Stories About The Mabuhay Miles Getaway Sale
posted by Vicki in Dot Dot Dot
There has never been a better time to travel!
In Asia, September marks the beginning of low season and across the board airlines slash their rates until March the following year. I’ve been traveling to San Francisco, California often the past two years and have found the cheapest airfare during this time period. I choose to fly with Philippine Airlines, our national carrier, because you can’t beat its direct flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Yes, choosing to #flypal has its pros and cons but for me, the pros far outweigh the cons.
Their flights to San Francisco leave at 10PM the night of your departure date, offering you a full day of last minute packing and errands and allowing for great sleep on the plane (if you can manage such a thing) as the flight time follows your natural circadian rhythm. I love that I don’t have to get off the plane and when I travel with Enzo he practically sleeps the entire flight. He’s such a cheap date he hardly eats any of the plane food either, having had his dinner before getting to the airport. That means I get to eat his kiddie meal, which is almost always yummy!
This simply wouldn’t be possible with any other airline that has a stopover in another Asian city.
Due to my traveling, I’ve accumulated quite a number of Mabuhay Miles, Philippine Airlines’ air miles program. I even applied for and have been using a PNB Mabuhay Miles Mastercard so that my credit card purchases can receive a 1-reward point to 1-Mabuhay mile conversion rate. I was very happy to find out earlier this month that from September 5 to 9, 2016 only, Philippine Airlines is offering The Great Mabuhay Miles Getaway Sale, where you use only 50% of your miles to travel to both domestic destinations as well as select international cities in Asia, Australia and the Middle East for travel between September 15 to November 30, 2016 and January 15 – March 15, 2017. I have been bugging my friends and family all month to choose a location and date for us to have a trip together to finally be able to use all these miles we’ve accumulated at half the amount usually needed.
Today I called the Mabuhay Miles reservations hotline (632) 855.8888 and spoke to an agent to book a trip to Singapore that I had promised as a birthday gift for my bestie, Kate. I was expecting the booking to be tedious, that the dates I wanted to book were unavailable, that I had to go to a Philippine Airlines ticketing counter to pick up these tickets. To my surprise, the whole exchange was easy. I waited only for a few minutes to be connected to a reservations agent, the dates I wanted to book were open and all I had to do was give my Mabuhay Miles number, passenger information and credit card to pay for the service fee. They emailed me my tickets and it was done! I only had a slight hiccup with name spelling – as expected during any Mercury retrograde – and because Kate’s name is very long (LOL!) but they are going to fix it.
I highly suggest now is the time to use your Mabuhay Miles points that you have been accumulating, too! Hurry and book your tickets by September 9, 2016 Friday, the last day of the Great Mabuhay Miles Getaway Sale. Anyone want to travel with me to Bali or Japan? Let’s go! For more information, visit Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles online here.
May all your gypsetting dreams come true,
UPDATE: September 9, 2016:
Now I know why there are so many dissatisfied customers of Philippine Airlines. Their customer service, simply put, SUCKS.
The slight hiccup I spoke about booking my trip to Singapore with my friend Kate has now turned into a huge disaster. After three conversations with agents from their hotline including their supervisor Maricel, they now tell me after reviewing our call, that I agreed to the spelling of her name and the only way I can change it is by paying a US$25 name change fee. On top of the P7,684 I already paid as a service fee. This “free” trip is turning out to become more and more expensive! On air miles I already owned and paid for with previous trips.
Aside from having to pay the fee, I now have to do so at a ticketing counter, where the waiting line will surely be at least three hours long.
People already warned me how awful it was to book air travel with Mabuhay Miles. That the dates you wanted to book were never available. One of my gypsetting friends has over 200,000 air miles just sitting in her account because she has never been able to book it. It’s hard to stay loyal to your national carrier when they make it so difficult to use their “rewards.”
I feel naive being so positive about my first time to book air travel using my Mabuhay Miles and even recommending you fellow readers to book this sale. I’m sorry if any of you have been a victim of their terrible customer service experience firsthand.
I always pay for my own airfare when I travel so that I can offer an objective experience. When I was working with Philippine Tatler and Lifestyle Asia, my view on the places I wrote about was definitely subjective because of the way the hotel management treated me – like a rockstar, no less. When you are a paying customer, you expect to get value for money.
This hard-earned free trip to Singapore might very well be my last with Philippine Airlines. It’s ironic that their customer service email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Nothing has been further from the truth. #dontflypal
UPDATE: November 28, 2016:
I finally made my way to the Philippine Airlines ticket counter after becoming Mabuhay Elite from a recent round trip to San Francisco via Philippine Airlines so that I could go to the Mabuhay Elite and Premier Elite counter. Yes folks, Philippine Airlines has a special line for those who fly 25,000 air miles in a year or more.
Armed with my arsenal of patience, my friend’s passport details and my credit card to pay for the name change on the ticket, I was the only one at the counter. After giving my reference number I explained the situation to the customer service agent helping me. She and her colleague looked over my file and asked if I was able to call about the discrepancy the day I got the ticket. I told them my story and in fact this blog post helped me remember the small details. Her colleague then said, “They should have voided the ticket that day and just reissued you a new once. Let me see if I can get approval for this.”
After a few minutes he came back to me and said that they were going to be able to change her name without me incurring any penalty since I called the customer service hotline as soon I noticed the discrepancy.
I was grateful to hear this but color me a little surprised.
After what had transpired on the phone in September I expected they would just change the name and collect their fee. Was it because I had become a Mabuhay Elite frequent flier? Would they have done the same for their other passengers? Why couldn’t they have voided it in the first place, as he said? What do you think?
May all your gypsetting dreams go off without a hitch,
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We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.
We are The Gypsetters.