Mileage Alert from Hertz
Yesterday I called Hertz to find out why my United Mileage Plus account had not been credited with a rental at Denver in March. I was refereed to the billing department and, after giving them the Rental Record number, was informed that the rental did not qualify for miles.
The reason was that the rental was on a voucher from Hertz, and that vouchers do not qualify for mileage. I explained to the person in the billing department that the rental was based on a Leisure Snow Country promotion that had been included in the mailings from several airlines, Continental and United, and, to the best of my recollection there was no mention in the promotion of the rental not qualifying for mileage. When I made the rental reservation, I was told that I had to make a deposit up front, and that they would send me a voucher for the deposit and that the balance would be paid at the end of the rental. This is what happened, but there was no mention of not receiving miles, and they even took my Mileage Plus number, which appears on the rental agreement.
As this was an expensive rental, I feel Hertz should be more forthcoming on this, and perhaps you can inform your readers to be more careful when making reservation with Hertz, and that they not use a voucher.
-John T. Reilly
I cannot thank you enough for all the tips you have written in your magazine. Each month I check the mail and then share your tips with family and friends. I just checked my Northwest statement, and … sure enough … I got the 10,000-mile bonus from the loophole you mentioned about using the dining club five times. Last year I used two free tickets on Delta to Hawaii using all the bonus miles you steered me to, like the 25,000 with MCI WorldCom and the 10,000 with Delta American Express (and double miles using the card at gas and grocery stores). Keep up the good work.
No Upgrades at Amsterdam
When travelling through Amsterdam, I can’t get an upgrade even when using miles and I am currently Gold Elite with Northwest. My last trip after dealing with less than cordial KLM staff, I sat in coach when business class was only a third full … so I was miffed. Another passenger also noticed the same situation and tried to get moved up to no avail. I despair when trying to understand when one can use miles with a ticket and when one can’t. You would think with lots of empty seats they would want us to use our miles. Oh well, flying rules and regulations are getting beyond me.
The Price of Uprading
In order to upgrade to business class using my miles, I must pay more than $1900 for a full-fare economy ticket. After saving our miles for years (since 1997) for this upgrade we cannot afford it. I was stunned when told the cost.
Do people pay that much for a ticket to London from LAX in order to upgrade?
Is this how it’s done on other airlines — jacking up the economy full-fare three times the normal if one wants to upgrade?
This whole frequent flyer experience has been so frustrating that I’m not going to bother collecting them any more.
Editor’s note: We spoke with travel agent Jodie Kite at our in-house travel agency: “The average business-class ticket to Europe runs around $7,000 per person. I know the full-fare economy sounds expensive, but that’s because everyone is so used to hearing about the highly restricted, deeply discounted fare rates. The airlines do not ‘jack up the full fare economy’ just for those interested in using upgrades, that is actually the going rate for an unrestricted, no advance, no penalty fare for anyone who is purchasing a ticket, whether they are trying to upgrade or not.
In early 2001 I purchased (along with many other Delta customers) a SkyMiles packet. The packet consisted of bonus SkyMiles, four upgrades and a discount coupon for a future flight. The cost was $69.95.
As you know, ComAir pilots decided to go on strike, so in early May I wrote to Ms. Christine Pierce. I asked that my upgrades and discount coupon be reissued for a later expiration (they were to expire in June) or a voucher for the amount of the packet. Both would have been used toward a future purchase of a Delta Airlines ticket. My request was based on my ability to utilize the upgrade or discount coupon before the deadline with the threat of a strike. I enclosed the upgrades and discount coupon with my letter.
After two phone calls to Delta Customer Care center in Atlanta, (no information about my letter other than it had been received) and another letter stating “Second Request,” I finally received my denial letter on July 30.
From Duane Phillips Manager Customer Care “While I regret your disappointment, we must respectfully decline your both your request to extend the validity and for a voucher for the amount you paid. We hope for early opportunity to regain your confidence.” That is an exact quote … typo included.
I realize I am only one small fish in a very large pond, however, I have learned my lesson. Continental, Southwest, US Airways and AirTran will continue to get my business and money. Delta will be waiting a long time for the “early opportunity to regain my confidence.”
-R. William Stout, II