Giving up on using airline points...
Sometimes, it just doesn't pay. I just went through a half day ordeal trying to book a flight via Aeroplan (the reward flights via Air Canada). I can't faulty Aeroplan itself - the staff were very nice, but does the airline industry make any sense? It seems more bizarre than ever.
Others of you will know that I posted on various topics related to an upcoming trip to Northern Italy - combination business and some pleasure. I attempted to get my wife's trip using accumulated Aeroplan points, and because I didn't get the details of my business trip early enough, was not left with many options for her. Still, it looked like it could work reasonably well, routing through from Toronto to Philadelphia to Frankfurt to Milan via Air Canada and US Airways, and then coming back using Lufthansa, and then Air Canada.
I had been advised to get the points ticket first, then get a matching paid ticket, and this is where the problem came. Because the reward ticket used two different partner airlines, the paid ticket came up as over $5000 Cdn! What? I could get a paid ticket for about $1900 Cdn using Air Canada/Lufthansa, so $5000 certainly wasn't a deal. We did a similar Europe trip 4 years ago, and it was confusing then with the reward/paid ticket, but we got it to work quite well.
Well, Aeroplan and Air Canada are two separate entitities - in fact, their phone agents cannot see what flights/costs are available on their own web sites either (makes no sense to me...) and what is available to Aeroplan under contract is very different from Air Canada. The next step was to see if Aeroplan could come up with any alternate routing, but that was a bust too. Even more confusing is that the *lower* tier Aeroplan Classic redemption has more flexibility than the higher tier Aeroplan Classic Plus in terms of partner airlines: in other words, if I had spent MORE of my reward points, it still would not have helped.
After much back and forth and several hours on the phone and on hold, I cancelled my reward flight for my wife - and that cost me $135. Even the Aeroplan agent agreed that particularly for international flights, it sometimes is better to just save the points (for merchandise or in country flights), and just pay a conventional ticket.
Good grief... I have all these TB bags... and nowhere to go!