Capital One Travel Portal Booking Issue
Last week I shared a reader’s experience having Capital One travel portal issues. She had booked a flight that said business class but was told her flight was for Premium Plus on United when she got to the airport. It ended up taking multiple phone calls and about 10 hours total to get it straightened out. She had to pay close to two thousand dollars at the airport to upgrade as well. She ended up getting it all straightened out but it was a long row to hoe. People were quick to say the reader should have noticed the discrepancy before the trip or noticed that it was a mixed cabin booking etc. Well, I don’t think people can be so quick to say that with this Capital One travel portal booking issue.
When A Flight Change Turns Into A Nightmare
Here is reader Kathy’s experience with the Capital One travel portal team when dealing with a pretty routine flight change. Remember how easy it was for me to change my American Airlines flight recently, and even get changed to a much more expensive flight, when dealing with the airline directly. A little background on Kathy, she has been a travel agent for 25 years so understands the process these reps are going through pretty well.
Here is Kathy’s story:
So I got upgraded to the Capital One Venture X earlier this year and took advantage of the 5X miles when booking through the Capital One travel portal. I booked two tickets to Naples, Italy from Phoenix for myself and my boyfriend.
I found my flights on Google flights and got the routing and the aircraft that I was interested in and called Capital One to book the travel. The travel was booked this past April, for travel next month. I got the flights, the price and seats I wanted and paid with my credit card.
A Schedule Change & Poor Routing
About a week later I got an email from Capital One saying there was a schedule change. I deal with this all day every day. I looked at the email they sent me with the proposed flight and it was nothing that I was interested in. So, I went to my work computer and looked up the flights that I did want. I called Capital One back and told the gentleman that I didn’t want the flights that they wanted to give me and that I wanted to be booked into different flights. He told me that wasn’t an option. I told him it absolutely is an option because I’m a travel agent, I do this all day, and I know what the parameters are when there is a schedule change.
He put me on hold for quite some time and came back and said he would request the flights that I wanted. He also said he would get back to me in 24 to 48 hours. First of all, no. I have never once in my career told somebody I would get back to them in 48 hours for a schedule change. It is done while I am on the phone with the customer. Or, I may need to call them back in an hour or so but never two days.
Fast forward a couple of days, I get a call back saying that the schedule change I wanted was not possible. I told him it absolutely was, he needed to email the key accounts desk at Lufthansa and they would give a waiver for the fare. Again he tells me it’s gonna take two days. I asked to speak to a manager at this point. I explain to the manager what was happening and he suggests he knew how to get it taken care of and he would handle it for me. Once again, I was told I would have to wait 24 to 48 hours.
It Is Finally Fixed, Or Is It?
The next day I get a call that everything was done. I looked at the itinerary and the flights are exactly what I wanted. Then, I go onto Lufthansa‘s website to get my seats back and it won’t let me do it. I call the Lufthansa agent line and sat on hold for an hour and forty minutes. That is when I was told that when the travel agency exchanged the two airline tickets, they didn‘t ‘release’ my boyfriend’s ticket. What that means, in non-travel agent speak, is that when they did the exchange they didn’t do it correctly with his ticket and only I was ticketed correctly. My boyfriend was not. If I had not caught that, it would’ve been a huge mess at the airport.
At that point I was set up and called Capital One back and told that manager to just cancel everything and refund my card. He wanted to argue with me that I couldn’t do that because my ticket was nonrefundable. I told him that you guys have royally screwed this up, I’ve spent numerous hours on the phone with Capital One travel and with Lufthansa‘s agent line and this is a nightmare. He finally agreed to refund my tickets.
I promptly went to Lufthansa‘s website and rebooked what I wanted by myself. I feel bad for anyone that doesn’t pay attention to their documents and doesn’t check things on a regular basis. These agents are pretty green and don’t seem to be well versed in what they can and cannot do.
When I first upgraded my card in January, I had called the travel portal people to ask them about rental cars in Italy and nobody could give me a straight answer. I should have known then that this was not going to end well.
Capital One Travel Portal Booking Issue: Final Thoughts
This is one that I think many people would have missed. Just imagine if the seats had matched what Kathy wanted and she never had a reason to call Lufthansa. Or, if she wasn’t willing to wait almost 2 hours on the phone with them to get it straightened out.
The banks are going all in on travel portals so they capture more of your spend. They also get a nice kickback on all of the bookings, just like an Expedia etc. That means this is a potential windfall for them if they can beef up their booking numbers. Chase is already one of the largest travel agencies in the world, and they are looking to get bigger.
The problem is they use offshore call centers to handle a lot of this stuff or have agents that are in way over their head. They don’t know how to properly fix things and everything takes levels of bureaucracy to get handled.
Imagine how much easier this would have been if Kathy just had to call Lufthansa to choose a different flight after the schedule change. That is why I will continue to say keep travel portal bookings to car rentals or non chain hotels. The one exception for flights may be American Express, although I have heard of some grumblings with them lately as well. In the past they have always been pretty on the ball with stuff though.