So you want to get to Italy on points ( or somewhere else for that matter) – the best advice that I have found personally is to hang up and call back, so what a delight to find this informative article with just that advice…read on, book your ticket, then come visit us in Italy…
I don’t think there can possibly be any better advice in travel than ‘hang up, call back’. Any time you don’t get the answer you’re looking for, try another agent. Most airlines are big companies, agents have varying levels of competence, and also varying levels of helpfulness.
Just because an agent tells you that an award ticket isn’t available doesn’t mean that it isn’t available. I’ve frequently had agents tell me that nothing was available when they clearly hadn’t had time to even search yet. I would ask about multiple dates and they’d just reply that nothing was available the whole month when I know they couldn’t possibly have searched for that.
If you aren’t going to search for award space yourself using tools like partner websites (Qantas and British Airways for oneworld awards, Aeroplan/All Nippon/United.com for Star Alliance, AirFrance.us for most of Skyteam), FlightStats, Expertflyer, the KVS Tool, then the advice I give is to just hang up, call back. For novices who aren’t going to invest the time, my rule of thumb is to make three calls — get told no three times — before believing the answer that you get is truly ‘no’.
You Need to Luck Out to Find an Agent Willing to Help With What You’re Entitled To
US Airways agents may tell me that a specific flight isn’t available, but the next US Airways agent will see it without difficulty — I know to call back because I’ve already done my research and can see that it’s available. US Airways has had issues booking many partners for quite some time, sometimes it really is a limitation but often the agent doesn’t know what they’re doing or doesn’t want to help. I get emails asking me about the problem based on a single data point (phone call) when a subsequent call is all that’s needed.
Delta agents especially are a problem because they don’t know who their partners are much of the time, let alone how to look for award space (Skyteam is making progress but isn’t as normalized in what booking codes to use for award space across the different members of the alliance as Star and oneworld are). Plus they’re so trained by Delta’s poor IT, broken pricing engine, and lack of availability to assume that double and triple mileage awards are all that’s available.
Phone agents aren’t incentivized to be helpful, they aren’t rewarded for giving great service and trying hard to make things happen for you. I think the incentives are a shame. Some agents are great, but it’s because of their own internal drive — who they are — rather than the incentives they face. So you need to find those agents who will try hard for you, and since you don’t get to observe agents and pick the one you want you have to hang up and call back and play roulette until you find one. READ REMAINING INFO ON ARTICLE LINK