My mother now has flights booked to visit us next month... all it took was talking to a person one level up within the Airmiles hierarchy. Turns out the 'blackout dates' were a direct result of a new computer system. Dude put the info in manually, and voila! Flights on the original desired dates.
I also have a new bungee cord for my keychain (my last one broke months ago, and I just found them for sale at Walgreens), my ID magically works today even though my appointment is still 'pending' in the computer system, my rainbow hat is coming along, and Hubby's scarf is 55% finished.
(I do wish it was further along in the week than Tuesday, but I guess I can't have it all.)