Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

M&C Gold

I wanted to share with your readers that I recently was successful in getting a status match between my Hilton HHonors Gold status to Millennium & Copthorne Loyalty Club (M&C Loyalty Club) Gold status. M&C Loyalty Club doesn’t have a great many hotel properties, but they do have some throughout the world including about 20 in the United States, including buying a hotel recently that’s in Times Square New York City.

They also have several properties in Singapore because I understand that the company started there. Hilton only has two properties in Singapore so I might swing some of my stays over to M&C Loyalty Club. I also liked that the status match is going to be good for two years since that’s how long their elite status lasts.

Also, I just read that you can get a complimentary M&C Loyalty Club Gold membership if you get the new American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card.

It might be worth checking out M&C Loyalty Club. I have my eye on a few of their properties and will soon see if the status match was worth my time.
Jason P.

Major Problem

I have a major problem with United. Here are the facts:

  • Over a month ago, I booked a roundtrip award ticket for a relative from Saskatoon to Baltimore.
  • About a week ago, I received a schedule change notice for the tickets.
  • The schedule changed from leaving on a 2:30pm flight to leaving on a 7:10am flight — about eight hours earlier.
  • My relative cannot make a 7:10am flight due to commitments in Saskatoon. It would also mean arriving at the airport before 6:00am and she lives over an hour away and has health issues.
  • I checked United flight schedules and found that they had actually changed their scheduled flights and there were no longer any
  • United flights that would make the connection to Baltimore that day after 7:10am. I understand schedule changes, but after ticketing United should try to do something to accommodate a person when they cancel a flight. The flight is in April and there is still time for them to fix things.

  • I also found out that there is a United partner flight (Air Canada) that leaves at 10:25am that would work. It’s not as good as 2:30pm, but at least my relative could make that flight.
  • I called United and figured it wouldn’t be a problem to change since United had moved the flight up eight hours … guess again!
  • After almost an hour on the phone with an agent and then a United call center supervisor, I was repeatedly told that the only way I could change was to find another flight with award space available — not just space available. Since United cancelled the flight, that doesn’t make sense.
  • In the month since I booked the tickets, award space had dwindled. I am not positive, but I believe that award space was available using United miles on the Air Canada flight when I originally booked, but I chose the 2:30pm flight instead.
  • Neither the agent nor the supervisor even said that they were sorry or apologized. They simply kept repeating the words “United policy” and tried to make me feel like something was wrong with me for having a problem with the change. Frustrating does not begin to describe the call.
  • I’ve had schedule changes on award tickets before with both Delta and American, and as long as they changed the schedule, I had no problem picking any flight for the change.
  • There actually is first class award space on the Air Canada flight, but why should I have to pay more when there is really no benefit to me — it’s a relative, not a close relative.
  • I’d be fine with United either ticketing the flight in coach on the Air Canada flight or bumping up to the first class award for that one way (either by upgrading or rebating me the extra miles that I have to pay). Why should I give up the flight or have to pay for an upgrade because United decided to change their schedule?
  • I also tried going on the United Facebook page and posting. They just tried to get me to stop posting then said that one of the social media agents would see the post in the morning and contact me to help. In the morning, the social media agent responded and said the the person the night before had already answered me! Not true. I replied, but they simply stopped responding to me.

This has made me realize exactly how bad United customer service is and how ludicrous their “fly the friendly skies” campaign is.

I think the scariest thing about this isn’t even my situation, but the precedent that it establishes. If someone books a big international premium ticket eight or 10 months out, and then United changes their schedule a month out, then do they have to cancel their trip unless they can somehow find award seats all over again? It’s scary, especially when you consider that they moved the initial flight up on me by eight hours. They also changed the return flight and I need to work on that, but I think that is manageable.

In this case, the original flight routed through Denver. They still have the 2:30pm Saskatoon to Denver flight, but what happened is that United cancelled all of their Denver to Baltimore or Washington, D.C. flights after 4:00pm (the original flight was set for 7:25pm) so there is no way to complete the original itinerary on United on that day.

The United supervisor I spoke to even asked me what the problem was because my relative could still take the Saskatoon to Denver flight and then leave on the flight from Denver at 10:30am the next day! She really didn’t see any problem or inconvenience with this.
Carleton Hafer

Editors Note: Carleton, thanks for the letter. We’ve mentioned your experience to one of our contacts at United Airlines so you might be hearing from them. But under the circumstances of how often flight times change, there might not be a positive response. It certainly never hurts to ask.

Thanks

This is the first letter I’ve ever written to InsideFlyer magazine, but I thought it was about time that I did. I have been subscribing to your magazine since the early 1990s. I can’t believe it’s been that long!

I have to say that during that time, I have gleaned quite a bit of information that has helped me make the most of my memberships in frequent flyer programs, and for that, I say “thank you!”

There have been times that my interest in the programs have waned a bit and a spell when I had medical issues that curtailed most of my travel, but through it all, my memberships in these programs have been a valuable part of my travel landscape.

I guess Im proving I’m an old fogey now when I say that I think the “golden age” of frequent flyer programs is over. But even with that, there are still some benefits to be had by paying attention to the fine print and bonus offers that InsideFlyer covers so well.

Thanks again, and I’ll be renewing my subscription again this year.
Matt Marcus

Editors Note: Thank you for the note, Matt, we really appreciate your getting in touch with us. We checked, and yes, you’ve been a subscriber without a break since 1992 — so for that, we say, thank you!

Flight Delay Fantasy

Please, let me take a flight that is delayed by two hours, with no upgrade and no free food. After the recent spate of bad weather and flight cancellations, I’ve learned to embrace imperfect travel because its better to get there late and hungry than to never be able to go at all! Spring can’t get here soon enough!
Snowed In Sherry Frazier

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