Cereal giant Kellogg’s ran afoul of a few thousand mileage junkies last month when a computer glitch resulted in erroneous emails proclaiming the recipients winners of 25,000 AAdvantage miles.
The Battle Creek, Mich.-based company had recently partnered with American Airlines in a sweepstakes that offered 25,000 miles to one lucky winner per day from April 7 to June 5. Beginning on Saturday, April 26, though, far more than one winner was receiving a congratulatory email.
The exact number of “winners” is unknown, though a Kellogg’s spokesperson said that “several thousand” were affected.
The email, which read in part: “CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve been selected as a WINNER in the Kellogg’s/American Airlines 25,000 Miles-A-Day Sweepstakes!” requested name and address confirmation to receive the prize.
A few days later, however, another notification arrived.
“Thank you for entering the Kellogg’s/American Airlines Online 25,000 Miles-A-Day Sweepstakes,” it read. “Unfortunately, over the last three days, due to a technical malfunction, you were inadvertently notified that you were selected as a winner. The actual winners will be notified directly. Kellogg Company apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
In an effort to assuage their anger, Kellogg’s offered 500 consolation miles to each “winner” (assuming a low estimate of 2,000 such email recipients, this error appears to be costing Kellogg’s over 1 million miles).
Crestfallen contestants immediately vented their frustrations to the media and on FlyerTalk. While most took the bad news in stride, some considered legal action (and one person even suggested boxes of cereal be dumped into Boston harbor).
Most, however, were just disappointed.
“I’m not sure 500 miles is adequate in this situation,” said Jim Steele, who was one of the first to be “notified.” While he hadn’t made specific plans for his newfound mileage wealth, the letdown was disheartening. “I don’t know if they can do this legally or not,” Steele said, “but whatever the case, this is very bad form for both Kellogg’s and American.”