Thursday, May 17, 2012

Reward or Hassle?

It is more than a year since I tried to redeem points on my credit card for travel rewards, and I discovered that the redeption process has become much less user friendly. I wanted to use some points for a trip to Toronto on Via Rail (http://www.viarail.ca/), so I called the redemption number. An agent told me I would need to book the trip on the Via Rail site, and gave me a code I would have to use to send back to the card company once the booking was made.
The problem was I could not get the Via Rail site to work. Then I tried Via's phone line, which was busy. Next I tried a travel agent connected with the credit card, and found out they charge a fee of $39 to make a reservation on Via Rail.
This is not the first time I have heard of trouble with this credit card's rewards service--a friend of mine used points for a flight, but when he got to the airport the flight did not exist. The issuer of this credit card shall be nameless, other than the fact that it is a very large Canadian chartered bank.
Travel rewards are great when they are easy to use, but in this case I am left wondering whether I need to get another credit card. Or perhaps the card issuers should just drop these features, if they can't do a better job with them.

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