Letters – January, 13 2006

Letters – January, 13 2006

Missing Miles Missing Information

First I would like to commend you on your publication InsideFlyer. Each month I find valuable information that I can put to use immediately. I do have some feedback for you.

In the April issue, page 10 you reported “Starwood Promotion Not To Be Missed.” Through April 30, frequent flyers staying at Starwood properties can add an extra 500 bonus miles per night to their account with several airline partners. Coincidentally, I also received a promotion in the mail from United Airlines offering the same promotion.

On March 20, I stayed one night at the Sheraton Anaheim Hotel. When I asked about receiving the bonus miles for this stay, I was told that the Sheraton Anaheim is a hotel which does not qualify for this program.

I chose this hotel over another hotel specifically for the promotion. Though 500 miles is not a huge amount of miles to miss, when we make our travel choices to maximize our frequent travel programs we do expect to receive the benefit.

In any case, I thought you should be informed and possibly next time there should be a disclaimer that the promotion is valid only at participating hotels.

Or am I wrong, and did Starwood misinform me?
Fern Sheinman

Editor’s note: The promotion information we obtained from Starwood did in fact indicate that the promotion was valid at participating hotels only and that 140 hotels were participating overall. This was an oversight on our part as the participating Starwood properties make up less than a third of the properties within the United States.

The Green Mile

I use the Aer Lingus frequent flyer program and recently I have done quite a bit of traveling. A web-based option to check your points was recently launched on the Web site. On entering the site, I discovered that flights I had taken as far back as last July had not been added. I contacted the service center and the representative duly added the relevant points without boarding pass or ticket. I thought great, however, upon checking the web at the time of writing, flights taken during the month of April have not been added (note TAB card presented at all check-in desks), it seems a bit of a joke. This is not intended as something personal for you to investigate on my account but something that needs to be highlighted about its program in general. Regards
Michael Carroll

Editor’s note: “I would like to apologize to Mr Carroll for the inconvenience and annoyance caused. It is true that a number of members have experienced difficulty in accruing TAB points due to software problems with card swipe readers at some airports served by Aer Lingus. Despite the check-in agent taking due care when manually inserting the TAB card number; incorrect digits can often be typed in error. However, such transactional information is not lost: it is passed to the TAB central server and held in a reject file. After checking a statement, or their balance online, a member can have their account checked for flight rejects by calling the TAB service center, where our staff can update the member’s account over the telephone.

Aer Lingus accepts that this level of service falls far short of expectations for members of our Frequent Flyer program. An I.T. project to rectify the situation is well advanced. In the meantime, callers to our service center will be afforded all possible assistance and all quarterly statements have an insert prompting members to complete details of missing flights, which can be forwarded to TAB Administration.”
-Norah Gleeson, spokesperson for Aer Lingus TAB

Advice For Us

Further to the WingTips in the last issue, here’s how I got my award. Airlines often open up more reward upgrades and free seats closer to departure. Sometimes just a few minutes or days makes a difference. Case in point: I called to make some reservations on Continental with first class upgrade certificates 45+ days in advance. I was told that no upgrades were available in either direction on the dates I wanted. I called back 24 hours later and asked to make the same reservations and I got the upgrades in both directions on the same dates and flights that were a no-go the day before!
Bruce Robin

Seamless SkyTeam?

I made my reservations to travel to India via Air France, but when I called the airline and asked them to enter my Delta SkyMiles number, they refused saying that they don’t give partner airline miles for consolidator tickets. No one who travels to India ever buys tickets directly from the airlines. The airlines themselves recommend contacting a travel agent who can give us discounted tickets via a consolidator. I have always flown a European airline and got miles in my US airline account. This is the first time I am flying Air France, and the first time I heard about this rule against consolidator fares. Is this a new rule? Can I fight it? It’s too late for me to book via Swissair — the only other alternative is to fly out of Boston to India and get Delta miles.

Editor’s note: A Delta spokesperson responds: “India is a unique market and does offer many consolidator fares. Some airlines do not allow mileage accrual on consolidator type tickets because the fares are usually significantly reduced. However, it is difficult for us to determine what type of ticket this is, without seeing the passenger’s reservation or ticket. Please ask Mr. Sridhar to contact Delta directly and we will be happy to review his records.” 

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