Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bad, bad One Pass!

When I signed up for Continental’s One Pass program, I did it, because their miles don’t expire as fast as other airlines’. I also liked the fact that Northwest had a hub in Asia. It made my travels easy. In the past, I managed to redeem my miles for flights on KLM or Air France. I was happy. Even when an occasional One Pass Rewards booking agent screw up left me sleeping in an airport somewhere.

But I’m not happy anymore. These days I’m cheap and fly with whomever offers the best deal, miles and points be damned. My budget comes first! For a while, I did dutifully sign up for the miles thingies with Lufthansa and Finnair, and I even remembered to hand over proper miles thingy cards when checking in. Sadly, Star Alliance miles expire faster than I can earn them. And Finnair and their One World scheme? I fly them only once a year.

So now, I find myself with a bunch of miles. A bunch big enough for a round trip in Europe or Asia, with some left over… But not big enough for a trip between Europe and Asia.

Instead, I figured, it would be nice if I could turn the miles into a hotel stay. I rummaged through my pile of different hotel loyalty cards and picked those with properties in places I wanted to visit. And guess what? My miles are as useless as two tits on a bull. Can’t exchange them for/into hotel points.

“Continental miles no good,” said a friendly Hilton customer service rep, “Virgin miles much better!”

And the moral of the story? You get what you pay for. Continental cheap but no good. Virgin no cheap but better.

I guess I will have to fly somewhere to redeem those bloody miles after all. On a Sky Team airline, no less. Hmmm… Korean Air does fly between Ulaan Baatar and Seoul… Now that’s a possibility! And how I’m gonna get me to Mongolia? I’ll worry about it later. Gotta redeem those miles before they no good!

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