Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA > The Trailer Park
Reload this Page >

Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Old Dec 22nd 2018, 7:08 am
  #991  
Septic Sprout
Thread Starter
 
tonrob's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 7,992
tonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by Mallory View Post
Well no sane person would use AA points on BA. LOL.
I have, twice. Needed to get from Singapore to Budapest last June. Not much choice regarding award availability, but found SIN-LHR-BUD on BA and BUD-HEL-SIN on Finnair. By booking via AA I used far fewer miles/points than spending Avios, plus benefiting from the fact AA offers free changes if origin and destination stay the same (was hoping for a non-BA routing to open up, which it never did).

Similar story to get Mrs tonrob and the sproutlet to the in-laws in Germany. Booked for next summer SIN-DOH-FRA on Qatar then FRA-LHR-SIN on BA.

Neither ideal, obviously, but I’m relatively well-stocked in both programmes and using AA miles was the best choice in each situation.
tonrob is offline  
Old May 27th 2019, 9:54 am
  #992  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Steerpike's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Bay Area, CA / Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 11,320
Steerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Not a 'points' question, but travel related. Seems a shame to start a new thread for this.

Just landed yesterday at MAN airport and picked up my Europecar rental which I reserved / paid for through Auto Europe. My reservation was for an automatic, 'Compact' - Vauxhall Astra or similar. When I got there, they said the only automatic they had was a vauxhall Corsa. Not knowing anything about UK model designations, I said 'fine', and took it. Turns out the Corsa is a smaller model than the Astra. So I'm assuming the reason he said 'the only one we have is a corsa' is because he knowingly gave me a 'lower category model'. Do you think I'll have the right to any refund, since they didn't give me the model I reserved and pre-paid for? I'm trying to call them but the published number on the paperwork seems to be non-functional

This seems to be a common pattern ... despite having reserved an auto, they always seem to be struggling to fulfill the request, and they often try to upsell or get me to take a manual.

I also had to fight with the counter guy to decline insurance coverages. He really tried to force me to pay 10 GBP / day for theft coverage (having already fought with him over the CDW option).
Steerpike is offline  
Old May 27th 2019, 5:18 pm
  #993  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 11,793
Giantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
Not a 'points' question, but travel related. Seems a shame to start a new thread for this.

Just landed yesterday at MAN airport and picked up my Europecar rental which I reserved / paid for through Auto Europe. My reservation was for an automatic, 'Compact' - Vauxhall Astra or similar. When I got there, they said the only automatic they had was a vauxhall Corsa. Not knowing anything about UK model designations, I said 'fine', and took it. Turns out the Corsa is a smaller model than the Astra. So I'm assuming the reason he said 'the only one we have is a corsa' is because he knowingly gave me a 'lower category model'. Do you think I'll have the right to any refund, since they didn't give me the model I reserved and pre-paid for? I'm trying to call them but the published number on the paperwork seems to be non-functional

This seems to be a common pattern ... despite having reserved an auto, they always seem to be struggling to fulfill the request, and they often try to upsell or get me to take a manual.

I also had to fight with the counter guy to decline insurance coverages. He really tried to force me to pay 10 GBP / day for theft coverage (having already fought with him over the CDW option).
I picked up a car from Europcar Manchester a couple of weeks ago, also booked through Auto Europe. Didn’t have an issue with car size but also got the hard sell on coverages. Just politely but firmly decline. I bet their staff are incentivized to sell this stuff.

Last car rental in the US, Enterprise tried to charge me extra for a larger vehicle when what I had reserved wasn’t available. A threat to post their tactics on a Trip Advisor review resolved that one!
Giantaxe is offline  
Old May 27th 2019, 7:25 pm
  #994  
 
lansbury's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukie, Oregon
Posts: 9,776
lansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Steerpike if they have given you a lesser vehicle you should be entitled to a refund of the difference in rental between the two classes.

I'll be picking up a rental at Manchester (Enterprise), an automatic Focus booked through Delta Vacations. Hopefully they don't have it and offer me something bigger as Mrs L has packed 3 suitcases so far.
lansbury is offline  
Old May 28th 2019, 9:45 pm
  #995  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Steerpike's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Bay Area, CA / Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 11,320
Steerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
Steerpike if they have given you a lesser vehicle you should be entitled to a refund of the difference in rental between the two classes.

I'll be picking up a rental at Manchester (Enterprise), an automatic Focus booked through Delta Vacations. Hopefully they don't have it and offer me something bigger as Mrs L has packed 3 suitcases so far.
Unfortunately, I don't know if I can ever determine what the rate for the 'Corsa' "would have been". Rates change daily, and smaller vehicles do sometimes command a higher rate than larger cars. My rate was whatever was valid on that one day in (March?). So I'm not too optimistic. But maybe when I get back and have more time, I can pursue it.

They post this number for 'help' -
*** TOLL-FREE NUMBER FROM U.K. 00 800 223 5555 5 ***
When I call that from my iPhone (with an O2 sim), I get an long 'tone' and then nothing. Consistently. But my brother, who has an iPhone with an O2 sim, he calls it and connects! Who knows what is going on.

I will say, I did the exact same thing in Jan; Europecar through AutoEurope, reserved an 'Astra or similar'. Got a lovely big Kia Sportage, with all kinds of gizmos. For a lot less money ... but that was January, this is May ...
Steerpike is offline  
Old May 29th 2019, 5:53 pm
  #996  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Steerpike's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Bay Area, CA / Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 11,320
Steerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post


I picked up a car from Europcar Manchester a couple of weeks ago, also booked through Auto Europe. Didn’t have an issue with car size but also got the hard sell on coverages. Just politely but firmly decline. I bet their staff are incentivized to sell this stuff.

...
I'm assuming you weren't going for 'auto' transmission? That seems to really make the process more difficult. I hadn't driven here in donkey's years when I first had to drive here last year, and was quite nervous, so the auto helped - one less thing to think about. But now I've rented and driven here 3 times in last 12 months, I think I'll just bite the bullet and get a manual. I just did some comparisons, and the manuals are way cheaper, car-for-car (about 100 USD for a 2 week period). Also, if I give up on an auto, I can use costco travel for the rental - they have been great in the US but had no 'specific' filter for auto vs manual.

The sales guy I got was very relentless on the insurance. Finally his colleague in the next 'station' chimed in and told him I was covered and he still didn't agree; he then 'offered' some form of a 24 hour grace period where, it sounded like, I could rethink the situation and call back to change, but I still insisted he take off the charge. I was so worn out after the flight, I really didn't want to deal with this! I looked around at all the other empty rental desks and considered just walking away, but finally he relented. Obnoxious kid with a bleached white 'mohican' streak front-to-back on his head.
Steerpike is offline  
Old May 29th 2019, 9:13 pm
  #997  
 
lansbury's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukie, Oregon
Posts: 9,776
lansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
The sales guy I got was very relentless on the insurance. Finally his colleague in the next 'station' chimed in and told him I was covered and he still didn't agree; he then 'offered' some form of a 24 hour grace period where, it sounded like, I could rethink the situation and call back to change, but I still insisted he take off the charge. I was so worn out after the flight, I really didn't want to deal with this! I looked around at all the other empty rental desks and considered just walking away, but finally he relented. Obnoxious kid with a bleached white 'mohican' streak front-to-back on his head.
Fortunately I will not have to deal with that. The deal I got through Delta Vacations the Focus cost me $153 for 15 days, and it included CDW.

lansbury is offline  
Old Jun 6th 2019, 1:51 pm
  #998  
 
lansbury's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukie, Oregon
Posts: 9,776
lansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post

I'll be picking up a rental at Manchester (Enterprise), an automatic Focus booked through Delta Vacations. Hopefully they don't have it and offer me something bigger as Mrs L has packed 3 suitcases so far.
Well that worked out well. Enterprise gave me an Audi A6 as a free upgrade.
lansbury is offline  
Old Jun 6th 2019, 11:02 pm
  #999  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Steerpike's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Bay Area, CA / Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 11,320
Steerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
Well that worked out well. Enterprise gave me an Audi A6 as a free upgrade.
I've just booked another flight back to UK in 3 months (mum's not doing well) so will try Enterprise. I'm thinking of giving up on the desire for an automatic. I grew up on 'manuals', it's just that I hadn't driven in UK for years so didn't want to deal with the 'gear knob on the other side'. It's nuts that I had to pay $600 for 2 weeks of a crap car!
Steerpike is offline  
Old Jun 13th 2019, 7:50 am
  #1000  
 
lansbury's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukie, Oregon
Posts: 9,776
lansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
I've just booked another flight back to UK in 3 months (mum's not doing well) so will try Enterprise. I'm thinking of giving up on the desire for an automatic. I grew up on 'manuals', it's just that I hadn't driven in UK for years so didn't want to deal with the 'gear knob on the other side'. It's nuts that I had to pay $600 for 2 weeks of a crap car!
I use Delta Vacations and bundle the flight tickets and car rental into a package. The Audi with CDW cost me $153 for 15 days.

Most of the airlines do package deals, as does Expedia.
lansbury is offline  
Old Jun 13th 2019, 9:26 am
  #1001  
Turning into a PA gal!
 
lizzyq's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2013
Location: State College PA, finally!
Posts: 3,208
lizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

I recently found an advantage to having gold status with United. I had an award miles trip booked to the UK in July, but then my mum suffered a compression fracture in her spine and I had to change my outward flight at short notice. I was on the plane 36 hours after receiving her email (culd have been 12 but my brother was there which gave me time to tie up a few loose ends) with a change fee of just $75 and a refund of $2.60 for flying via Chicago rather than Washington, presumably due to cheaper airport fees.
lizzyq is offline  
Old Jun 13th 2019, 5:12 pm
  #1002  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Steerpike's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Bay Area, CA / Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 11,320
Steerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by lizzyq View Post
I recently found an advantage to having gold status with United. I had an award miles trip booked to the UK in July, but then my mum suffered a compression fracture in her spine and I had to change my outward flight at short notice. I was on the plane 36 hours after receiving her email (culd have been 12 but my brother was there which gave me time to tie up a few loose ends) with a change fee of just $75 and a refund of $2.60 for flying via Chicago rather than Washington, presumably due to cheaper airport fees.
I've had the same experience with AA's awards plan ... and I'm not gold or anything. I ended up changing the last two 'awards' trips I've made to the UK at the last minute (one changed while I was actually there already) and other than a small fee, I was able to rearrange my flights painlessly (with good quality help on the phone, no long wait times, etc). I'm considering pursuing all the various methods to bump up my mileage balance now, because of this - 'award' travel seems to be a whole lot better than regular travel!

Unfortunately, nothing seems to beat 'Thomas Cook' right now - non-stop return flights from SFO->MAN for about $560 in the middle of summer! Even with their high seat res fees, it's still only $650 - and the last three journeys I've made with them all had an empty window seat next to my (high fee) aisle seat.
Steerpike is offline  
Old Jun 13th 2019, 5:17 pm
  #1003  
Turning into a PA gal!
 
lizzyq's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2013
Location: State College PA, finally!
Posts: 3,208
lizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond reputelizzyq has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
Unfortunately, nothing seems to beat 'Thomas Cook' right now - non-stop return flights from SFO->MAN for about $560 in the middle of summer! Even with their high seat res fees, it's still only $650 - and the last three journeys I've made with them all had an empty window seat next to my (high fee) aisle seat.
When I finally flew out to join steveq permanently in the States I flew Thomas Cook from Manchester to JFK largely because they didn't sting me for a one way flight. I was quite satisfied with the service, including cream tea as an afternoon snack.

lizzyq is offline  
Old Jun 13th 2019, 5:52 pm
  #1004  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Steerpike's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Bay Area, CA / Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 11,320
Steerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond reputeSteerpike has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by lizzyq View Post
When I finally flew out to join steveq permanently in the States I flew Thomas Cook from Manchester to JFK largely because they didn't sting me for a one way flight. I was quite satisfied with the service, including cream tea as an afternoon snack.
In my view they are a bit 'light' on amenities; their in-flight entertainment package only gives 5 movies and 5 TV shows - they want you to buy an upgrade package - and the meal was as basic as basic gets. Also, first time I flew with them I made the mistake of asking for a soda when they did the first 'drinks' pass, and found I was charged for a sparkling water! But - the seats are comfy enough, you can bring your own food, and the planes overall seem decent. $650 for a great seat, round-trip, non-stop SFO-MAN in June (and again in Sept) is pretty amazing, really!
Steerpike is offline  
Old Jun 26th 2019, 4:56 pm
  #1005  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 11,793
Giantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond reputeGiantaxe has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Traveling cheaply and well using miles and points

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
In my view they are a bit 'light' on amenities; their in-flight entertainment package only gives 5 movies and 5 TV shows - they want you to buy an upgrade package - and the meal was as basic as basic gets. Also, first time I flew with them I made the mistake of asking for a soda when they did the first 'drinks' pass, and found I was charged for a sparkling water! But - the seats are comfy enough, you can bring your own food, and the planes overall seem decent. $650 for a great seat, round-trip, non-stop SFO-MAN in June (and again in Sept) is pretty amazing, really!
I flew SFO->MAN one way including meal for $170 in mid-May. Quite a remarkable fare so I can forgive them that the service and meal were minimal!

It's too bad the Virgin Atlantic non-stop to Manchester only lasted one summer season. Thomas Cook is for sale so there must be at least some doubt as to whether this service will exists down the road.

Last edited by Giantaxe; Jun 26th 2019 at 5:07 pm.
Giantaxe is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.