What the heck is HUCA, you may ask? Is it a type of martial arts? Why yes, yes it is, but in a miles and points world. HUCA means “hang up, call again,” and you have to learn it in order to master this hobby.
The other day I got this email from my cousin-in-law who also happens to be a reader of this blog. She got AA miles via sign-up bonuses and was able to secure two award flights to Kauai for her and her husband’s anniversary trip. The vacation was all set and hotels were booked. Except, this is what happened:
“Well it appears because of the dozens of schedule changes on our flight to Hawaii, that now there is a problem because one of the changes put us without enough time to make a connection. I waited on hold for 40 minutes for them to see if they could find a different flight and she couldn’t.
Said she would send it to US Airways and see if they could find something and call back in 4 days. I asked what would happen if they couldn’t and she said they would reimburse my miles. Ughh. I don’t know if we will make it to Hawaii or not. I’m beginning to think the miles aren’t worth the hassle!”
NO NO NO! I emailed her and said she needs to call back and speak to a different agent, escalating to supervisor if needed. Waiting four days? Are you kidding me? The truth is, agents have the power to manually open seats if needed.
But they simply don’t have any incentive to do it, they don’t make any commission if you end up with award flights. If the matter appears too complicated, many will simply say there is no solution when in fact, it’s not true at all. Remember, this is your dream trip, not theirs.
Of course, not all agents are this way. I have dealt with some folks who went above and beyond to help me find a solution. But those are rare gems. That’s where HUCA comes in. When you sense that an agent doesn’t want to be bothered, just hang up and call again. It’s worth waiting another 40 minutes to end up with better routing and options.
My cousin-in-law went ahead and called again just as I suggested. This is her follow-up email:
“I called and I think it’s fixed. The agent said she didn’t see the problem. She thinks the problem was on a previous itinerary but it had already been changed. We’ll see. “
The power of HUCA.
P.S. There is no miles and points segment today. Follow one of major blogs for an update. Currently, I’m out-of-town. I won’t be able to respond to any comments or emails till weekend. Sorry!