READER QUESTIONS: Avis DCC Scam, Using Different Star Alliance FF Programs For Status & Miles, Etihad’s Customer Service (Or Lack Thereof), Hilton Gold Medal Rate (Gone), IHG Award Availability In San Francisco, Platinum Ambassador Club Access, “High” Speed Internet At HGI & Deciphering Which Airlines Stock The Ticket Is Issued


Here are five seven reader questions from the past week (so many good questions coming in!) that I have decided to reply to publicly. You can always email me, leave a note or private message on Facebook, or Tweet me with your questions.

Reader Questions March 21

Note that I can shorten the emails and edit them for clarity. I always remove the personal information of both the reader and front line employees. If there are managers involved, I may leave their names intact, however.

Jeremy Question About Avis’ DCC Scam & Advertising

I’ve a case with Avis in US and cannot resolved through customer service. Would you suggest is there legal authorities (such as DoT) would handle complaints with car rental companies? It’s about misleading advertisement and unauthorized use of DCC. Thanks.

It is unclear from Jeremy’s message where he lives.

The best course of action would be to open a BBB (Better Business Bureau) case or complain via Attorney General. It would help if you could use an address in the United States.

DCC (Dynamic Currency Conversion) means that the merchant doesn’t put the charge through in the billing currency but their payment processor processes the charge in the currency of your card and adding 3% to 5% “fee” in the process. This is extremely annoying as the conversion done is NEVER beneficial for you.

Here are some pieces I have written about the Dynamic Currency Conversion scams:

ATM Dynamic Currency Conversion Scam (Copenhagen Airport)

Whine Wednesdays: Dynamic Currency Conversion Scam With A New Twist: Case InterContinental Cairo Semiramis

Evil Credit Suisse ATM’s With Dynamic Currency Conversion at Zurich Airport

Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) And Why You Should Always Decline

Withdrawing Money from the ATM’s at the London Heathrow Airport? Don’t Fall on the Travelex Currency Conversion Scam

Whine Wednesdays: Currency Conversion Fraud At Ritz-Carlton Jakarta Mega Kuningan

READ MORE: READER QUESTIONS: Ambassador Benefits On Intercontinental Stay, Joining Marriott Rewards, Using British Airways Avios, Accor’s Promotions & Hilton’s Double Points Package And Double Points Promotion

JT’s Question Using Different Star Alliance Frequent Flier Numbers For Status And Mileage Credits

I have re-qualified for Star Alliance gold under my regular frequent flyer programme (Air NZ), and the way their system works, any mileage after the re-qualification threshold is effectively wasted. I have some flights on Air NZ and want them to recognise my status on Air NZ but to credit the mileage to Asiana (to try to reach 500k lifetime Star Miles and lifetime *G status). I read somewhere that there is specific syntax to request the check-in person to do this. Do you know the syntax needed to do this?

There actually are commands that airlines can use in this case, but I would think that considering how dumped down the check in systems are nowadays that something might go wrong if you try to apply them or ask the agents to punch them in.

FQTV = should be the airline where you want the award and status miles to be credited

FQTS = should be the airline which status you would like to use

Trying to get this done with any other airline than Singapore Airlines is often an uphill battle.

What you can do is to give the frequent flier number at the check in that you would like to use for status benefits and then switch the number at the gate. If you do this, make sure that they print you a new boarding pass that reflects the frequent flier number where you want the miles to go.

L’s Question About Etihad Airways & Etihad Guest Customer Service

You can check etihads facebook page ( guest posts to page ) you will see hundreds of complaints….

I had problems on all my last 10 flights on etihad ( gold member, not matched ). Now i have missing miles credit and compensation request for a damaged bag and a big disaster.

I have actually written about this previously. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways are fantastic if there are no issues, but if something goes wrong you are on your own. Good luck with “customer” service.

I recently used miles to upgrade one Etihad flight from business to first class and the ticket was reissued in O class (award booking class where the mileage upgrades book into). Obviously this posted as non-qualifying for mileage credit.

It took roughly a month and four emails to get the flight correctly posted to my Etihad Guest account and this was for their own flight. Only after I was “threatening” them on a DOT complaint if the segment is not properly credited within 72 hours, they finally posted it.

I am now going through another retro credit with them because Swissport used HM designator for the frequent flier number instead of EY one for one segment on Air Seychelles that uses Guest as their frequent flier program as well. I think that this will be another battle that will take a month or two and number of emails.

READ MORE: READER QUESTIONS: Four Seasons Loyalty Program, Homewood Suites Won’t Be Open By The Time Of The Stay, Club Carlson & Le Club Accorhotels Status Matches, American Airlines Downgrade & Marriott Renewed Status

Andrew’s Question About Hilton’s Discount Rates In Asia Pacific & The Demise Of The Gold Medal Rate

Very little in promos for Hilton in our neck of the woods, no mvp and no gold medal award rate now. Pr codes never work out her so has something replaced the gold medal rate or perhaps later in the year ?

Yeah. Seems that the Gold Medal rate has gone for good (at least for now). I didn’t want to address this issue earlier because sometimes rates come and go, but it has now been gone for 5 weeks and must be at least temporarily discontinued.

There are no other similar discount rates that could be used worldwide. Once I find one, I will certainly write about it here on LoyaltyLobby.

Tamtamm’s Question About IHG Rewards Club

wanted to say so far I am not impressed with your rewards club…haven’t been able to use points for a free night at the holiday inn we stay at in San Francisco as they are always sold out but we can get a room pay and cannot access the gift catalog as the page will not open. Oh well

I often get messages and emails where readers confuse LoyaltyLobby with these airline and hotel loyalty program.

IHG affiliated hotels must make certain percentage of rooms available as rewards every night. Once this allocation has been used, the hotel doesn’t have offer further availability regardless whether they have base level rooms sale or not. Many hotels do but not all. The minimum percentage is 5%.

There are several IHG options in San Francisco and the Holiday Inn wouldn’t be my first choice. Consider staying at one of the two InterContinental hotels.

READ MORE: READER QUESTIONS: Accor’s 160 Euro Promo, Hyatt & Hilton Point Expiry, American Airlines Compensation, Star Alliance Gold Luggage Allowance & Best Hotel Loyalty Program For UK

Bosi’s Question About Platinum Ambassador Status & Club Access At InterContinental Hotels

I am an IHG Platinum Ambassador. Should I get at all Intercontinental Hotels complimentary access to the IHG Club Room?

By Club room you must mean a room that would come with Club Access?

InterContinental Ambassador status (Gold & Platinum) guarantees at minimum one category upgrade from the room that you booked. There are some InterContinental hotels that sometimes give Platinum Ambassador club lounge access (based on the upgrades that friends have received).

Even the InterContinental Royal Ambassador status won’t guarantee Club access, although most hotels nowadays do give that.

Scott’s Question About Internet Access At Hilton Garden Inn Charlotte/Ayrlsey

Currently staying at the HGI in Charlotte/Arsley. A fairly new property with wonderful staff, and good food. The channel selection on the TV is from Direct TV and is awesome. BUT…. the internet is for crap. As a Diamond member and having stayed at most every Hilton brand over the past 10+ years, I have never had internet as slow as on this property. And when i mean slow, I mean you cannot play a video unless you pay the Premium price of $4.95. Here it is the principle of the thing. I know Hilton was the last major brand to offer free internet to everyone, so now there is no differentiation between their most loyal guests and regular guests. I feel I have been downgraded in service.

Now I have encountered this before at several other HGI’s and when I called down to the front desk they offered me the codes for the Premium service, no questions asked, no comments made, just a rectification of what they might have seen as good customer service. This hotel made no such offer and I did not ask. I just asked if there were not a waiver for Diamond guests. He said no and I did not press the issue. I could tell he would not budge and he was probably just doing his job.

The point being, as a Diamond with Hyatt, a Platinum with SPG and Gold with Marriott, I have dozens if not hundreds of choices in any metropolitan area where I stay and even in the outer areas, there are choices, most offering free internet to everyone and premium to the highest tiered loyalty member. So I guess Hilton, or HGI just has not gotten to 2015 yet where higher speeds are needed and if not offered to your most frequent guests who NEED it, we will take our business elsewhere. I know I will remember this property for it’s poor internet speeds and not stay here again, unless the policy is changed.

Good news for you Tom. Hilton has made an announcement that Diamond members will get complimentary Premium internet access, where available, starting sometime in the second quarter.

I do agree with you 100% that having “free” unusable internet access is maddening. If the free access is not usable and the property is not willing to give the premium one on a complimentary base, I would tell that I would be opening a case with Hilton’s Guest Assistance. Hilton charges the offending property $200 per Guest Assistance file opened by a Diamond member. You can always note that too.

READ MORE: Reader Questions: United Fuel Surcharge When SAS Award, Where To Credit Cheap United First Class Ticket, IHG Into The Nights Award Nights, AAdvantage Miles For Award On Iberia & Hilton Paddington Executive Lounge Woes

Tom’s Question About The Airline Who Issues The Ticket

What airline will issues a ticket where there are several airlines covering the full itinerary? – it seems like for intercontinental travel it is the airline that has the first intercontinental leg that issues the ticket, but is this also the case if there are 6 flights in an itinerary: 1 from airline a that covers the first intercontinental leg and the rest on airline b that covers the rest of the flights including the returning intercontinental leg? – will airline a issue that ticket?

It is sometimes very difficult to say when there are number of airlines involved.

Also, if you issue a KLM operated ticket that doesn’t even touch Americas using let’s say, it get’s issued by Delta. Must be an overhang from KLM’s partnership with Northwest.

Sometimes the price can vary based on the ticketing carrier especially when there are many airlines involved. This is due to fuel surcharges collected (or not).

If you want ticket to be issued on certain stock, you should use competent travel agent. They can usually issue the ticket on pretty much any airline that has marketed/operated flights on the ticket.


Keep the emails and messages coming. I will have these READER QUESTION pieces at least once a week (sometimes more often) and try to cover issues that would help LoyaltyLobby readers.