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Jan 5, 2018
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#1
The following describes a problem I encountered redeeming miles for a Delta ticket through my Capital One credit card’s mileage program. Delta sets the prices that translate to ticket cost in mileage “points” in this program.


A friend and I have planned a trip to Rome for May, 2018. We agreed to fly Delta as my friend wished to use miles from her Delta frequent flyer program. On 9/30/17 I researched flights. The one that met our needs was listed at something like $826 RT. My friend was unavailable to book until the following week. On 10/7 we got on our computers and our respective sites simultaneously to make sure our flight choices were aligned and to make mutually agreeable seat selections. The price for her through Delta’s site was something like $930. However the flights on my Capital One site had shot up to $1391, a shocking increase of over $560 in one week. We went ahead and purchased, perhaps mistakenly, worrying that things would only get worse and we wouldn’t be able to get the tickets we wanted.


I’m well-aware that airline ticket prices are subject to a lot of volatility, but I simply have not been able to square this particular increase for several reasons. The first, as cited above, is that my friend booked at virtually the same moment for a much lower price. The second is that, at over 7 months in advance, with lots of seats still available, my price increased by 67% in one week’s time, making it an outlier by any standard. Add to this that by the next morning, the price through Capital One had dropped back to the same $900 something that my friend had paid.


All these facts considered, I have to wonder if the price I was charged on 10/7 was some kind of glitch or mistake. It simply doesn’t look like it could be right. Of course, there’s the ever-popular urban legend explanation that my price shot up so dramatically due to the cookies that tracked my earlier research. Capital One’s rep said there was no way for their company to remedy the situation; that if there were to be any remedy it would have to be Delta choosing to reimburse some of the excessive cost of this ticket. I wrote to Delta’s CEO. The response was to regret that I was “disappointed”, further regret that they were “unable” to compensate for the difference in fare price, and to offer a $75 gift certificate for merchants of their choosing. Should I just be grateful for the gift certificate, or do I have other options?
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
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#2
I think that it might be that you were both buying at the exact same time and when your friend purchased hers it was the last one in that fare class. If you have a screen shot of the lower fare you might trying writing to customer service and see if they'll help you out.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#3
Prices are volatile and the fact you both were looking at the same time could have hurt you- the algorithms on a website can change prices on a dime when there are several people looking at the same price at the same time. And as Carrie said, your friend might have been a little quicker than you and got the last ticket at that lower price.

Plus if you didn’t clear your cache, the website knows the price you saw last week and can change pricing based on that.

But yes, it can happen. I just had flights go up $300 WHILE I was booking a package yesterday. When you see a price you like- you can’t wait. The price could be gone in minutes let alone a week.
 
Jan 5, 2018
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#4
Prices are volatile and the fact you both were looking at the same time could have hurt you- the algorithms on a website can change prices on a dime when there are several people looking at the same price at the same time. And as Carrie said, your friend might have been a little quicker than you and got the last ticket at that lower price.

Plus if you didn’t clear your cache, the website knows the price you saw last week and can change pricing based on that.

But yes, it can happen. I just had flights go up $300 WHILE I was booking a package yesterday. When you see a price you like- you can’t wait. The price could be gone in minutes let alone a week.
Sounds like I need to be grateful that it was miles and not actual $ I was spending.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,772
12,753
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#6
The best time to book is about 5 months before traveling except if you are traveling during the school break and holidays.

You might have just booked too early and pricing it at the same time as your friend might have been what caused the price to change.

What is the rebooking fee? If canceling and paying the cancellation penalty and rebooking at lower price still ends up saving over what you paid- you could do that too
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#7
Whenever you're confronted with something on the Internet that you don't like, KEEP STILL. Don't do anything, don't try to force anything, just walk away for a day or two.

I just went around with British Air and Air France about tix London-Paris and I got so frustrated that I finally booked an itinerary that wasn't exactly right. And, of course it's not acceptable and it took me 2 hours to figure out how to cancel for a full refund in the first 24 hours. I wasted 3 hours of my time today ... and for why? I was impatient and anxious to get the flights booked. Had I just walked away from AirFrance this morning I wouldn't have wasted a minute.

Best thing the two of you could have done was use a good travel agent, who would have booked each of you quite nicely, without the "synchronized watches" approach.
 
Last edited:
Jan 5, 2018
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#8
Following Neil's post, I immediately got online and found the current lower price of $929 (translated to mileage points) back on offer. I spent some time on the phone with Capital One's "exchange desk". The rep did everything she could think of to help me, including calling Delta on my behalf. But since this was a mileage program and not dollars, there was no scenario in which I would be allowed to make up the difference in prices. What I am getting is some valuable lessons learned, definitely including what posters here have said. And now I feel I've done everything I could, so I can leave it alone and focus on the trip.

Thanks so much to everyone who took the trouble to respond!