BOCA RATON, Fla. - Credit card freebies may sound enticing, but sometimes the freebie is costly. It was supposed to be a 2 for 1 deal, but a Boca Raton woman says it was no deal at all.
Gerri Melia hasn't been able to get away for seven years, and looked forward to a vacation with her cousin. A credit card offer from their timeshare company made the trip seem possible.
"It said if you signed up for this credit card and were approved you would get a companion ticket along with your airline ticket," said Melia.
But, when Melia and her cousin booked the deal, it turned out to be a dud.
"When she came in the living room and said $400 and something, I just couldn't believe it," said Melia.
Melia priced tickets on her own, and found fares for half the price. To cancel the trip, it cost another $200.
"I said I don't care if you charge me a million dollars, I am not paying one dime," said Melia.
Frustrated with the dispute process, Melia emailed the Consumer Watchdog.
"Once you got involved it was like magic. Everybody was calling," said Melia.
We found an insert explains the offer as 2 airline tickets at one low price. The average price is determined by the zones you're flying to and from. The route from Florida to Boston averages $360.
The problem is, Geri said the detailed map arrived after she got the credit card in the mail.
"I can't believe this happened to me because I am cautious about everything," said Melia.
After our phone calls, the charges were removed and Jet Blue offered Melia and her cousin a $500 voucher.
"It was thanks to you and your show. I'm telling you it's amazing how people stand up and listen," said Melia to Consumer Watchdog Jenn Strathman.
Zone maps are common in the travel voucher industry. Before you sign up for a credit card, ask how tickets are priced and booked.
Some credit cards let you book on your own and refund your card for the purchase. Other credit cards require you book through their travel site. How you book the ticket could make a big difference in the price you will pay.