There are some things I’ve covered in the past but that have tripped up readers in the past week so I thought I’d highlight them again.
Starwood Points Don’t Transfer Instantly to Airlines
Don’t transfer Starwood points to a non-U.S. airline less than 2 weeks before intended travel.
Even if points ‘normally’ transfer within a week based on data points others have shared, if Starwood isn’t promising that as transfer time there’s always the risk that the transfer won’t go through as-planned. And since you’re inside the promised time, it’s tough to get anyone to force the issue.
I find you can put an American AAdvantage award on hold for 5 days, transfer Starpoints, and then issue tickets. And transferring points to Korean Air is great since their policy is to hold an award on their own flights for at least a month, sometimes until a few days prior to departure, and holds can be extended.
But if you’ve got Korean Air travel two weeks out, you make a reservation, and then transfer Starpoints things may very well work out. Points usually transfer in under a week. But what if they don’t? You haven’t waited the amount of time Starwood says transfers will take, so chasing down a transfer is going to be difficult.
Starwood transfers to foreign airlines isn’t great for last minute bookings.
Air France KLM Flying Blue Will Sometimes Freeze New Accounts After Points Transfers
Don’t open a new Air France KLM Flying Blue account, immediately transfer points in, and book an award ticket — especially in someone else’s name.
Sure, they’re your spouse. But Flying Blue is reasonably likely to audit your account and cancel the ticket even after you’ve paid for it. You’ll probably be cleared… on French investigative time… but at that point it may be too late for travel, and the award space you wanted may be gone. It’s a good idea to open an Air France KLM Flying Blue account now, just in case you need it later, if only to reduce the likelihood that the out of control (and run amok, really) auditors in Paris do that.
Or maybe they’ll just let you get through the online booking process and at the end say you have to go to an airport to ticket, which isn’t super convenient if you don’t live in an Air France gateway city — which is why using a brand new account you’re likely to have better luck ticketing by phone.
Air France KLM Flying Blue has genuinely out of control auditors, and though it seemed for awhile like they had gotten better or brought the dogs to heel, apparently they haven’t.
My suggestion is that if you don’t already have an Air France KLM Flying Blue account open one now so it’s not brand new when you need it — and that you issue your first redemption by phone.