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You might remember reading here a few weeks ago about how I am trying to help some friends of mine book 3 tickets to Australia for an epic family tripsydney

(SEE ALSO: Will we get this family of 3 to Australia?)

While they’re okay flying in economy, they are trying to go over the Christmas / New Year’s break, which is one of the most popular times to fly for what seems like LITERALLY EVERY PERSON ON THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!

Getting the miles

Over the past few months, they’ve gotten a couple of credit cards and met the minimum spending to rack up a bunch of good signup bonuses.  Between the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink, and a couple of Citi American AAdvantage cards, they have 102,000 American miles in one account, 55,000 in another, and 130,000 Ultimate Rewards.

Our plan was to use the American miles to fly from the US to Australia, and then transfer the Chase Ultimate Rewards to United to book the return flight back to the US

Finally, the miles all posted and we were ready to book the trip.  This was a bit later than we’d have liked, since space opens up 330 days out and tends to go fast.  Still, you can’t book the trip without the miles, so we had to wait…

(Trying to) book the trip!

My friends came over last night and we were ready to book the trip.  While I had been finding availability on the LAX-AKL flight, we were able to find 3 seats from Los Angeles on a direct flight to Sydney on December 21st.  While that was a bit later than they would have preferred to leave, that was our best choice, so we called to book the flight

We could (and probably should) have put the 3 LAX-SYD seats on hold online, but we were hoping to call in to get a phone agent to “complete the itinerary” by opening up the domestic space from CVG-LAX.  The agent we spoke to either wouldn’t or couldn’t do that, and wanted to charge the $40 phone fee to do the hold.

(RELATED: American Airlines hold on reservation: putting an award on hold for 5 days (for free!))

What complicated things was that we only had enough miles to book 2 of the tickets in one account, though I guess looking back we could have put the hold on 3 tickets and then paid for it with the miles from the 3rd account when we called to finalize the booking.  We put 2 of the seats on hold from LAX-SYD.

Presto change-o, I’ll make your award space… DISAPPEAR!

Then it was time to put the 3rd seat on hold.  We had a bit of a problem with figuring out the password for my friend’s account but eventually got that figured out.  But when he logged in, here’s what we saw for LAX-SYD



The award space for 1 person on the 21st has…DISAPPEARED!

Looking for award travel on American, United, or Delta Airlines?   Don't delay using your miles or your space might... DISAPPEAR!

We tried calling in but they weren’t able to do anything for us.  So either something about us booking 2 of the tickets caused the 3rd one to disappear, or someone booked it right out from under us!  If it was someone reading this note, I hope you’re happy!!! 🙂

So at this point the plan is to at least put the ticket on the 23rd on hold and hope for something better to open up.  Or does anyone out there have any suggestions to help this family?

Clearly, my career as an award booker has started with an ignominious whimper….

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