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I’ve talked several times in this space about the concept of “gardening” your reservations.  What that means is periodically reviewing your reservations, and making sure that everything is still as you expect it to be.  Unfortunately hotels and airlines (mostly airlines) have a habit of changing schedules, and only SOME of the time do they bother telling you (or perhaps some time it gets caught up in junk mail folders).  Schedule changes don’t HAVE to be a bad thing – quite often you can use a schedule change to rearrange your schedule and get more preferable flights.  For example

Planning a New York City trip

I wrote before about how I bartered for babysitting with a friend of mine.  In exchange for a week’s worth of babysitting (which we used to take a first class trip around the world), I agreed to use my miles and points to take her family on vacation.  It’s taken a LONG time to coordinate (with a few false starts), but finally we have it set for a trip to New York over the Christmas holiday break.  Paying 12,000 SPG points is a bit better than the rack rate of nearly $600 at the Sheraton Times Square!

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(SEE ALSO: 5 awesome things to do in New York City)

Disaster strikes

Due to low award space availability on American (who knew?!?), we had to split up this family of 4 onto 2 different flights from Cincinnati to New York.  But then I got an email this week

a screenshot of a flight schedule

Ummm that is a big schedule change!  Reviewing the other flight showed that it TOO had been schedule changed and the other 2 passengers had been booked on a flight that now connected in Philadelphia and arrived nearly 12 hours earlier!  After consulting with the family, we decided to try and get all booked on an afternoon direct flight.

First try was tweeting out to American Airlines

a screenshot of a social media post

Since I used Avios to book the flight (oh how I miss you 4500 Avios flights!), American could not do anything.  I was not sure that was entirely correct, since I didn’t think that British Airways would be able to open up award space on American (of course, now there was ZERO award space to any airport in New York City on the day in question)


But I figured I’d give British Airways a try.  I tweeted out to them and they wanted to talk on the phone.  Rather than just telling me to call in to the reservations line (Hi American Airlines!), they wanted to call ME!  I gave them my number and spoke to a very pleasant individual (with a British accent of course :-D).  I guess that’s ANOTHER way to beat the long British Airways phone number hold times!

He confirmed the flight details I was requesting, and after a brief hold, we were in business!  It could not have been any more painless!  I was definitely impressed that they were able to take care of this, and just one more reason to make sure to garden your reservations

Readers – do you garden your reservations?  Leave your success stories in the comments

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