Saturday, April 18, 2009

Emirates/KCB Offer - Mission Impossible

On Wednesday 25th March I received an email from Loise Mucheru of KCB. It read as follows: (verbatim)

Use your KCB VISA / MasterCard and enjoy a 10% discount on every purchase of Emirate’s ticket: to London, Dubai, Istanbul, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Seoul. This special offer is on all bookings made before 19th June 2009. Use your KCB card, the preferred card.

This was great news for me as I had a planned trip coming up and I just so happen to also have a KCB Mastercard.

On Tuesday 14th April, I started the booking process for the trip. I went online, checked fares etc then made my way to the Emirates offices at Anniversary Towers to book my ticket. My intention was to reserve the ticket and pay for it towards the end of the week. (I tend to prefer making reservations at the ticket offices because up until recently online reservations tended to cancel themselves after a day or so. I also prefer dealing with a real life person).

Anyway, the lady checks prices and the quote for my journey came up about 5 or 10% more expensive than the quote I had found on the airline website. This I was told was because there is a special online booking discount. I was advised to go book my itinerary online and choose the 'Pick ticket from local office' option, then return to the office when I was ready to make my payment. I mentioned to the lady (twice!) that I intended to pay using a KCB credit card to take advantage of the 10% discount offer. I asked her whether this only applied to online bookings or to ALL bookings. She informed me both times that it applies to all bookings. She assured me that it would be no problem whatsoever to pay at their offices and the discount would be applied irrespective.

I went online and did as instructed. Booked itinerary, seats, meal preferences and picked the 'collect tickets' option and was given until Sunday 19th April to pay for the ticket.

The only hurdle that paying by KCB credit card presented for me was that my credit limit would not cover the cost of the ticket. So on Friday (17th April), head off to my KCB branch (VM) and ask 3 different people whether if I paid more than was due on my credit card (i.e. paid the card into debit), I would have any problems. They said all said no. After I had deposited the money, I called KCB card centre to notify them of the payment I had made and again clarified that it was all good regarding payments. No hint of any trouble from that front either. No mention of any transaction limit.

So today I head over to Emirates offices to pay for my ticket and collect it. Guess what?..."THE 10% DISCOUNT ONLY APPLIES TO ONLINE PAYMENTS". I am advised to go online, make a fresh booking and then cancel the old booking afterwards. I go off and try to do so and my transaction keeps getting declined.

So I call KCB card centre and get told that my card has an online transaction limit...and that any request to increase that limit must be made in writing..on Monday!! Reason being no managers are present over the weekend who can authorise such a transaction. The only people working on Saturdays are the authorisations team who ironically cannot authorise my purchase.

At this moment (8.30pm, Saturday 18th) I have made about 10 phone calls to KCB Card Centre authorisations, sent 3 emails AND hand delivered a letter to them in Sarit to raise the limit and let me complete my transaction. I have to say they have been very helpful and have promised to try get someone in tomorrow morning to sort me out.

The people I blame for this..other than myself for leaving the whole thing so late (not really my fault ticket booking was contingent on a payment I was waiting for that I only received on Friday) are Emirates ticketing and reservations staff.

They have screwed me good and proper by giving me totally wrong information again and again.

I will eventually get the problem sorted out and buy my discounted ticket and make my trip (maybe a day or two late)..but it has really been a big inconvenience and a very aggravating experience for me.


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