Once I found out that it was confirmed that I will be working the Australian Open for IDS, I started working on a trip to New Zealand with Brandi. This process has not been fun. Here are some set backs along the way:
1. Brandi wanted to depart for NZ on January 24. With a Frequent Flyer ticket there are few options. I went through 5 departure dates before I found a "frequent flyer seat."
2. Alex from USAirways got me hooked up on an itinerary and put it on hold for 3 days
3. Brandi had to get approval from her boss for the trip - He would never say no because he's afraid Brandi may quit!
4. It takes 80,000 miles to book a ticket to NZ. I had 72,000 on USAirways. I had to find/buy 8000 miles.
5. I found out that I could "share" miles between participants of the Dividend Awards program.
6. I also found out that it costs 1 cent per mile + $30 processing fee + 7.5% Federal Tax. 8000 miles later (shared from Brandi's account to my account) it cost me $116.
7. I forgot to mention that the share program can only be completed on-line - where I had multiple errors popping up. After three calls to USAirways I found out that the FF# had to use upper case letters!
8. OK, miles sorted - onto the confirmed booking. I called USAirways back with my confirmation number and spoke to Sybile. Just as she got to the "miles deduction" from my account she noticed a problem and put me on hold. 30 minutes later on hold I decided to hang up and call back.
9. This time I spoke with Connie and I explained the situation and we started over.
9a. She also had an issue with the miles deductions - solved quickly - Great!
9b. As she was entering my Credit Card information she noticed that when she saved it, the information would disappear.
9c. Credit Card? Some of you may be wondering why I would be using a credit card for a "free ticket?" FYI - It cost me $146 for my "free ticket" added onto $116 for the "shared miles"
9d. Back on track now... Connie found out that there was an address in the record that didn't match mine.
9e. Back on HOLD again. Connie had to contact the ticketing agent so that when she re-entered my address, the ticket wouldn't be cancelled.
9f. It was later discovered that there was someone else editing my record at the same time Connie was (probably Sybile who forgot about me on hold)
9g. Finally after over 2 hours on the phone over two days I have a free ticket that cost me $262
10. But, the $262 is much better than the actual cost of a ticket to New Zealand which averages around $2000.
So, Brandi and I will be in New Zealand from January 30 until February 8. I will fly from Australia and meet her there. Now I've got the unenviable task of booking hotels, cars, a round trip flight from Melbourne, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand and figuring out how we are going to pay for all of this.
After looking at my schedule, I discovered that from November 21 to February 9 I will only be home for 12 days. My dogs will forget who I am!