AA Investigations of AAward Redemptions

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by schnitzel, May 8, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    I'm starting this thread for a few reasons:

    1 - I would like to start redeeming rewards with and for friends and relatives, without causing myself problems.

    2 - The stories I've heard about problems with AA are pretty fascinating.

    3 - We could all use the info to make sure that we stay as far away from an investigation as possible.

    4 - I'm really curious.

    I do NOT intend this thread at all to be a "How to sell and AA Award" primer. I'm not interested in that. I just want to use and keep my AA account forever, and I want to play by the rules.

    This post over at FT inspired me to start the thread. Regarding her story, isn't is common for French couples to have different last names? I thought it was more common in France than in the US.

    Anyway, I haven't had any problems yet (knock on wood) and I've pretty much only redeemed rewards thus far for myself and my immediate family, except one award years ago for a fairly distant relative's friend. So no problems for me, yet. But I've got a lot of miles, and I may want to be generous with some.
     
  2. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I've redeemed multiple awards, upgrades, and SWUs for friends and family (some with different last names) without any issues. As has been noted many times, unless you're selling/trading/bartering your miles/benefits you really don't have anything to worry about.

    With regards to the story you linked to, it's also common for unmarried couples (boyfriend/girlfriend, gay couples, friends) to travel on award tickets. I'm sure many do so every day on AA miles without any issue. I don't really see anything in that story that would even cause me to think I might be a target of fraud investigation in the future.

    The real reason to worry would be if you're breaking the rules. Keep your nose clean, keep your miles. ;)
     
  3. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    Yeah - I just wonder if there's more to that story. AA is usually pretty good about only bothering those on the line. Granted, this was decades ago, but what sparked their interest?

    I'll find that link to the Brazilian guy's story - seemed like a good piece to add in here.
     
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  4. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    Great Idea!

    In my limited history of booking awards for others using my miles I am yet to have a problem. I have booked my girlfriend on several different AA awards (either JFK-EZE or EZE-JFK), even changing dates and class of service, without any problems.

    Same thing for BA Avios.

    According to the LA Times article it appears the people some AAirpass members they highlighted went a bit far.

    I can understand they wanted to travel the world in first for free and I think they are entitled to it. However booking a ticket for your "bag", while creative, is something that is pushing the limits of what they are entitled to.

    So the AAirpass members are a very different breed than the regular AAdvantage member.

    I am interested to hear about others' horror stories so I can brace myself for the torturous event

    I don't think the issue was buying flights for others, I think it was AA wanted to catch them selling those tickets to other people.
     
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  5. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    That's questionable considering his story turned up with many indications that he was, in fact,selling AA benefits.

    This is a great thread on TravelingBetter regarding selling/trading miles and includes the saga of the man stuck in Brazil: LINK.
     
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  6. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    I agree. Many in this community take risks, to a varying degree, by exploiting "loopholes" and bending the rules.

    If one day AA decided that the Citi AA double-down method was a violation of ther AAdvantage program rules they could be justified. It is not our right to be in their program.

    But of course, about 90% of us did do that and there would be huuuge backlash if they ever did crackdown. It is not to say they never will or the easier way is if they devalue or redefine their program to absorb all those extra miles.

    But that LA Times story is about a completely different breed of traveler than milepoint members.
     
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  7. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I still think it's a bit different. Selling/trading/bartering your AA benefits isn't a loophole, it's explicitly prohibited in the T&Cs everyone agrees to when they register for an AAdvantage account. AA leaves open and closes various loopholes in the program. There really isn't anything to "adjust" in this department though.
     
  8. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    With respect to the Brazilian guy, agreed, he was doing more than he should have at the very least, possibly much more. I have no sympathy for him.

    My point about this thread was more to hear stories of people who have done nothing wrong (in their own eyes, and subjectively, of course, since that's the only way) and who were exonerated by AA. Really, just cases of AA checking you out, and then saying "OK, all good. Thanks!"
     
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  9. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    Here's the Brazilian guy's story - more on that at the TravelingBetter link posted upthread.

    There's also this story of a confessed eVIP purchaser.

    But, again, I'm really more curious about the innocent-but-investigated here.
     
  10. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Around the same time that FlyerTalker had her experience with AAdvantage, my wife and I had trouble getting the "couples ticket" at a French railway station (although, in fact, we weren't actually married at the time). The clerk insisted that we couldn't be a married couple with different last names. Another passenger (perhaps Belgian) came to our aid. So, at least during that time, I can confirm the unfamiliarity of at least some French people with married women using their own names.

    Contrast that, by the way, with our in-office applications for Visa extensions in New Zealand. We were asked if we were married and replied truthfully that we were not, but had lived together for six million years (or however long it had been back then). The clerk excused herself and went into the back office for about ten minutes. It turns out that married couples only paid a single fee for the extension, and she was, on her own initiative, checking that it would be okay to charge us only the single fee. I love New Zealand.
     
  11. JNB280

    JNB280 Silver Member

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    The two stories are linked even further, as they are the same person.
     
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  12. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    Oh. New user name then. Truly upstanding.
     
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  13. wrxmom

    wrxmom Gold Member

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    And I think he's also using yet another user name on TOBB, one that closely resembles his real name...
     
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  14. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    Can't speak to the French, but on my recent trip to central Europe (Hungary, Austria and Germany with brief stops in Slovakia and Czech Republic), everyone my wife and I dealt with seemed to have trouble understanding that even though we had different surnames, we were, in fact, married. That included people from an even bigger variety of countries than just the ones we were in, as some of the staff were from Portugal, Holland, and Eastern Europe.
     
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  15. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Also pretty amazing in all this that the powers that be over an Flyertalk seemed quite content in overlooking the quite persuasive evidence that JonNYC posted clearly demonstrated that Tony was the one and very same who had lied in his initial story and had advertised items for sale on e-bay (and then amazingly tried to rehabilitate himself by posting some chicken and bull story under another name:) ).
    The FT mods in the final analysis when faced with the evidence tried to sweep the story under the rug by squashing further discussion and making some comment to effect " we wont place any credence in a story posted on another bulletin board" :rolleyes: .. yeah right.

    Now back to the original topic. As a 25 year member of the Advantage program I have redeemed many award tickets for friends and relatives even friends living overseas in Europe and the Caribbean without anyone encountering problems.

    IMHO the link provided by the OP indicates that problem as related seems to be a question of proper/acceptable indentification as opposed to AA investigationing " fraud by sale" or anything of that nature...... I really doubt AA would be doing much checking upon on low level awards unless there appears to be egregious rule contravention.

    In summation I would not be at all concerned about redeeming awards legitimately.
     
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  16. dayone
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    dayone Silver Member

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    Like others, I have given away many awards without incident to people who do not share my surname.

    Two tips: Give your cell phone number to each of the gift recipients and make sure sure none of them "regifts" your award to a "companion."
     
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  17. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    How could someone "regift" an award? Can you change the name on an award ticket?
     
  18. dayone
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    dayone Silver Member

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    You give two two awards to your cousin and a companion to go to Vegas and he engages in a third-party transaction with said companion.
     
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  19. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    I see. I might be generous at times, but not that generous.;)
     
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  20. JNB280

    JNB280 Silver Member

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    His ears must have been burning...

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...-757s-refurbishment-process.html#post18539414
     
  21. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    I had this thought last week. A friend had a family member take ill and didn't think she could afford the ticket. I offered to book an award ticket for her should she need it, but family ended up coming through for her. I did wonder, though, if doing so would spur any sort of investigation. There was never any discussion of remuneration, only a friend helping a friend with no expectation of anything (other than gratitude, perhaps) in return. Sad that stories like this introduce even the slightest hesitation.
     
  22. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    I still never got how he got back to flying AA. Was there ever closure on that front, that was public info?

    EDIT: Sorry - took too long to post. That was in reference to the guy from earlier in the thread.

    Mike - sorry to hear about your friend, but glad to hear about your potential generosity.
     
  23. JonNYC
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    JonNYC Silver Member

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    To be clear, Tony eventually confessed on FT as well-- the post is either gone now or I can't find it (post on FT would have been on 3/30/12-- I posted my TB post within less than an hour of his FT post)-- but he admitted, in his own inimitable, obfuscating way, that he had been caught by AA trading AA upgrades or miles for cash or compensation, prompting me to post this:
    http://www.travelingbetter.com/forums/showpost.php?p=37432&postcount=87
    So, in BOTH of the examples you cite, we're talking about "confessed" eVIP (and/or miles) traders.

    You have absolutely,positively nothing to worry about "redeeming rewards with and for friends and relatives, without causing myself problems." Nothing, nada, not a thing.
     
  24. Eloy Fonseca Neto
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    Eloy Fonseca Neto Silver Member

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    Since I began on AA, I never redeemed one award for my self. All were for friends and family, mostly family, and I do the same with the Evips, I usually pay my full fare with the company and upgrade my family and friends to go with me when there is availability. I'd never had any problem with AA, in the US or in Brasil!
     
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  25. wrxmom

    wrxmom Gold Member

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    One can only speculate. I don't think there was.
     

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