Letters – August, 24 2009

Letters – August, 24 2009

All’s Well That End’s Well

I would like to share with you the great experience I had with InsideFlyer.

I had recently lost 400,000+ Delta SkyMiles due to the expiration date passing. I had accumulated these miles while working in Nigeria over a period of over four years. You can imagine the horror when I looked one day and noticed that all the miles had disappeared. And what’s more, they had expired less than a week before.

I contacted Delta and pleaded with them, but to no avail. Needless to say, I was extremely upset with Delta for not helping me and at myself for being so negligent.

About a month later, I sat next to a man on a plane who told me about the work Randy Petersen is doing in trying to assist in such cases as mine. When I searched Randy’s name on the Internet, I found the Ask Randy hotline.

I wrote an email and explained my situation and sent the correspondences that I had had with Delta to one of your staff members. Much to my surprise, she came back to me with a location on their Web site that allowed me to purchase back all expired miles for a mere $50. This location is not readily available on their Web site, so I don’t know how she found it. Delta never offered the information to me after several communications with them. I followed the process and lo and behold, the next day I had my miles.

I want to thank your team for helping me solve my problem. You all perform a great service. Thanks again and keep up the good work.
Bill Crouch

Editors’ Note: Our pleasure, Bill, and we’re very glad you got those miles back. Spend them wisely! For others who might find themselves in a similar position as Bill, here’s the link to reactivate your lost miles: www.insideflyer.com/link/?1732. The cost to reactivate your miles is $50 (plus a small fee for taxes). The reactivation offer is valid through Dec. 31, 2009 to reinstate miles with an expiration date in 2009 or Dec. 31, 2008.

Less is Not More with Miles & More

You may be aware that the Miles & More frequent flyer program of Lufthansa/Austrian is currently promoting the fact that it was awarded various Freddie Awards for frequent flyer excellence, including awards for Best Member Communications and Best Web Site.

However, I wish to draw to your attention concerns we have with Miles & More’s marketing, specifically in relation to accumulation of points with Star Alliance partner flights. On the Miles & More Web site, it is clearly stated that every Singapore Airlines flight earns miles for Miles & More members. However, Miles & More has refused to credit flights my husband and I took from Austria to Australia with Singapore Airlines earlier this year, despite the black and white statement on their Web site.

We have had recent occasion to also request assistance from Air France-KLM Sky Team, who we found very responsive to the issue we raised, in contrast to Miles & More.
Alexander Klafas & Elizabeth Watson

Editors’ Note: Elizabeth, sorry to hear of your frustration with Miles & More, and we can certainly understand the frustration of not getting miles for a flight you have flown. But in this case, it seems to be more of a misunderstanding than intentionally misleading. The Miles & More Web site states: “You can earn miles on all scheduled flights operated by Singapore Airlines.” And directly below this statement is a chart with miles members will earn according to the booking class of the flight. You can read the “You can earn miles on all scheduled flights operated by Singapore Airlines” statement a couple of different ways, such as the way you read it, as saying that ALL flights operated by Singapore Airlines will earn miles. But we believe they meant it to mean that all scheduled flights on Singapore Airlines offer miles for members–but it depends on the class flown. This can be confusing, but Lufthansa is not the only airline that has restrictions on the fare class that earns miles, especially with partner airlines. It’s up to the members to pay close attention to the fine print. If the flight you took is one that the Web site states qualifies to earn miles, then let us know and we can get in touch with Miles & More for you because something is amiss. But if the fare class you flew in is not listed as one in which you can earn miles, we suggest you mark this one down as a lesson learned and move on.

On Time, But Flight Gone

On a recent trip to South America, my wife and I showed up at the Santiago, Chile Airport on April 15 in time for what we were given on the United itinerary as an 8:30pm flight to Toronto. Trouble is, the flight was actually scheduled at 6:30pm (and always had been!) and it took off without us.

Getting home cost us:
1. $1,600 (Santiago to Dallas on American)
2. 50,000 frequent flyer miles (Dallas to Colorado Springs)
3. 160,000 frequent flyer miles for the Santiago-Colorado Springs flight we did not take.

I wrote a very nice letter to United customer relations on May 2 asking only for the frequent flyer miles to be restored, and I have heard nothing. My travel agent called United a week ago and they claimed not to have gotten my letter.

So, can you help me out here? I want to keep fighting this thing, but I don’t know where to send a letter that won’t be “lost”.
Charles P. Cabell Jr.

Copy of letter to United Airlines Customer Relations:

For the past nearly 20 years, United has been my wife’s and my airline of choice for business and pleasure travel. We have a United Mileage Plus Platinum credit card and the frequent flyer miles we have racked up over the years through flights and credit card purchases have allowed us to take a number of really great trips both in the United States and to locations abroad. We have found United to be a professionally run and forward-thinking airline. The new seating arrangement in business class on the 767s is fabulous.

Our last trip was from Colorado Springs to Buenos Aires. We left on March 24, and the trip down, although long, was as comfortable as any we had ever had. After a nice cruise “Around the Horn” we were looking forward to the return trip home from Santiago on April 15.

It didn’t work out that way. According to the flight schedule sent to us by United (attached), the flight was supposed to depart at 8:30pm. We checked our emails the day before the flight and there was no message from United or our travel agent. We arrived at the Santiago Airport even earlier than the two-hour recommended check-in time for an 8:30pm flight. When we arrived at the gate, however, we learned that the plane was already taxiing out. The scheduled time was 6:30pm, not 8:30pm as shown on our United itinerary.

According to the gate agent, the flight time had not been changed; the Santiago-Toronto flight was always at 6:30pm. Further, she told us that the next flight was two nights later (April 17) and that seats for us could not be confirmed since we were traveling on frequent flyer miles. Recognizing our plight, the gate agent took us in hand and found us some seats on American that night on a promotional fare. From Dallas, we used some more United frequent flyer miles to get us home to Colorado.

So, our “free” return trip cost us:
1. $1,600 for American Airlines tickets.
2. 160,000 frequent flyer miles (Santiago to Dallas) for the flight that left without us.
3. 50,000 frequent flyer miles (Dallas to Colorado Springs).

So, what would we like to do? We propose sharing the cost of the return trip. We do not expect you to pay any part of the $1,900 it cost us, but we do propose that you restore the 150,000 frequent flyer miles that we expended to get us home. Does that sound fair?

Editors’ Note: Charles, we sent your letter to our contact at United Airlines and they are working on it. It’s complex because it involves partner airlines so might take some time. But they are working on it and we’ll keep you informed.

Citi Mystery

Can you help me find an answer to a question I have? Please let me explain. I have an “AAdvantage World Elite Platinum Level” Citibank MasterCard. On the bottom of the monthly statement are two sentences:
AAdvantage Miles — Accumulated this month:
AAdvantage Miles — American Airlines travel purchases this month:

Number one shows the miles for all the purchases during the month. There is no problem with it. Number two always shows “0” even when I buy AA tickets and charge those to the card.

I have called AA several times and spoken to different people in different departments at Citibank to find out what the statement (or sentence) of number two means. No one could give me a definite answer.

I know you have a lot of contacts. Can you do some research and find out what sentence two stands for? Do I need to register somewhere? Or do I need a different card?

Thank you and keep up the good work.
Dieter Wurpes

Editors’ Note: Dieter, we got in contact with someone at Citi for you and they requested you contact them directly for your answer. Please get in touch with us after you solve this mystery so that we can convey the answer to the rest of our readers.

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