“Fat Finger”, “Mistake Fare”, “Breaking the Rules”… Or much worse?

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dog wrong tree

There are those in the frequent flyer community, both bloggers and readers, who feel it is wrong to take advantage when a company makes some sort of mistake or does not really think through a promotion. Then they find out that  “we”, point enthusiasts, are raking in a boatload of points by following their rules or T&C.

I have a strong opinion on this subject & I say they are flat out barking up the wrong tree here. Let me break down the reasons why.

The rules. The government of this country has set down rules that when airlines publish fares, even a mistake, once you make a purchase the airline will have to honor it. Is this fair? Should an airline not have a chance to cancel your ticket you booked if they made a mistake? I can agree with this but only if say a week later you made a mistake and you can also then cancel for free. Will that happen? NO, you would have to pay huge fees many times as much as the ticket cost to cancel or change. If airlines want to reap HUGE revenue from change and cancel fees then they must honor mistake fares as well.

What about when a rep makes a mistake and quotes you a fee cost or a mileage cost for something and that is not right. I am not about to jump into a what is legal or in legalized terms fight about when an employee says something if the company is then bound to live up to that, but my point is that it is not your job to know all the company rules. I think most people, when they get info from a company representative, think the rep has been trained by the company and the information is reliable. That is after all is why you be talking to them! Thus, to me, if a rep tells you information the company should be responsible for that right or wrong. If the reps are giving out bad info then the company needs to do a better job training their people.

What about breaking the rules? I love this one. I love golf. I use the rules of golf when I play. Without rules, golf is just exercise. I like that too but then it is not the same. Flying to me is much like golf. If a rule official tells you whatever is OK, then you follow the rules. If an airline tells you something is OK, then you follow the rules. It is their play book and you “play” by their rules.If you know the book, and can quote the book, and can get them to do what you want inside the rules, you are NOT bending or breaking the rules, rather you are using them to your advantage.

Look at it this way. I love my accountant. Why? He know those rules very well and I respect him for that very much. He said one of the wisest things I have ever been told about taxes. He said:

“It is every taxpayer’s responsibility to AVOID paying as much tax as possible so long as they do not EVADE paying every tax dollar due”!

This is the key to the game we all play with frequent flyer miles and the airlines. We AVOID paying fees and enjoy all the perks that we can that are inside the rules, but we do not step across the line where we are EVADING what the rules say we must do. As simple as that. As long as they are saying we are playing by the rules, they are the rules officials and we are simply doing what they say is A-OK!

Bottom line, each time you see a “pundit” tell you that you should be ashamed about scoring whatever deal you just got – just smile and check the above and you can feel good about your deal and know they are just jealous and upset they did not get in and barking up the wrong tree! – René

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  1. Agreed. As long as the rules apply equally to everyone, I don’t see a problem with taking advantage of a killer deal. Once booked, it should be honored.

  2. Of course I take advantage of fares mistakes… A year ago in march because a glitch of the system I redeem a VLN BOG GRU IN BUSINESS two passengers one way just using 8000 miles!! and the taxes were a ridiculous amount of 12$!… Once I redeemed that they changed the fare to the original amount of…. 94000 miles! but after all they deducted just the 8k… and I enjoyed my flights almost for free 😉

  3. This is a comment on the UA post a couple of days ago. I may be missing something but the UA program seems to be better except for the Delta Amex exception. With UA you satisfy the mileage requirements much easier because the entire ticket price counts toward the PQD requirement. It seems that Delta often charges a ridiculous amount of the ticket as fees instead of fare. This is particularly true on international flights. What are these so-called fees, and can Delta arbitrarily decide how much of ticket they assign to fees versus fare? If so that is not fair(pun).

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