The hard-core traveler in the family attracts help requests like an IT person. The imposition of this duty is a mixed blessing, happy to see that family will not book poorly but the frustration of going the extra mile for people that often do not seem with the program, content do things that seem irrational to the travel obsessed. At the 2011 Chicago Seminars, Steve Belkin (beaubo) hilariously recounted trying to convince a relative to not spend 900,000 AmEx Membership Rewards points on two tickets to Israel when one-stop itineraries with ideal connections could be had for a fraction. Value is indeed relative, though we all have moments, head in hands, unable to convince ourselves to be happy if they are happy.
If going down the family travel agent road, a simple tip: get the full booking information for anyone likely to be a client. This means full legal name and birthdate at a minimum, preferably also phone, email, address, frequent flyer numbers and preferences. ID scans raise privacy concerns for some but help to avoid miscommunications.
Seems simple but The Rapid Traveler has repeatedly fallen into this trap, helping a friend or relative to locate a good deal, calling them up to confirm before final booking only to find out they did not have the full info easily accessible and would not for some time. Then he waits, helplessly hoping the deal does not vanish, unable to bear the thought of hearing, “Well, low-level, mid-level, high-level, whatever it is just miles, I am just happy to go.”
The case last night involved a friend who did not know the full legal name of her elderly mother! But, good news, when details were sorted out this morning, Delta, miraculously, still had three low-level awards (but only with the better availability for Diamonds). Mission accomplished and weeping averted, but he needs to finally learn his own lesson.