3 ways I’ve gotten bonus points from airlines and hotels

I never hope for something to go wrong on a trip, but when it does I try to think on the bright side. What experience is this giving me that I wouldn’t have otherwise had? Maybe I get to meet a cool new person or try some good food that I would have otherwise missed out on. Maybe I even will even be given some additional points from an airline or hotel for some sort of inconvenience that was caused!

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not usually the type to complain about silly things to get a few extra points, but sometimes the points come without having to complain, or sometimes it’s a bigger deal and I do feel like I am owed some compensation.

Here are 3 ways I’ve gotten bonus points from airlines and hotels over the years.

1. American Airlines Equipment Swap – 25,000 American Airlines Miles

A few years back I redeemed American Airlines miles to fly from Rio de Janeiro to Detroit. I purposefully chose my routing to have the best aircraft I could. Unfortunately, on the day of travel, my plane was equipment swapped from one will fully-flat business class to angled-flat business class. The old plane had only business and economy, while the new plane also had fully-flat first class.

Since I knew I had to be on that flight because I was traveling home for the holidays, I tried to weasel myself an upgrade to first class. I knew they were going to have to upgrade some fliers as the new plane’s business class cabin was smaller than the old plane’s. I didn’t have much luck with that strategy.

I was pretty bummed, but hey, angled-flat business class is still better than economy! So I flew home on my slightly sloping seat. When I landed, I had an email from American Airlines awarding me 25,000 miles for the equipment swap! I would be downgraded from fully-flat to angled-flat business class almost any day for that number of bonus miles.

2. Holiday Inn Fire Alarm at 2 AM – 3,000 IHG Points

I stayed at a Holiday Inn for a quick overnight back in December 2018. The fire alarm went off at about 2 AM, and it didn’t seem like a drill. I got up, threw my clothes on, and felt the handle of the door to see if it was hot. When it wasn’t, I opened the door and peered out. Everyone in my hallway was doing the same thing. It didn’t seem like there was a fire after all (though in retrospect probably should have still continued down to the lobby). Instead, I grabbed the phone and called the front desk. They confirmed that there was no fire. The fire department still had to come and give an all-clear, so a while later over the intercom that was announced. Needless to say, it was not easy to fall asleep after all of this.

This was a case where I felt like I was due compensation, but in the end, I was offered only 3,000 IHG points (which I don’t feel like was enough).

3. Southwest Flight Diversion – $100 Southwest Voucher

I used to visit Baltimore at least once a month because I was dating someone who lived there. At the time, Southwest had flights from Detroit and Flint, Michigan direct so I would usually pick whichever airport was cheaper to fly out of on any given weekend. A lot of the flying I did was during the winter, and there was some badddd weather to deal with.

One Sunday night on my way back to Michigan, by flight actually diverted back to Baltimore due to the airport being closed. I wasn’t able to fly out until the next afternoon. Luckily, I didn’t actually mind spending extra time in Baltimore (though I would have preferred if my flight had just been canceled) and my boss didn’t mind me working remotely occasionally – yes, this was back before I did freelance writing full time – so I just worked from Baltimore on Monday morning, and flew back to Michigan in the afternoon!

While I did have insurance through my credit card that would have covered any additional expenses, I didn’t really know about it at the time. Instead, I asked Southwest if there was anything they could do for the inconvenience, and they gave me a $100 voucher. Luckily, all it cost me to stay in Baltimore was two extra trips on the light rail, so $100 more than covered it.

Have you ever gotten bonus points/miles or cash from an airline or hotel when something has gone wrong?

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