Great United Service Leads to Extra Day in Europe!

A couple of months ago, I wrote about Kristin and I going to visit a friend in Europe. Earlier last week, we realized that we both the day before we were scheduled to leave to Europe off. We could have spent that day packing and preparing for our trip, but we both knew we would rather have an extra day in Europe than sitting around our house. Having already book our flights and Airbnb, I needed to somehow figure out a way to alter our schedule. 

Adjusting the Flights:

The first part I needed to try and adjust was our flights. I originally booked our flight on United for 30,000 miles each plus taxes and fees, which I felt was a great deal. One thing about United Airlines, is they have a terrible track record of customer service/satisfaction:

Chart from CNN Money
Chart from CNN Money

United is only above 2 low cost carriers and they didn’t make any improvements from 2014 to 2015.

Once I started looking I noticed I could have an issue, since United has a history of terrible service and the fact I do not have status with any airline. I honestly do not care if I have status because I feel the cost of status outweighs the benefits for me, but not having status comes with some negatives, like changing flights…

I'm under "General Member"
I’m under “General Member”

Being a “General Member,” comes with some hefty cost if you try to make adjustments to award flights. I was looking at $150 to change my flight a day sooner and I was not wanting to spend an extra $150 to change my flight. I took to Twitter to see what I could do about changing the flight and having the fee waived. I was not holding my breath, but the worst they could say was no, right?

Screenshot 2015-09-18 at 5.42.28 PM

Within 45 minutes, United had responded (I think that is fast considering how many people contact them) and I sent them a DM with all my information.

Screenshot 2015-09-18 at 5.52.39 PM

This whole interaction took about 45 minutes to an hour and the changes were made instantly. I was extremely (pleasantly) shocked that United’s Customer Service Representative was so quick in their response and took care of everything. Within 15 minutes of my Twitter conversation, I received an email with my new itinerary! Part 1 of making adjustments to our schedule was complete!

United could have easily denied my request to waive the fee or been extremely slow in their response.  I am very appreciative of the fact they waived $150 in fees and were so fast in assisting! This was great customer service and I hope to see this trend continue!

Adjusting Our Stay:

After successfully moving our flights up a day, I now had to figure out what to do about hotel reservations. Should I contact our first Airbnb host and request to extend our day, or book a hotel close by just for a day? After some deep internal debating, I decided I would look to burn some of our IHG points. I currently have over 100,000 IHG points and using those would save us a little more money as well.

When looking in Budapest I had 2 options:

Screenshot 2015-09-18 at 6.09.26 PM

After looking at the options I had, I decided I would book us a night at the Intercontinental for a couple of reasons:

  1. It was closer to our Airbnb, which we would check into the following day.
  2. At 35,000 points, I thought it was a good deal, since most Intercontinental’s are around 50,000 points

Since I have the IHG credit card, I will receive 10% rebate in points after my stay, making the stay only 31,500 points!

The other adjustment that I needed to make…

On our was home American Airlines changed our flight (unexpectedly) and we will be spending an evening in Chicago. I am fine with this because after landing in Chicago, we can go out and eat and do some slight exploring. Especially since Kristin should be an expert on Chicago after her and her best friend go shortly ;-). After looking at my many options, I decided to burn some more IHG points.

Screenshot 2015-09-18 at 6.17.31 PM

The Holiday Inn is close to the airport and has shuttle service that will pick us up and drop us off for our morning flight. At 20,000 points, although it isn’t a great redemption value, it works for us and I am more than happy to spend the miles and keep money in my pocket. After my 10% rebate, this will cost us 18,000 IHG points.

In adding 2 extra nights onto our vacation, I could have spent an extra $265 in hotel cost, but decided to burn 50,000 IHG points. I still have plenty for a couple more nights and I’ll be happy to use those in the future.  I received a value of 0.5 cents per point, but I am fine with that since we added 2 extra nights!

Overall, I am very happy with the way United’s Twitter team handled my request and the speed at which they had everything changed. Now we will be able to enjoy Budapest for an extra day and both of us are excited for the trip.

Have you had any success having fees waived without having status?

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