It used to be common for airlines to insist on seeing the credit card used to purchase a ticket, to combat fraud. That’s one reason that online travel agencies used to be useful. When booking for someone else I wanted Expedia or Orbitz to do the ticketing. Then this wouldn’t be an issue.
Delta has been a stickler with this long after peers mostly stopped, especially for trips originating in countries they view as ‘high fraud’. For last minute award tickets they’ve imposed in-person ticketing and even forbid last minute award booking from some countries.
Last minute tickets are more likely to be fraudulent. But last minute tickets are also likely to be business travelers, or people on urgent business like attending a funeral.
A reader emailed me from the airport. He booked a last minute ticket on Delta using eCredits. Check-in was inhibited, so he had to visit the ticket counter. There they insisted on seeing the credit card used for purchase. But no credit card was used for purchase. Because he paid with Delta’s own currency, eCredits.
Normally that should be easily solved, but Delta agents couldn’t get anyone at their help desk to answer and override this. I’ve written that telephone hold times for Delta’s diamond elites have been as much as 41 hours. It’s not shocking their internal staff can’t get help right away either.
Eventually two things happened,
- They told him if he didn’t pay for the ticket with a credit card then he needed to show the card saved in his account (not the card used to purchase the ticket, since there was one). That doesn’t seem right, and he didn’t have it with him in any case.
- They exchanged his ticket for a new ticket purchased on the spot for $220 more. They wouldn’t let him check in with the ticket he’d purchased earlier, but could verify a credit card he physically had with him and wouldn’t honor the old price.
A weather delay meant that he made the flight, and now he’s out $220, all because Delta insisted on seeing the credit card used to purchase a ticket that wasn’t purchased with a credit card.