Letters – April, 19 2011

Letters – April, 19 2011

But I want to go to Cleveland

Delta has shown so little regard for their best customers and this was the last straw. I need to book a trip to Cleveland in September 2011 and was completely flexible about the dates. To my astonishment, there was not a single roundtrip award in August, September or October available for 25,000 miles. Now, we are not talking about Rome or London or New York or even Miami. We are talking about a roundtrip to Cleveland.

I wrote, of course, and got the same runaround almost everyone gets … capacity controlled, things change and here’s a new one:

“Moreover, I would also like to point out that one of the reasons we award Medallion members a mileage bonus is so the additional miles make it easier to use the highest award option if the other award levels are not available. Again, we thank you for your support as a Medallion member.”
Rose P. Harrison

Well, Delta … I think every airline program offers their elite members a mileage bonus. What a ridiculous statement. I’ve racked up over two million miles on Delta and have an impossible time using them EVERY time I check. I wish I had paid my hard-earned money to American or Continental … airlines that make it easy to use their miles at the standard (is it anymore?) 25,000 miles.

By the way … how in the world do you always seem to find awards from Delta in your Award Search? I’d think that being Gold Medallion for over 10 years and flying over two million miles would give me an edge … not push me over it!
David Simons

Editors’ Note: David, you asked, “… how in the world do you always seem to find awards from Delta in your Award Search?” Well, we rarely find award seats on Delta at the lowest redemption level for domestic flights–we are more successful for international award flights on their partner airlines. If it’s a Delta hub city we have a much better chance of finding an award at the lowest level.

Dear American Airlines

Enclosed you will find a copy of the letter I sent to American Airlines.

Portland, Ore. to Austin, Texas = 46 Hours

Dear American Airlines,

I checked in at PDX to find out that American flight 1130 to DFW was delayed by about six hours due to equipment problems. Needless to say, I missed my connecting flight to AUS.

Your counter agent tried (but not very hard) to get me on another flight without success. So he booked me on a Horizon flight to LAX the next day. He also put me up in a hotel and handed me a $10 meal voucher along with a travel voucher in the amount of $50.

At the hotel, I called the elite desk to find out that I could have taken an Alaska Airlines flight from PDX to AUS that afternoon. Unfortunately, there was not time enough for me to get back to the airport to catch that flight. Now, why didn’t your counter agent arrange that for me (a loyal Gold member) while I was at the airport?

The next morning, I checked in with Horizon Air to find out that this flight went from Portland to San Jose to Mammoth Lake to Los Angeles. I also learned that I had to pay $20 for my suitcase which would have been free with American Airlines.

Arriving at Mammoth Lake, it was snowing and the captain decided to wait on take-off until the weather improved. When we finally arrived at LAX, I rushed to the AA gate to find out that I missed my connecting flight to AUS by two minutes. Talking to the AA gate agent, I learned that she did know I was on my way but she informed me that American Airlines would not hold flights for connecting passengers.

It took your customer service agent (Felix) a while to understand that the whole problem was not created by Horizon Air, and he finally realized that the misery was caused by American Airlines the previous day. He re-booked me on American flight 2408 at 1am to DFW with a connection to AUS.

At departure time, the captain announced that the plane had to be de-iced (in LA) but LAX’s de-icing unit was defective. So we taxied over to the maintenance area to de-ice the plane with warm water. Obviously, that resulted in a late arrival at DFW. As the plane rolled to the gate the captain told us not to worry, American was holding flights for the connecting passengers.

I do hope that American Airlines can explain why they can hold flights in DFW and not in LAX.

I also would like to see some type of compensation for all the inconvenience I had to endure on this 46-hour journey.
Dieter Wurpes

Luvin’ Southwest Again

Southwest has determined that we were right about the promotion for a free ticket when signing up for their credit card [read the related letter in our February issue]. They have awarded both my wife and me accordingly, and they even found that I had earned another ticket which had gotten lost in their files. I waited to let you know this until we received the certificates because I wanted to be sure. Even though I had sent them the information, it took your involvement to get the ball rolling. We appreciate very much your help. Thank you, and best wishes.
Dr. Steven Gale

Shopping Woes

Before I wrote Delta, I checked both InsideFlyer and FlyerTalk. For some reason, none of my non-flight miles have posted for about eight weeks. I regularly buy from Skymiles Shopping, but I’ve noticed one change this year that is problematic.

They no longer list the source when they post the Skymiles Shopping bonus miles. (So it’s impossible to keep track of whether they’ve posted.)

Still, for me, most of those purchases were within the limits of when they should be posted, so I’ll wait. By contrast, when I’ve used a sponsored link/promotion from the Delta site, it has almost never posted without constant emails, faxes, phone calls, etc.

I love Delta–I’m a Platinum member for many years, but recent website mileage postings have been awful, and the affiliations with sites like 1-800-Flowers should be discontinued if they don’t post the miles in a reasonable fashion.

This is especially bad since these are usually “premium miles” offers (x15, x30, x35), so I buy from a merchant that I would not otherwise choose.
L. Taylor

Last-minute Award Surprise

I had an opportunity for a short-notice vacation to Europe and called United’s 1K desk, where an agent figured out how to get me where I needed using a combination of Star Alliance partners. I wound up with a wacky routing, but I was able to use miles all the way–not bad during peak travel time (late June-early July) and less than two weeks out.

A Note to Hilton

Mr. Jeffery Diskin
Senior V.P. Customer Marketing
Hilton Worldwide
9350 Civic Center Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Dear Mr. Diskin:

Words cannot begin to express my gratitude and appreciation for taking the time to write me personally and extend my Diamond status even though I missed the qualification this year due to my retirement, health and travel restrictions.

Now I know why I elected to use Hilton The Company That Cares many years ago and I hope Randy Petersen publishes this memo so frequent travelers may know how Hilton treats their loyal customers when their traveling days diminish.

Thank you again for caring and validating my decision long ago to make Hilton chain my hotel of preference.
Real E. Sigouin

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