“Now less than two week before start of trial (Case 13-0546) consolidated with case 12-3737, American Airlines (successor to USAIRWAYS) after 5 years of (unsuccessfully) playing every legal trick in the book, and spending millions of dollars defending these cases, has run out of options.”
Trial by Jury Scheduled in Lawsuit by Frequent Fliers
The statement shown above — which was posted by InsideFlyer member FrenchFry — refers to a lawsuit with as many as 200,000,000 frequent flier loyalty program miles on the line filed on Thursday, October 11, 2012 against US Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and two other companies by 26 people as a result of a seemingly generous promotion which offered substantial amounts of bonus frequent flier loyalty program miles in exchange for the purchase of Internet web hosting and storage through shopping portals.
Filed in the Superior Court Department of the Trial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the lawsuit claimed that the litigants fulfilled the requirements of the promotion offered by a company called EasyCGI in which customers would receive 4,757 frequent flier loyalty program miles in exchange for the purchase of Internet web hosting and storage through the shopping portals of US Airways and Hawaiian Airlines. Additionally, there were no restrictions of any kind — including maximum limits on quantity.
Offer Not Honored
After taking advantage of this promotion, FlyerTalk member beaubo — one of the 26 plaintiffs named in the lawsuit; and some of whom are very well known to the frequent flier community — reported that the offer was not being honored after all, despite numerous attempts to negotiate with key contacts in senior management with some of the companies named as defendants in the lawsuit. Purchases by some other participants in this promotion were reportedly canceled with refunds but no notification as to the reason why, although EasyCGI allegedly described some of the purchases as “fraudulent.” Still others had reportedly been charged for their purchases but either received the bonus frequent flier loyalty program miles but then had them subsequently taken away, or never received the bonus frequent flier loyalty program miles in the first place.
Additionally, EasyCGI allegedly adjusted the terms and conditions of the promotion to include limitations and restrictions not originally found when the promotion was first offered.
“It cost less than $1000 to earn a million miles under the promotion”, according to this article written by Gary Leff of View From The Wing. “And similar deals were being offered on more than one shopping portal site.”
The Internet web hosting service was purportedly priced at $11.00 per purchase, meaning that each of the 4,757 frequent flier loyalty program miles for that purchase cost slightly greater than $0.0023. No, that is not a decimal error — that is two-tenths of one cent. Many frequent fliers who embark on “mileage runs” would jump on that valuation in a heartbeat — even with no Internet web hosting service included. Was this offer too good to be true? Could this offer have been the result of a mistake, a glitch or a loophole?
No, claimed beaubo, who cited that a promotion with no restrictions was offered by Hawaiian Airlines at around the same time, with the difference that 7,269 frequent flier loyalty program miles would be awarded with each purchase — almost double the 4,757 with the promotion currently under legal dispute.
Matters were complicated even further, as FreeCause — an independent third party in this promotion which was a defendant named in the lawsuit along with EasyCGI, US Airways and Hawaiian Airlines — was supposedly named as a “rogue affiliate” by EasyCGI which promised the 4,757 frequent flier loyalty program miles with certain purchases of EasyCGI services. FreeCause apparently offered 10,000 frequent flier loyalty program miles as a way to settle this debacle, considered “pathetic” by FlyerTalk member HansGolden.
Despite the disdain for airline shopping mall Internet web sites due to their allegedly poor track record, some people believe that the plaintiffs are perhaps too greedy and have taken this miles and points “game” too far. “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered”, according to this article written by Seth Miller of The Wandering Aramean as one example offered regarding the lawsuit.
Some people were disappointed — and believe that it is hypocritical — that the plaintiffs would even consider filing suit in the first place when some of them are supposedly on record advising fellow frequent fliers not to sue, but then apparently ignored that advice when it involves themselves.
Assuming that there is no settlement agreed upon amongst the parties of the lawsuit out of court before then, how the trial progresses in the coming weeks will be quite interesting…