Surrendering to a Hotel Chain

The way I see it, the smart travel dollar does triple duty, rewarding you not once, not twice, but thrice.

Take, for example, last week’s online purchase of Cathay Pacific tickets using my RBC-Cathay co-branded VISA: (1) I get the tickets (duh), (2) I earn Asia Miles travelling on said tickets and, critically, (3) I earn double the Asia Miles on the purchase thanks the co-branded credit card. It’s a holy trinity of travel rewards.

So now we come to hotels…


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Why We Don’t Fly Air Canada to Hong Kong (or anywhere else)

Fellow Canadian travellers who have stumbled upon the post about this week’s online booking disaster with Cathay Pacific might be wondering:


It’s a reasonable question. I live in Toronto, Air Canada’s hub, and AC, like CX, offers nonstop service to Hong Kong. The truth is that for many years I gave the bulk of my flying business to Air Canada. But everything changed when I flew Cathay for the first time in 2010, and I’ve remained loyal to them ever since.

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Cathay Pacific Online Booking Disaster

It’s every flyer’s worst nightmare… okay, maybe not worst, but it’s up there.

Yesterday I visited Cathay Pacific’s Canadian web portal to pay for a pair of Premium Economy tickets to Hong Kong that I’d had on hold since the day before. Here’s a grab of the payment screen:

CX Fare Details

Everything was going to plan, even when I arrived at the completely unnecessary “Verified by VISA” pop-up—where again, for some reason I had to prove my identity, despite already being logged into my frequent flyer account and, while we’re at it, being one of the named travellers on the itinerary.

Anyway, after that came another splash screen, listing a number you could cite in case of technical difficulties. I was just thinking that I should probably copy that number down somewhere when I was summarily dumped onto some random Sabre error page.


I didn’t grab a screen of that, as I was too busy panicking. I went straight back to Cathay’s “Manage My Bookings” page, where my flights were still on hold. Then I logged in to see the recent transactions on my credit card. Here I found the worst possible news:

VISA Authorized Transactions

In case you were wondering, Abruzzo has great panzerotti. Best in the city, if you ask me. But I digress…

Rage Face - Gasp

Yeah, that’s more like it. Suddenly $5,000 CAD poorer and with nothing to show for it.

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