Notices

Consolidators for Biz Class Seats

Reply

Oct 11th, 2016, 04:55 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,350
Consolidators for Biz Class Seats

Today the NYTimes mentioned 2 consolidators they said are reliable and good for buying biz class seats, PlanetAmex.com and InternationalTravelSystems.com. Anyone familiar with either of these consolidators?
yestravel is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 11th, 2016, 05:04 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,058
Not those, but I've used Airtreks.com a number of times and swear by them and their service, even mid-trip. They've never failed me.
MmePerdu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 12th, 2016, 06:38 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,082
I have not but my TA got us a consolidator fare once with a service that I think only TA's can use. It was biz ORD-NRT R/T. Even when we added travel insurance for the flight and cruise it was still cheaper than any other fare I was getting. I can refer her if you wish. This was on AC BTW. All in all it was pretty good.

Earlier this yr. she was getting ORD-SIN R/T biz on Emirates for 5 k pp which really is a great deal. We ended up using ANA and Asiana with miles from UA mileage plus.
jacketwatch is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 12th, 2016, 07:23 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,863
A lot of outfits selling "discounted" premium cabin airfare call themselves "consolidators" when in fact they're "mileage brokers" who buy frequent flyer miles from people and then use them to book tickets for their customers. Sometimes the organization who buys the miles isn't the same as the company that sells them; this is done to throw off the airlines, since the practice of buying and selling miles/points is expressly prohibited by every airline.

It's difficult to sort out the sheep and goats in this; there may well be legitimate "consolidators," but it's rarely the case that they have access to premium cabin (business and first class) bargains. And a BBB rating is no guarantee.

Personal story: last year somebody hacked my American Airlines frequent flyer account and stole 300,000 of my miles, then sold them to a mileage broker/"consolidator" that had plenty of great reviews online.

The "consolidator" then used the stolen miles to sell three first-class tickets on Cathay Pacific Airlines between Hong Kong and New York. The people that bought the tickets paid something like $2500 - $3000, which sounded like a great deal for tickets typically costing twice as much.

However I had contacted American Airlines a day or two after I discovered the hack, and in short order they had traced the miles to this broker. AA alerted Cathay Pacific, and all three tickets were canceled and the people were out their money. And they had no recourse, because of the very tiny "fine print" in their contract with these people. I eventually got my miles restored.

Mileage brokers aren't breaking any law, so you can't go after them for fraud. The perp who stole my miles IS a crook, but untraceable since the miles were sold to the broker using an alias and a "burner" email account. The broker didn't know the miles were stolen, and probably didn't ask; fences who deal with stolen property usually don't ask these kinds of questions.

So it comes down to the Dirty Harry question: Do you feel lucky?

I don't know what your plans are, but discounted business class isn't terribly hard to find working through legitimate OTAs like Expedia or through the airlines themselves. Especially for transatlantic routes, there is enormous competition among the airlines for premium cabin passengers.

Look at this forum on Flyertalk - http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/premium-fare-deals-740/ . This is a place where frequent flyers post news about cheap business/first class fares they found in the course of shopping around. (You'll need to brush up on your airline and airport codes so that you'll know that "TK: SFO-AMS RT J $2699" means Turkish Airlines, San Francisco to Amsterdam [via Istanbul] round trip in business class for $2699.") These fares are all sold by the airlines themselves, not some "consolidator" who may be crooked. Or not.

Or use ITA - http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ - the gold standard in flight pricing - for more focused shopping. Use their 30-day calendar, click "business class or higher," and off you go. At the moment, premium fares to Europe and Asia are much cheaper out of Canada than the US, so price some trips out of Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver then mentally add the cost of a separate "positioning" ticket to one of those cities, and see what you get.

But dealing with "consolidators" is at best a risky business, and quite often the savings are nowhere near as great as the gamble.
Gardyloo is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 12th, 2016, 09:30 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,082
Thanks for the wealth of info Gardy. You reminded me to check by ff bank.

.
jacketwatch is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 12th, 2016, 11:15 AM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,350
Thanks, all! I dont have specific flight in mind, just inquiring for future possible use.
yestravel is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 13th, 2016, 06:47 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,650
Adding my thanks to Gardyloo for the great info.
annw is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 17th, 2016, 07:55 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,876
Thanks from here, too! Great info.
scdreamer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 18th, 2016, 12:58 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 31,777
yestravel, I read the NYT travel section regularly, but have been surprised recently by a number of inaccuracies. So double check on the agencies they recommend.
Kathie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 23rd, 2016, 04:30 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,253
But dealing with "consolidators" is at best a risky business, and quite often the savings are nowhere near as great as the gamble.

I'm guessing that the airlines are continually improving their computer algorithms so that tickets issued as reward tickets will be correlated with a mileage plan number that in turn, will link to an account with activity that can be analysed. Did the ticket holder acquire the miles by flying them or were they the result of a purchase of miles (from the airline) and then deposited into my account? etc. etc. In short, where did the miles come from and is their usage in compliance with the terms and conditions of redemption?

But I am, as I said, guessing. Either way gardy you are right (as usual!) about this, there are less risky ways to look for sales.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 23rd, 2016, 03:27 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 31,777
The airlines have long connected reward tickets with a ff number. But remember, the airlines allow you to gift an award ticket to someone, so it doesn't have to be the flyer's ff account that purchased the tickets. Abuse of the system may cause them to reconsider that - I hope not.
Kathie is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:49 AM.