What do you mean I can’t get a free flight? I have 150,000 miles!” This is a common phrase uttered by travel points credit card holders to customer service representatives. This utterance is usually made with haste and with a hint of anger in the voice. Unfortunately, there is little the travel points credit card customer service operator can do as the customer/credit card holder is attempting to book a flight during a blackout date. What is a blackout date you ask? Read on.
By definition, blackout dates refers to periods of the year in which rewards can not be redeemed. In other words, if you have enough travel points to book a flight to New Zealand and you wish to book that flight during a blackout date period, your request for a free ticket will be declined. Needless to say, such a denial can anger travel points credit card holders, but this is the nature of certain travel points credit card issuers. In this regard, it is critical that consumers read that fine print and the terms and conditions of the card before becoming overly reliant on the card to make travel plans.
The moral here is that one should ALWAYS examine the application for a travel points credit card to see if there is a blackout date clause. Of course, most people will apply for a travel points credit card without reading the fine print and that will lead to the previously illustrated customer service misunderstanding. While some travel cards have blackout dates, many do not. In fact, certain travel cards evenly proudly proclaim their lack of blackout dates as an advertising come on. If you are not willing to work your travel schedule around blackout dates then it would be best to patronize those cards that do not utilize them.