. Within the American Airways system, he was nonetheless confirmed, however he was unable to examine in on-line. American Categorical bought him an extra ticket on the identical flight (in economic system), and that’s the ticket he flew to Chicago. However American Airways marked him as a no-show on the unique ticket, which hadn’t truly been canceled.

To rectify its brokers’ errors, American Categorical credited Cordova’s account for the 2 last-minute flights he was pressured to buy.

Finally, American Airways and American Categorical totally refunded Cordova for this disagreeable expertise. Cordova is happy — and so are we.

Stopping itinerary points from ruining your plans

Passengers can shield themselves from getting blindsided by conditions much like Cordova’s by taking just a few steps throughout and after the reserving course of.

Request an emailed affirmation of the flight or modifications

When you e book a flight or make any modifications to your reservation, you should definitely acquire an e-mail affirmation. In any other case, chances are you’ll be in for an disagreeable shock at check-in. Keep in mind, for those who don’t have affirmation from the airline or your ticketing agent, you don’t have proof of a ticket. By no means assume that your ticket buy or flight change has been processed appropriately till you get the affirmation in print.

Fastidiously evaluation the flight affirmation

Be certain that the main points are appropriate and that there’s a ticket quantity (a 13-digit quantity) on that flight affirmation. Keep in mind, you do not have a confirmed flight except you’ve got a ticket quantity on that doc. Do not confuse a report locator, which is a six-character code, with a 13-digit ticket quantity. A report locator does not affirm that the airline has truly ticketed you.

Thoughts the DOT’s 24-hour rule

You need to evaluation all the main points on any affirmation you obtain from the airline in a well timed method. The Division of Transportation says you’ve got 24 hours after buy to appropriate a ticket (or change your thoughts). That is the time-frame in which you’ll be able to cancel the ticket with a full refund. After that window, for those who uncover a mistake in your ticket, it’s going to doubtless price you to repair it.

Simply keep in mind that third-party reserving brokers should not sure by the DOT’s 24-hour rule (though many adhere to it). Moreover, in case your flight is inside seven days out of your ticket buy, the 24-hour rule doesn’t apply. So, for close-in bookings, ensure that your plans are confirmed.

For its half, American Airways has reinstated its 24-hour maintain choice. Sadly, for those who e book a reservation that you simply beforehand held on a 24-hour maintain, the DOT’s penalty-free 24-hour cancellation interval does not apply. So be additional cautious of the main points for those who’ve beforehand put a flight on maintain with American.

Backside line

Ultimately, we’ll by no means know precisely what went incorrect with Cordova’s efforts to redeem all these soon-to-be-expired American Airways flight credit, however we’re glad we may assist him get his credit and his a refund. Hopefully, the guidelines above will allow you to to keep away from an identical circumstance.

In case you are in a tricky state of affairs with an airline, cruise line, automotive rental company, resort or bank card firm which you can’t appear to appropriate, ship your request for help to [email protected] I can be glad to analyze your criticism and allow you to, too.