Dear Travel Troubleshooter: I recently received a $150 companion ticket promotional code as a benefit of my Virgin America Visa Signature card, for which I pay an annual fee. I tried using the code to book travel back in December, but was unsuccessful because of blackout dates.
I tried using the code again for travel this summer, but Virgin America will not honor the code because it says I already used it. But I haven’t used it. The Virgin America workers who refused to help me acknowledged that I didn’t get the discount, but they claimed I used up the code just by entering it. It’s maddening!
Can you help me get the $150 companion ticket?
— Ellen Spertus, San Francisco
Answer: Those companion-ticket offers aren’t always such a great deal, as you found out. Not only do you have to pay an annual credit-card fee, but you also must contend with blackout dates and other restrictions. There’s no telling how many travelers like you applied for a card, only to never use the benefit.
Your promotion came with significant limits. For example, you had to book travel by July 17, 2017, and to fly by July 31, 2017. You also had to buy your ticket at least 14 days in advance. Plus, you had to use the Virgin America Visa Signature card to purchase the ticket.
But that’s not the real problem. You didn’t use the $150 code, but the system registered it as having been redeemed. Virgin America should have fixed this promptly. It’s difficult to say why it balked.
Sometimes, when a voucher shows itself as ‘’redeemed,”…
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