Help! United took away my 60,000 frequent flyer miles

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by cathysus, Mar 14, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. cathysus

    cathysus New Member

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    Hi,

    In December of 2012 I booked an award trip to Europe for May of 2013. I had cancel because I lost my job and could no longer afford to go. Needless to say I wasn't flying anywhere else either. I looked at my account this week and my miles were just gone, to my complete shock!

    I emailed United and found that I had to request for the miles to be redeposited within one year of my booking the flight. The response wasn't even apologetic! More like, "Your miles are gone loser!" Again, total shock because I had canceled award trips in the past and the miles went right back into my account.

    Any suggestions for how I can get them back? Can I appeal somehow?

    I realize I may have been at fault for not reading the fine print but I'm still extremely angry. I've flown United loyally for many years but in the future I will be doing everything possible to avoid flying with them and make sure everyone I know hears about this and comes away hating them too.
     
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  2. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    First, sorry to hear you lost your job. That always sucks no matter what. I hope you are getting back on your feet - the fact you've posted about a ticket that wasn't in your priority list for over a year suggests in the broad sense, you have.

    To the case. Your miles were gone when you booked the ticket. E-tickets are valid for one year from date of issue. So if it was booked in Dec 12, all value would customarily expire in Dec 13. All other airlines operate similar policies WRT ticket validity. This outcome is unfortunate but you'll need to take better charge of your own tickets/miles - calling to request a redeposit as soon as you knew you could not use it would have saved a lot of frustration. You would have had to pay the redeposit fee unless you hold a high enough UA Premier level but still, well worth recovering the miles.

    Now, to build up your miles in the future, you could always fly DL and try DL SM. Did you know, it is regarded as best in class?
     
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  3. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    Sarcasm at its best! FWIW, I have had no major issues as a SM member, at any level, in over 20 years.
     
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  4. B1BomberVB

    B1BomberVB Silver Member

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    Every time I've cancelled an award flight, the miles were redeposited as part of the process. Maybe UA works differently. Cathy, I suggest you look up your credit-card statement from when you cancelled to check if UA charged you a Cancel/ Redeposit Fee, or some other kind of fee, or none at all.
     
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  5. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    We had to cancel two TATL reward tickets for my wife and me on AC and BA because of family illness last fall, and a call to AC got all our miles refunded completely and into my account the next day, and all taxes, fuel surcharges, UK APD, and other fees completely refunded to my CC less a $200 cancellation fee. We just made the cxl. deadline as if we had waited to within 22 days of our flights, the miles would not have been refunded, rather kept as a credit for a later flight within one year. For BA, I was able to cxl. the UK domestic flights online and got all my Avios miles back less some fees.

    Questions for the OP, did you cancel your flights very close to your departure dates? And why did you wait so long to check to see if your miles were indeed returned to your account?

    Sorry to hear you've lost your miles. Perhaps UA will reconsider and credit the miles back to your account.
     
  6. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

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    This is not true both for AA and USAir pre merger, both require a paid fee to redeposit. In the case of DL if you cancel within 72??hours you lose them completely.
     
  7. Pizzaman
    Original Member

    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    That's not true for AA. EXPs are exempt from redeposit fees.
     
  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    It is an option in the UA system. You can keep the "ticket" open for future use or redeposit it for a refund. Seems to me that the OP didn't understand the options available and made the wrong choice. That's an expensive mistake.

    And, yet, had you done the same thing the OP did you also would have lost the points in the same way. If a ticket is left open it will expire. That applies to both revenue and award bookings.
     
  9. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    And as I said, I have had no major issues as a SM member, at any level, in over 20 years. Your comment means nothing. If anyone did what the OP did, they would have the same result, not just me.
     
  10. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Which is relevant to the OP's issues how?

    Correct. Regardless of status or length of membership in the program or prior experiences.
     
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  11. eponymous_coward
    Original Member

    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP. I think you will find that appealing to hate and passion works rather poorly when it comes to airlines, as opposed to reason. Many people have different reasons for flying and different experiences than you might. It might be better to try and understand the problem. Airlines are simply businesses, with no more feelings than a brick. Loving or hating the brick isn't likely to work out well; but choosing a different business based on your interaction with them (and letting others know about your experiences) does make sense.

    As mentioned above by Wandering Aramean, is it possible you left the ticket open as opposed to outright cancelling it? Also, you might try contacting someone like Chris Elliott to assist.
     
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  12. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    Relevant? Do i need to meet your approval of relevancy, or were you just looking for an argument. I replied to @redtailshark. Had I said "the sky is blue" you would have replied "no it's not, it's [insert any other color besides blue]"
     
  13. B1BomberVB

    B1BomberVB Silver Member

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    So true about DL the past 2 years! On AA/US I was not offered the option to cancel without re-depositing, only to Cancel & Re-Deposit by paying the fee.
    I thank Wandering Aramean for pointing out that UA does offer that choice, because their Change Fee is less than their Cancel/ Redeposit Fee!
     
  14. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Well actually I was agreeing in with Wandering Armenian since it works similarly with both AA and US.:) with AA in particular its been like this for some time now.
    In three recent instances two with AA and one with US I was allowed to cancel the booking with the option of re-booking the same itinerary without a change fee within one year of the original booking date.
    Sometime later I cancelled "the award" and had them redeposit the miles after paying the fee and yes the fee is exempt for AA EXPs
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014
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  15. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Gee some here are pretty thin skinned .. really its just a BB board folks....people are still allowed differing opinions no? :rolleyes:
     
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  16. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    This is a tough story to share publicly, but a little over three years ago my daughter was addicted to meth. She was a basket case, as are all meth addicts. I was trying to get her to fly to Costa Rica to get into a reasonably priced (but very good!) treatment center, and she agreed.

    I bought the ticket at the cheapest price I could find on short notice (not cheap), and it was non-refundable. She no-showed. The ticket was then worthless, as she didn't call to tell me she wasn't coming. I couldn't reach her to confirm whether or not she was on her way to the airport, and I didn't want to cancel it, as I was trying to save her life. Ouch. Like I wasn't in enough pain already.

    The next time around, a couple of weeks later, she said she was ready. This time I decided to use miles instead of money. Same result, despite my then CO Plat Elite status.

    A couple of weeks later, she called again, and wanted to come. I did the mileage ticket again, and she actually got on the plane. So I only had to buy three tickets to start the process of saving her life. Point is, it didn't matter that I was top-tier elite. Don't cancel, don't show up, don't plan on getting a refund. Same is true if you cancel and don't pay to return the miles to your account.

    My story has a happy ending. She stayed for three years, started to work after 90 days (hard for a Gringa to do in Costa Rica), made a ton of friends, and she's still clean and sober to this day, living back in Dallas, entirely self-supporting, living in her own place, just got a promotion at work.... Well worth all the lost money/lost miles for me.

    I told CO the whole story, and they gave me the "awwww, you poor thing" treatment, but had all the flexibility of a brick when it came to refunds. I wasn't looking for sympathy. I wanted my money/miles back! No such luck. I would do it all over again, however, knowing the outcome. :)
     
  17. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    Agreed, however advice or opinion is one thing, constant argument is another. Some MPers are tolerant, some are blind. Then there are others who simply won't put up with it. Read around. You'll see. ;)
     
  18. mherdeg
    Original Member

    mherdeg Silver Member

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    I'm glad to hear things are better now. Just so you know, under the current UA award system (which I think they inherited from sCO), even if you no-show on an award ticket, you can cancel the ticket and refund it after the fact. This is not a quirk or a fluke; it's actually a built-in part of the system. Please don't abuse it or write blog posts speculating about ways to abuse it :( as it's a handy feature for genuinely flaky last-minute family travel. Have a look at the fare rules for an award ticket fare basis some time (book a dummy award and click "fare rules") and you'll see this refundability — on UA awards, no showing does not leave the ticket with no value.
     
  19. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    From one father to another, I am happy for you that it worked out well. I also totally agree that the price is "small" in terms of the outcome.
    Wishing all MP fathers (and mothers) all the best with their kids and family.
     
  20. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Sorry that you lost your job and the recent realisation that your points were lost too. You can still try to appeal to their goodwill but I think that is at most what you can hope for now and I wish you luck in that.
     
  21. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    Thanks for that! Is this no-show mileage return just for us Premiers? If so, only Premiers of certain status, or does it apply to any flying schmoe?
     
  22. Paolo Scuri

    Paolo Scuri Silver Member

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    It applies to everyone.
     
  23. cathysus

    cathysus New Member

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    Wow, I was surprised at all the responses.

    I don't appreciate the snarky comments - as I mentioned, in the past United did redeposit my miles automatically. For this trip, I canceled about 6 weeks in advance and they did charge me a cancellation fee of $150. And I still lost my miles!
     
  24. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    If you paid the cancelation fee without rescheduling the reservation, there is something terribly wrong here. I canceled my daughter's flight from Costa Rica to DFW, and there is a cancelation fee, but it isn't paid until the flight is actually rescheduled. Otherwise, there is a redeposit fee. To have the miles redeposited costs more, but the prices have changed recently, so I don't know what they were last year.

    Losing 60,000 miles is worth writing to Smisek about. Keep the email professional, brief, and to the point. It's best not to threaten never to fly them again (even if you won't), but to simply express your shock and disappointment that you paid without being advised (even if you were in some fine print). That should have been made painfully clear to you, IMHO, before they parted you from your money.

    You can write to him at either jeff.smisek@united.com or j.smisek@united.com. I'm confident that another MPer will clarify here which one is correct before you even read this. Some might suggest that you write to the DoT, but they don't really engage themselves in frequent flier issues. Letting the guy with the big ego know that you are very unhappy is the best, and probably your only option at this point.

    Finally, I don't think anyone was being snarky toward you at all. In order to learn about travel benefits online, one must certainly acquire some thicker, more repellant skin, but this by far the least snarky community that I've ever seen. If someone writes something that offends you, just ignore it. It may feel personal, but while your feelings are always real, they aren't always true. Someone would have to know you to attack you personally, and even then it would require far more than just a brief acquaintance.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  25. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    Here is the info. from the UA site w/last year's fees:
    sorry, the formatting didn't copy over, but the last line says 'Canceling your trip and re-crediting the miles...' $150 for 'General Member'
     
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