Monday, March 9, 2020

Opinion: Chase Ultimate Rewards Refused to Refund Alaska Airlines Ticket where Alaska Airlines Honored Refund

In short, I have a lower view of Chase rewards which happens to coincide with me wanting to cancel my Chase Reserve Card; and a better view with Alaska Airlines which happens to coincide with me wanting to move away from United.

My situation is that I am flying cross-country. Due to family circumstances, I did not want to put them at risk with the Corona virus even if it is a rather small chance so I decided to cancel my trip with Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines had launched their Peace of Mind policy which waived change and cancel fees. Because I booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, I called them. When I reached some guy with a moderate Indian accent. After I explained my situation, he goes to "research" his options then puts me on hold several times. Eventually, he says that my ticket is a 'savers' ticket so cannot be considered for fee waivers. I explained to him that Alaska Airlines has the policy which he responds that I need to go through the airline even though the Alaska Airline site specifically says to go through the agency that I purchased the ticket from. He then repeats that my ticket will be charged a cancellation fee.

A bit off-topic, I can barely hear the guy and he barely hears me. When he speaks, there are random background noise. I am not sure why there is such a low quality with support this time. I usually have rather high quality sound and service from Chase or their credit card services. To add, why did he need to research on how to cancel my ticket? And also on one of the final holds, I just got this annoying beeping sound as if I was disconnected instead of the hold music I had before. I was unwilling to hang up at this point, and he did eventually return to give me nothing useful.

So then I called Alaska Airlines which I had to wait a long while. Eventually, I got through and spoke with Becka. Becka was wonderful, professional, and explained that I should go through Chase. I then explained that Chase refused and that I speak with Alaska Airlines. She understood and went to ask what she could help me with. I was on hold for a few minutes. She came back and told me that she explained my situation and confirmed there was "difficulties" with Chase so she needed to reach out to see if she could assist with exception for me. She came back on and said that she could help by giving me credit with Alaska Airlines which I was perfectly fine with (although, I would have preferred refund as the policy stated). Since I was most likely going to fly with Alaska in the future, this was not a major problem.

So, I do not understand why Chase cannot honor the policy the airline was willing to waive. From what Alaska said, they could have reached out to Alaska for a waiver code. I tried to call back to Chase but I was told that the wait was 3-5 minutes and eventually waited 20 minutes before giving up.

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