When Points & Miles Bookings Don’t Work Out

So I talk a LOT on this blog about all the travel we do as a result of travel hacking, otherwise known as using credit cards and other means to acquire lots of airline miles and hotel points and explore the world on the cheap.

Well, we were in the midst of planning our BIGGEST TRIP EVER. We had acquired around 130k points on our Citi Thank You account, 85k points on our Chase Ultimate Rewards account, and about 75k IHG points. And thanks to the fact that all of those currencies can transfer to Singapore Airlines, we were planning to book a First Class trip from Houston to Moscow, and spend 10 days exploring Moscow and St. Petersburg next May.

For those uninitiated, Singapore Airlines has regularly been named the best airline IN THE WORLD. Their first class cabins are legendary. And if you’re not using points, you should be prepared to shell out roughly $12k a ticket just for the honor. But we were going to get to do it, a $24k value round trip flight, for roughly $750 or so in taxes only, and nothing else. It was ultimate bucket list for me.

I had done the research, we had the points, and the first class saver awards were available on several dates that we could take advantage of. I was so excited, y’all.  I took a deep breath, set the points transfers in motion, and then started the impatient process of waiting for them to post to our Singapore Airlines account.

And then I waited.

And waited.

And waited some more. The Citi and Chase transfers occurred within a few days, but the IHG points took nearly 3 weeks to post to my account. But once they were finally in the account…

…the award availability was no longer there.

Disappointed but undeterred, I “waitlisted” six different round trip options on different dates that I was interested in, to see if anything opened up.  And then I started the process of checking the website and calling the U.S. Singapore Airlines office daily, to see if anything could be done.

Until today. Today, I read that as a result of lower oil prices drying up the business between Russia and Houston, Singapore is canceling the route entirely as of October.



Unfortunately, there’s not really a happy ending to this story, or at least not yet. Our points are now all stuck in the Singapore Airlines bucket, so I’ll have to hunt and peck to try to find some availability on another route or partner airline…perhaps Manchester or Frankfort in Europe.  Or, we can double-down, transfer even MORE points over to Singapore Airlines, and try to book a trip to Singapore, Seoul, or Tokyo.

I share this, though, because it’s good to know the risks of this hobby — to share the heartbreaks as well as the insane wins.  We very well may have just wasted 2+ years of points hoarding on a gamble that didn’t work out.  But, if that’s the case; c’est la vie.  We won’t stop travel hacking, we’ll just get started building our next points surplus.  It’s what you do.

Updates to come, hopefully. :-/