Capital One Travel Portal Issues
It seems like banks have wanted to become more and more like travel agents. Pretty much all the major banks have launched their own travel portals over the last few years. They even give huge multiples to use their bank’s cards in the travel portal #synergy. Heck, Chase is even doubling down in their effort to become a travel behemoth. It looks like Capital One has been on the same wavelength of thinking. Look no further then when they launched the Capital One Venture X. Ever notice how much their new travel portal played a role with the card? They give you a travel credit and anniversary points that can only be used in their portal. They also offer up to 10X earning when you book through their portal, which seems pretty amazing. The problem is that this isn’t the banks’ expertise so they are not adept at fixing issues that come up. A reader reached out to me with some Capital One travel portal issues and asked me to share her story. I have heard of other grumblings here and there about the Cap One portal too (all bank travel portals really).
Reader’s Experience With Capital Travel Portal Issues
I will share reader D’s experience with their recent Capital One portal booking. It appears that there was an issue on Capital One’s back end when she booked her trip. Sadly, it wasn’t caught until it was too late. To make matters worse, Capital One struggled to come up with a reasonable solution once the issue was discovered. This led to over 10 hours on the phone, all while traveling internationally, for reader D. That is how a vacation gets ruined right there!
Capital One Travel Portal Booking
Reader D booked a roundtrip flight from Chicago to Warsaw, Poland in first or business class via the Capital One travel portal. She had used her newly minted Capital One Venture X card to book the flight for the card’s 5X earning on flights when using the Cap One portal. This was a way for her to burn her $300 yearly travel credit too. Using the portal is a requirement for this yearly perk, as well as the anniversary gift of 10,000 points. That means you need to use Capital One’s travel portal in order to maximize the card’s perks and offset the $395 annual fee.
Reader D had thought she got a great deal on the airfare ($1584.69) for a mixed cabin flight. She would have first / business class on the long leg of the flight over the pond and then switch to economy for intra-Europe flight. Things didn’t work out that way though. She was met with a surprise when she went to check in for the flight out of Chicago. United showed that they were flying in Premium Plus instead of business class. Capital One was showing first / business class when she booked the ticket but United’s system was showing them booked in Premium Plus. Here are some screen shots of the return flight showing the discrepancy (she didn’t have access to the original flight any longer).
What the Capital One booking showed her:
What her United account showed when checking there:
At the airport the gate agent told her she would have to pay $1398 to upgrade to business class. United was unwilling to do anything since the flight was not booked directly with them. She paid it and got on the flight (risky), figuring she would straighten it out with Capital One upon arrival.
Lessons To Be Learned
There are a couple of things I want to point out here that we can all learn from. First off, check your tickets after booking, especially if booking via a third party. Verify that the ticket matches the same class, flight times, equipment etc. as it did when you booked it. It is much less stressful to deal with these issues prior to your trip versus while you are on it. I know we all get lazy with this, myself included, since it is right 99% of the time. Still check!
Secondly, remember that when you use a travel portal to book a flight or hotel you are not going to get any assistance from the hotel or airline. It is like booking via Expedia etc. They have to give these bank travel portals a cut of the money too, so they aren’t going to bend over backwards to fix things for you.
Trying To Get The Capital One Travel Portal Issue Corrected
Upon getting to Warsaw reader D went to work. It was a bit tricky since she needed to fight for her $1398 upgrade charge at the airport and get moved into business class for the flight home. The was a two headed beast that needed to be slayed.
She started calling and messaging Capital One to get a resolution. She got bounced around multiple call centers and spoke to numerous supervisors. Some would tell her they would give her the credit for the flight over but would never put it in writing or send an email. Reader D figured they would be able to see the booking discrepancy and get with United to book them into the proper class of service for the flight home. It was anything but that simple.
She was getting the run around right and left, being told there were no more business class seats on the flight even though they still showed space online. Including on Capital One’s own travel portal. At one point she was told supervisors weren’t available until the morning, 9AM ET. Around and around it went.
She finally saw light at the end of the tunnel, an agent found business space she could be booked into. That was until he came back 10 minutes later saying the system wouldn’t let him book it. Capital One kept saying that a refund was the only option ($1000) and she would have to fly premium economy home. Most would have given up here, but not D!
After some more back and forth they kept insisting on just refunding the cash and points used for the flight. She kept refusing and feeding them different flights showing space. Then, finally, they booked her on Lufthansa business class connecting through Munich. She also was refunded the $1398 for the upgrade at the airport for her flight to Poland.
Capital One Travel Portal Issues: Final Thoughts
I am glad it all ended up working out for reader D in the end. But, wow, did it take a lot of effort. The last thing I want to do on vacation is spend 10+ stressful hours on hold, talking to customer service reps / supervisors and messaging back and forth non stop. Throw in the fact that she was overseas, with different hours and added hoops of getting around international calling costs etc., on top of it.
I have always been one to say, I’ll suck it up now and look for compensation / resolution later so I can focus on enjoying the trip. I can say, without a doubt, that wouldn’t have offered as good as a solution as reader D got here. It would have likely meant flying premium economy and just getting a $1,000 courtesy credit when it was all said and done. Paying cash for the upgrade at the airport was a risk too. They may have refused to credit the difference there, even with proof of the discrepancy.
This right here is a big reason why I refuse to use travel portals. I’ll cash out the points and book direct instead. When everything runs smoothly they are perfectly fine, but, when you run into issues having another cook in the kitchen makes things much more difficult. The airlines, or hotels, and the travel portal company are not going to work together to fix something for you. So be aware of that when you book via this route, and be prepared to fight to the death when an issue arises. Just like reader D had to.