I need more than a 'Help desk'

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by xhunter33x, Jan 30, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. xhunter33x

    xhunter33x Silver Member

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    Until recently I tried to consolidate most of my air travel to UAL due to the fact that they offered the best service out of PSP, my former home. LAS affords me the opportunity test the waters with other carriers which is exactly what I decided to do as of late November 2013. I purchased two tickets on AA from LAS to CPH. I was pleased with the service and decided that AA would be my carrier of choice. When purchasing the tickets I inquired as to whether AA offered a challenge for elite status since we were making this transition. I was told that was not an available option with AA.
    Yesterday it came to my attention that AA does in fact offer a challenge for elite status that the reservations department team is not required to know exists and that is not made public on the AA website. The challenge entails paying the appropriate fee and opting for either the gold challenge which requires earning 5, 000 qualifying points within three months or the platinum challenge which requires 10, 000. The roundtrip to CPH alone earned my travel companion and myself 18, 225 qualifying points each. I contacted AA and the reaction I received from the supervisor in the AAdvantage department could be considered complete indifference at best, but to be honest it was nothing more than a slap down. After looking at our two accounts the supervisor made the grand gesture of offering me only 2000 miles. I am still dumbfounded as to what I could have said that gave her the impression that I had any interest in receiving mileage at all. I earned more miles than this this month and have not even left town. I refused the miles.
    Whenever my travel plans include a flight segment that exceeds 90 minutes I choose to purchase a First or Business class ticket. I am satisfied with the benefits that I receive from the additional outlay of funds. All of my travel is leisure and there are few destinations from Vegas to which I travel that don’t exceed the 90 minute threshold I’ve set.
    I realize that AA and its corporate culture are so out of sync with my mindset that the approach being taken by AA was appropriate on their part, but of little interest to me. When cashing in miles, usually it is so that I can bring a friend along on the trip. When purchasing a ticket for a nearby destination it is a sure bet that I am going to try to find the least expensive coach seat available. This is when the benefits associated with elite status with an air carrier are of importance to me. On the few occasions that I purchase a discounted coach seat it would be nice to be able to access the elite check in counter, the shorter line through security, the airline lounge as well as being able to check a bag at no charge. Any relationship I have with a carrier are skewed heavily in their favor since the benefits I am looking for require no financial outlay or loss on their part.
    I currently have two Business Class tickets purchased from AA for upcoming travel that I expect them to refund. I prefer to rebook on another carrier with whom a relationship that can be beneficial to both sides is possible and is appreciated. I am not in the mood for a big run in with AA, but rather want my two tickets, valued at $ 1930.00, refunded so that I can move on and find an airline with which I am more compatible.
    Any suggestions on the best contact number to get this all done and over with? As, I was informed that there is no ‘umbrella’ department that is familiar with both AAdvantage policy and ticketing I do not want to waste any more time than necessary resolving this and moving on. Thanks in advance for any input. Safe travels everyone!
     
  2. tom911
    Original Member

    tom911 Gold Member

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    Not all business class tickets are created equal. Are these fully refundable business class tickets booked on AA.com? Any reservations agent should be able to cancel those. If the fare rules do not allow a full refund, or assess some fees that you want waived, a reservations agent probably isn't going to have the authority to do that and you're better off asking to be routed over to customer service. No guarantee they will waive any charges, though.
     
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  3. xhunter33x

    xhunter33x Silver Member

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    Thanks, Tom! Hopefully, if they are not fully refundable, hopefully I'll get the same person who told me that AA doesn't engage in elite status challenges! ;-)
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Wow...that was a lot of rambling. What do you actually want?

    Is the problem that they wouldn't retroactively grant you a challenge that you hadn't asked about?
     
  5. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    It is a lot of rambling, but I believe the problem is that the OP asked about the existence of challenges before purchasing the tickets and was told AA does not offer challenges. S/he is aggrieved to have learned after flying that such matches are available and now seeks to cancel non-refundable tickets with AA.

    The part I find a little hard to swallow is that someone sophisticated enough to ask for a status challenge would accept the obviously false information that AA doesn't offer them.
     
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  6. PosauneGuy

    PosauneGuy Silver Member

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    https://prefunds.aa.com/

    Information on elite status challenges on AA can be found here: http://www.flyerguide.com/wiki/index.php/Challenge_(AA)

    Challenges are an unpublished benefit; not surprised that reservations agents wouldn't know that. Denying your request to retroactively begin a challenge doesn't translate into AA not wanting your business. It only means that AA is not going to bend the rules for you. (And why should they when most people earn status by actually flying the requisite number of miles or segments.) If you liked the service on AA and generally fly F and J anyway, you're not that far off from earning status the hard-earned way. Seems crazy to write off an entire airline because one agent didn't know about the challenge. Among frequent flyers, there's a saying that goes around: if you didn't like the answer from one agent, hang up and call again.
     
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  7. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Is this an accurate statement of your problem?
    • While booking business class tickets you asked the reservation agent whether status challenges were available and were told no.
    • After flying you learned that the airline does, in fact, offer status challenges.
    • You feel cheated out of the opportunity to engage in the challenge, the terms of which would have been satisfied based on the tickets you purchased and flew.
    • You have additional non-refundable business class tickets which you would now like refunded on the grounds that the airline is not willing to admit that they erred in the information they gave you, and to allow you to retroactively purchase and satisfy the status challenge you feel you were entitled to in the first place.
    I don't think you'll get very far. While the reservation agent may have erred in the information he or she gave you, it's still true that:
    • The appropriate contact point for a status challenge should have been the loyalty program rather than a reservation agent. The reservation agent should have told you that, rather than "no, we don't have that" assuming that he or she understood what you were asking for. Nonetheless, I find it hard to believe that someone who knows about status challenges wouldn't know 1) to contact the loyalty program and 2) to find information about the status challenge here or on another frequent flyer site.
    • You purchased both sets of tickets knowing that they weren't going to be applicable to any status challenge so it's hard to see what harm you've suffered. Your outcome might actually be better than what you thought it would be before you bought the tickets because now you can purchase the challenge and (possibly) have the not-yet-flown flights applied.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
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  8. xhunter33x

    xhunter33x Silver Member

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    I actually made the reservation and had them hold it for a week while I decided if I really wanted to use American. I also called several times during that time frame and asked several different people about any challenges that might be available as well as some other questions that were pertinent. We are all aware of the fact that promotions, prices, and anything else associated with travel can change between 'enter your travel dates' and 'press once to purchase.' The tickets I purchased could be held until the day of travel and I wanted to make certain that there was nothing I was missing. (there was a 25,000 transatlantic bonus for which I signed up....it wasn't credited...I had printed out the verification emails I had received confirming that I had signed up and subsequently AA entered the information manually) I try to be as thorough as possible and therefore I don't appreciate being given incorrect information. The answers were very consistent , however. There is another issue for which the information provided was not accurate as well, but again, the answer I received was the same from each person. That incorrect answer has me holding three tickets to LA next Wednesday AM and back to Vegas that evening. It was not until I spoke with AA after learning that the challenge was available at the time I inquired, that I was alerted to the fact that reservations and AAdvantage are entities so far removed from one another that AAdvantage can't even cancel arrangements made through reservations. In any case, that's what I'm told. I wish everything were readily available to read online. Then the burden of discovery is mine and mine alone.
     
  9. xhunter33x

    xhunter33x Silver Member

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    Yes, yes, yes.... ;-) You pretty much have summed up the situation. I have had this same AA card since 1983 I was in High School. I used to fly with American a lot. I purchased the tickets knowing that the requested 'service' was unavailable. Purchased the additional tickets last week, before I found out the situation. Passenger number two had allowed 35,000 AA miles to expire. The status challenge was not the only thing I had asked about. When I finally decided to pay to have her miles reinstated I am informed that for $30 and a RT all of her miles would be restored. That wasn't the story I was getting before the trip. The fact that I would have to do business exclusively through the loyalty program desk is reason enough to not use AA. They have regular business hours, which means I have to call before 2 PM. I live in a city where happy hour is 11 PM to midnight. There are times I wake up, decide I'm bored and perhaps call and buy a plane ticket and go some where. Did that often in PSP. They don't mind that...it's when you're already on the plane and say you've changed your mind and get off that they aren't too happy. I spent 90 days in 90 different hotels last May, June and July. No plans, I just got bored and did it. If anyone needs hotel advice for the PSP area I can help! Having lived there previously, I wanted to try that area out as a tourist. I am not one to wait until the hours that they are operational to ask a question or make a reservation if I want to leave in two hours. The bottom line is that I want my money back. It's only $200.00 more on Delta and I'd just rather forget this ever took place. Don't like being given bad information or being ripped off. (she also had the nerve to suggest that I could pay $400 and give them the 20,000 points for gold status....are those people on something?)
     
  10. xhunter33x

    xhunter33x Silver Member

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    My problem with the status thing is that like you said, most people fly the miles to get that status, but few people actually pay for it. The four tickets I've purchased from AA total $ 9084.00 for two round trip flights. AA has a RT LAS-LAX for $88.00. Had I just gone back and forth to LA, I could have the highest status level offered AA offers for half of the money they have made from me on the two trips purchased. A lot of people make elite status by traveling at rock bottom savings until reaching it. It should be the obvious bottom line for the company....it is for me.
     
  11. xhunter33x

    xhunter33x Silver Member

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    The problem is that I was given incorrect information. The problem is that I could have just flown back and forth from Vegas to LA 50 times for Executive Platinum at half the cost of what I've spent for two tickets for two round trips. The problem is it seems as though very few people actually are paying for the services they get. The problem is that there are a lot of people who aren't paying out of pocket for their won travel who tend to be a bit overbearing. The problem is free upgrades and first class sections that used to be quiet are now filled to capacity with those who wouldn't be there if they weren't for some freebie. The problem is that those same overbearing people would stand on their heads with bananas in their mouths on national television if it will get them some miles, an upgrade or another flight segment. Ahhhh...I feel much better now. Thanks! :)
     
  12. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Nice way to make friends and influence people.:)

    But you did give me a super idea..
    Next time I want AA to wave the cancellation fees I will just call them and tell them their CSRs didn't give me the correct challenge information:D
     
  13. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    I wouldn't care about status at all if I could afford to buy all my tickets in first and business class. :confused:

    You could try United. You'd probably make global services in no time flat.
     
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  14. JonNYC
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    JonNYC Silver Member

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    Troll.Revealed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  15. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    The problem is the last time I called the double secret desk, he didn't teleport me to my destination after I hung up. I want an airline that proactively teleports me before I have to use my minutes.
     
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  16. Steve GadFly
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    Steve GadFly Gold Member

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    Wow...OP, you really sound like someone who has a disdain for everyone you see as "beneath" you. With the amount of disposable income it seems like you have, you should charter a private plane so you don't have to wallow with the unwanted masses.

    I'm sure most of us would appreciate not having to sit next to such a prick.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  17. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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  18. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Wow, Flyertalk has a new look and feel and domain name.
     
  19. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    https version.
     
  20. kcaluwae

    kcaluwae Active Member

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  21. brfong

    brfong Silver Member

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    I read the OP as asking for help.
     
  22. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    I also saw the OP as asking for help. However, I also saw him as pulling a DYKWIA type rant.
     

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