I just wanted to write a quick follow up to the post from the other day regarding my trip to Nepal that never was. At the end of that post I mentioned how I was just going to book COK-DOH and DOH-AUH thus dropping the last leg to which was splitting my award into two tickets.
Previously I had been looking to do both of those legs on Qatar Airways, but I searched and found an Etihad flight which worked out better time wise for me. Additionally Etihad provides chauffeur service, so naturally I wanted to try that out. When I called into American to ticket the reservation and make the change for DOH-AUH from Qatar to Etihad, suddenly the award was splitting again.
Since this was late at night and only twelve hours before the flight was set to depart, I sort of lost my temper a bit. No one could tell me why the award was splitting. Finally a supervisor came on and explained that American’s contract with Qatar for flights with destinations in the Middle East prevents interlining. Essentially if you are flying within the Middle East with American miles and one of your segments is on Qatar then you cannot have a second segment on another carrier like Etihad. (My first segment was on Qatar from COK-DOH.)
Once the supervisor explained this, I had no choice but to go with the Qatar flight and accept his offer of waiving the booking fee for my inconvenience. I am actually happy it turned out this way since Qatar considers their regional two class configurations as first and economy classes. Being in first class meant that I was able to use the 1st class lounge and of course drink Krug champagne on the plane!
This situation serves as another reminder that we don’t know all of the rules that American has when booking awards. You can know the five major rules I laid out a few days ago, but there are other little ones that are very specific such as in this case. If an agent can’t give you a good reason why the price is higher than it should be, it never hurts to politely ask to speak to a supervisor. At least you may get a straight answer!