Unavailable Dates and Lack of Low-Level Award Tickets Top List of Frequent Flyer Award Redemption Pet Peeves

By Jesse Sokolow on 11 April 2016
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Airline frequent flyer programs, the spiritual successor to S&H Green Stamps of the previous century, allow flyers to accumulate points and miles as they fly and make purchases with affiliated credit cards and then redeem the points for travel.

The process for this, however, is fraught with complications and surprises – so many, that whether or not there are some is not the topic of this survey, but rather how the traveler would rank them.

Between February 8 and March 18, 2016, approximately 1,100 frequent flyers participated in our survey, which was conducted in conjunction with FlyerTalk, the world’s largest online community, and Expert Flyer, a leading air travel information service.

Respondents were asked to rank fifteen peeves in order of their irksomeness, and, for the fifth consecutive year, dates not available topped the list. This particular peeve’s popularity on the list is logical: if one can’t get tickets for the dates one needs to travel, nothing else really matters.

The next two peeves focused on the cost of a ticket. Low-level Award Tickets (those which cost the least amount of miles or points) Not Available came in second, while Taxes, Booking Fees, and Fuel Surcharges ended in third place. Next was Difficulty Booking Partner Rewards in fourth, followed by Poor Search Tools in fifth, Mixed Segments Price at Highest Class in sixth, and Multiple Seats on One Flight Not Available in seventh.

Rounding out the top ten were Mileage Redemption Higher than Advertised in eighth, Change Fees in ninth, and Fee Charged for Booking Where Online Booking Not Available in tenth.

1.) Dates Not Available

That this peeve has come in first throughout the history of this survey comes as no surprise, as an unavailable date would be immensely more detrimental to someone’s travel plans than any other peeve on the list. If one cannot get to his destination on the desired date, he may well not go at all, leaving out the possibility of being irked by any other peeves.

2.) Low-Level Award Ticket Not Available

Frequent travelers love getting great deals, and award redemptions are no exception.  However, often there are only more expensive (in points or miles) tickets available, which results in the redemption not being cost effective.

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