May 31st, 2012
Over at the simply awesome DansDeals Forums we have our own acronym language along with a thread for airline/travel acronyms and regular acronyms. PUTPAC means to “pick up the phone and call” for example, the universal YMMV means that “your mileage may vary” and that there is no definite answer, and HUCA means to Hang up, call again.
For example I had to call United over a dozen times to get a bassinet seat when we went to Hawaii last December and had even more fun playing HUCA with United last month trying to navigate through their nightmare process of automatically splitting elite and upgrading travelers onto separate reservations. (Hey, at least United’s miles are still the most valuable in the business!)
Another popular HUCA is with the various Chase Reconsideration departments as often a few reps will deny you a card and then finally you will find a rep that will approve it, as can be seen here. I recently used HUCA with Chase with various arguments in order to be able to have a Sapphire Preferred World Mastercard and Sapphire Preferred Visa at the same time, and of course get the bonus for each of those fully churnable cards.
And at other times HUCA isn’t the way to go, for example with Chase offer matching you’ll want to SM (secure message via Chase.com) instead of talking to a human being to get matched to great offers like 55,000 United miles plus $50 cash for spending just $1 on the United Explorer card.
The past few days I’ve been playing HUCA with American Express (800-AXP-EARN). I recently did a 3bm for the Platinum charge card, the Premier Gold card, and the Delta card. All cards were approved automatically and I did the requisite spending ($2K on Plat/Gold and $500 on Delta). I’ve had all 3 cards before but I left the Delta FFN blank (a strategy that has also worked on Starwood consumer and Starwood business cards for me) and got the 25K signup bonus for the charge cards 30K on the Delta.
Unfortunately for the charge cards those signup points go into pending status until the 1st statement closes, which wouldn’t be until June 7th. As I wanted to transfer the points over to British Airways by today’s 50% bonus deadline I tried calling a couple of times to either get the pending points posted or to borrow points but had no luck. Even when I spoke with a manager I was shot down as the first statement hadn’t closed and officially you need to wait 6 months from opening a card until you can borrow points. I’m not one to just give up though so I tried one last time today and the rep said that there was no way to post the pending points but that since I have been a longterm AMEX customer I would be able to borrow 60,000 points on the Platinum card and 15,000 points on the Premier Gold card (which can be paid back with future card openings or spending over the next year or else they charge 2.5 cents per poin/1.67 cents per Avios). I heard the same thing from previous reps but after giving them my BA info they reneged on the offer. However while I was on the phone with her the point advance transfers along with the 50% bonus posted to my BA account:
-And the next time the airlines want $1,500 for a last minute short-haul ticket I’ll be able to laugh and use 9,000 Avios plus $5 for a round-trip, netting a value of a whopping 25 cents for each AMEX point!
-Or the next time an airline wants to charge me 10% of the full $5,000-$20,000 fare for the privilege of holding an infant in my lap? BA only charges 10% of the miles instead of 10% of the full fare when booked together on BA.com, which is definitely worthwhile on flights to South America where BA also doesn’t charge any fuel surcharges. (On domestic flights be sure to add the infant at the airport counter and not at the time of booking as then it will be free).
-And when I want to fly to Europe, Israel, Asia, or Australia in business or first class without paying hefty fuel surcharges? There’s always American, United, USAirways, Chase, or Starwood for that!
Moral of the story? HUCA!
Have you had a HUCA success story? Share it with us in the comments!