Dodgy Travel Agent Pockets AirfareA dodgy travel agent has been caught allegedly taking payment for Business class airfares while using their own frequent flyer points to make the booking.

AFF member Iggy_type_r discovered the travel agent’s actions only after the airline refused to credit any points for their flights to Europe. No points or status credits were earned because the flights were supposedly booked using points as a frequent flyer award. Yet, this member paid the full Business class fare to their Melbourne-based travel agent.

This member had paid their travel agent for two Business class tickets from Australia to Europe with Singapore Airlines. The member hasn’t named the travel agency in question, but says it is a bricks & mortar agency in Melbourne.

This practice is likely a contravention of the frequent flyer program’s terms & conditions, although we do not know this for sure. It is possible that the agent may have legitimately purchased and redeemed frequent flyer points on the customer’s behalf. But even if this is the case, our members believe the conduct may still have been fraudulent because this was not disclosed to the customer. It’s likely that the dodgy travel agent deceptively obtained a personal financial benefit if they indeed pocketed the client’s airfare.

Our members agree that, at the very least, the dodgy travel agent owes Iggy_type_r compensation for the points and status credits they would have earned from the Business class tickets they thought they were purchasing. This would not be an insignificant amount. For return Business class flights from Melbourne to London, each passenger would normally earn over 26,000 KrisFlyer miles or Velocity points. These flights would also normally be enough for the passengers to upgrade to KrisFlyer Silver or Velocity Gold status.

It’s unusual to hear of a bricks & mortar travel agency engaging in these kinds of deceptive practices. But there are a range of online travel agencies that specialise in obtaining discounted Business and First class tickets for customers using points obtained by the agency. These dodgy travel agents advertise Business & First class tickets at “up to 70% off airline rates”. But they often don’t reveal that the tickets will actually be booked using someone else’s frequent flyer points. Such mileage broker bookings are a violation of the terms & conditions of most frequent flyer programs, and there is a high risk of the airline cancelling the ticket. In fact, this is exactly what happened to an AFF member after booking with one of these websites a few years ago.

In the case of our Melbourne-based member, they did at least get to travel as planned and were happy with the price paid for their ticket.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Travel Agent Booked Biz Class – turns out he used his points and took cash for himself

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]