If At First You Don’t Succeed

One of the more annoying issues with travel is the frequency with which you’ll confront employees of airlines, hotels, etc. that have no idea how their own program works.  No doubt these are big companies with lots of moving parts, but they don’t really spend a ton of time emphasizing good training programs with their front-line employees.  And most of them are reliant on computer systems that were built before I hit puberty.  I always tell people I’m trying to help use miles that it may take multiple phone calls to get what they want.  Yesterday, I practiced what I preached.

I was trying to help a friend by transferring some Ultimate Rewards points into their mileage account at an airline.  One of the nice things about Chase is that they allow you to transfer points online, to anyone, and usually instantly.  Since I have two cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points (Chase Sapphire and Ink Bold) I have two separate accounts I can transfer points out of.  I tried to transfer the points from my Sapphire account first, but was getting an error message.  Initially, I thought it was because I didn’t include the middle name of the person I was transferring the points to.  But, when I keyed in their correct middle name, I got an error message saying I had already made a transfer that day and needed to wait until the next day (you’re limited to one transfer to an account per day).

While that wasn’t true, it was easy enough to pop over to my Ink Bold account and just transfer from there.  Except I got the same error message.  Odd.  I don’t have a ton of experience transferring points through the Chase program, so I decided to call and ask for help.  I spoke with a helpful agent who tried the transfer as well, to no avail.  He suggested verifying the account holders information for the account I was trying to transfer to.  While I was pretty much 100% sure my friend had given me the correct info, I nonetheless did verify and call back.
I asked the agent if the airline (Korean Air) had a limit of one transfer per day, separate from a Chase requirement of one transfer per day, since my friend had already made a transfer to their account that day.  She said she wasn’t sure.  I asked her to try the transfer again, but without the middle name.  She said she received a different error message than the one she normally sees, which lead her to believe Korean’s system didn’t like the name match.  Getting closer!  I asked her to try it again with the middle name and VOILA!

All in all, it was less than 30 minutes between the two phone calls to resolve this little snafu, and well worth it.

Bottom line, it may take a second (or third) phone call to get what you want.  Just look at it as another necessary step in the game of achieving maximum value for your miles and points.


Leave a Reply