Late last year I booked an Alaska ticket using a $100 discount code (essentially a voucher) and paid a little cash for the remaining balance. The trip was for two tickets from Albuquerque to San Jose, with a stop in San Diego. The nonstop would have been preferred, but hey, it was cheapest.
A schedule change and a decision to cancel the trip later, and I was calling Alaska to see if I could get the balance back. I’d known about the change for a while before we pulled the plug, but the rep was happy to let me keep the full value of the tickets. He said I’d simply need to provide the number for the full $84 each.
Except when I went to make another booking with the funds, nothing went smoothly.
Four different reps, two different stories
When I initially canceled the ticket, the rep was very clear that the tickets would retain their complete value, including the $50 applied to each from the discount code. This sounded great, as $84 is a much more useful amount for booking a new ticket than $34. I just had to use the value prior to January 23, 2020. I went my merry way, thrilled with Alaska’s excellent customer care.
However, when I finally went to book a new ticket with the original ticket numbers, the next rep informed me that each ticket actually only retained the $34 value. This was after an extended hold time of fifteen minutes, which was perplexing, given the original information I was provided. As it was late and I didn’t want to argue over it, I told her I would call back the next day. The final thing I did that evening was send off a Twitter direct message explaining the whole situation.
Alaska’s Twitter team is stellar. They have one of the fastest response times of any social media team I have communicated with. They did two things: first, the rep confirmed that the amount of the discount code could no longer be used, which matched what the second rep had told me. The first must have been wrong.
The second thing they did was send me another $100 discount code as a one-time courtesy. This was a very kind gesture, and would make up for the $100 I was lacking trying to re-book flights.
Just kidding. The first rep was right.
With the second voucher number in hand, I called up Alaska yet again. I explained the situation to the agent, and she proceeded to initiate the booking using the original ticket numbers. Lo and behold, their value was magically $84 again. How about that?
The total additional charge turned out to be $0.49 per ticket after the original values weer applied. No need for the additional voucher. Now let’s hope I don’t have to cancel again, as this would just complicate things even more. Kudos to Alaska for stellar customer service.
At the end of the day, I have nothing to complain about, except for maybe the lost time. In the end, the flights were booked using the balance of the original tickets, and now I find myself sitting on another $100 Alaska voucher.
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Yes, you should be thanking your lucky stars it wasn’t one of the “Big 3”, as you would have been SOL……(and that’s doesn’t stand for sun in Spanish!!!)
A very interesting account and I always love stories where the little guy ends up NOT being out-of-pocket!!! although it still leaves me wondering which version of reality was correct, apparently it is a difference without a distinction given the outcome. Just nice to read that I am not the only consumer facing indecipherable decisions from airlines, hotels etc.
A $100 discount code is absolutely *not* “essentially a voucher”. Any Alaska FF will tell you that, although I definitely don’t expect the general travelling public to know that. The second rep is generally correct. A discount code is a one-time discount, and just like if you return some shirt you bought online with a $10 off code, you don’t get that discount back; it just disappears into the ether. All of that info is of course in the terms, not that anyone reads them.
An e-credit, or wallet funds from a cancelled ticket, *are* just like a voucher/gift card/piggy bank; those you can re-use as needed. It’s why I always ensure I’m getting a credit or voucher instead of a discount code, and why I’m always frustrated that Alaska offers discount codes for anticipated overbooked flights (before the day of travel). You can only use codes on one ticket/reservation and any excess value is gone (a $650 discount code on a $100 ticket becomes used in full and you’d have a $0 ticket value on cancel).
I’m glad you got what you needed in the end. In my experience Alaska’s agents try hard and often shoot off a couple different help requests for one call, and I’ve had multiple experiences where someone changed something manually on the back end after my call, so I’m guessing that happened here – someone added $50 to each ticket as a gesture and to simplify things (especially if they thought you might again cancel the ticket and hit the same problem).