Guest Author - Jim Fortune
Split Pay is a term used when buying airline tickets and one ticket is purchased using a credit card and the other is paid using miles or some other reward type of payment. But you need to be careful to use the TCP2 code.
Buying airline tickets is easy enough online these days when you use a single credit card. But if you split pay for the tickets the tickets are actually two different records in the airline database and are counted and tracked differently. For example on a trip to Richmond I wanted to buy one ticket with my credit card and pay for the second ticket with air frequent flyer miles.
So what is the BIG deal to buy them this way? It sounds easy enough, right?
When the tickets get created by the airline reservation person they get created as two separate transactions and they are not on the same record. This creates two different locator codes - one for each ticket. You have to tell the airline reservation person that you need to have the same locator code for the pair.
If you do not tell the person making the reservation about the locator codes and that you want them to be the same, you will run the risk of getting seats on the plane but not together.
And once those codes are separate, there's nothing you can do to get them on the same record.
You want to be sure that you and your companion are seated together and you also want to get upgraded, if that is possible, together.
So what do you do? It's important to book the tickets at the same time, so the reservation person can make the records appear together and contain the same locator code. You can pay for one using a credit card and the other with miles.
But suppose you are getting the free ticket from the airline company and the rate they want to charge for a companion ticket is off the chart. You might be able to get a better price elsewhere. But then your tickets will have different locator codes.
So in this case you will need to buy the ticket at the discounter and pay for it with a credit card. Next call the airline and get your free ticket with miles. Tell the airline person to add a TCP2 code to your record for the ticket that was purchased at the discount source.
TCP2 is airline reservation talk for "To Complete a Party of 2". You can tell the airline person that you want your free miles ticket and the other ticket as part of the same ticket record. They will most likely tell you that will not be possible. Ask them if you can get the code added to the ticket comments. The TCP2 code will alert the gate agent that you are seating together so you can get your seats next to one another.
Having the TCP2 code might also help with upgrades, so long as both of your tickets are in the same full-fare class. Full-fare tickets are often upgraded to first class when a flight is oversold in coach. A TCP2 code will let the gate agent know that you are traveling with someone if there is room for two upgrades.
So whenever you're buying separate tickets, remember the TCP2 code and call your airline to see if they can add the TCP2 code to your record.
With the recent snow in Houston you might be thinking of heading for the Caribbean or Mexico. Chck out this offer: 2008 Caribbean & Mexico Holiday Sale
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.? You can send me your questions or comments on my bio page. My next article will be out shortly.
Jim Fortune - the BellaOnline Budget Travel Guy