Scrap over dead wife's airpoints

Discussion in 'Qantas Airways | Frequent Flyer' started by sobore, May 24, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10727623

    Qantas has refused to return frequent flyer points to a dead woman's family for a flight she will now never take.
    New Zealander Rachel Acton died from a heart attack five days after making a booking with Qantas to Australia, spending 41,000 of her father's airpoints which had been transferred into her account.
    But when her family contacted Qantas after her funeral, the airline said it would return the airpoints only to Mrs Acton's account - for which nobody had a pin number - and in 48 hours they would be deleted.
    Family members said it was an unsympathetic - and outrageous - response during a fragile time. Qantas offered an apology when the Herald brought the incident to its attention.
    Mrs Acton is the daughter of respected educationist Sir Tamati Reedy, who is being invested with a knighthood tomorrow.
     
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  2. thewinchester
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    thewinchester Silver Member

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    Sorry, but the family doesn't have a leg to stand on. Per the QFF T&C's;

    The points were in the account of the deceased member, the deceased member had not yet redeemed them, and the points had not been transferred prior to providing the airline with notification of the death.

    The rules here are pretty clear, and I think the family should be more concerned about the loved ones grieving at this time, rather than trying to penny pinch and claim things they're not entitled to.
     
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  3. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    41000 miles? they're squabbling offer basically an economy ticket? WOW. :eek:
     
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  4. below sea level
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    below sea level Silver Member

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    It takes a lot of work for the average person in New Zealand to reach 41,000 miles. Compared to most of the world, there are not enough local (points earning) airlines for the market to be competitive, and credit card companies don't do the "earn and churn" promotions that are seen elsewhere.

    I do agree with the sentiments above though - points would be the least of my concerns if one of my family members had just died.
     
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  5. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Apparently they need to spend some time on Milepoint and learn that 41k miles will not get you that round-the-world trip in first class. :p
     
  6. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Sobore: You find interesting news stories. Great stuff. :)
     
  7. Globaliser
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    "Airpoints"? Aren't they handed out by, um, a competitor? ;)
     
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  8. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Wow. The husband had just delivered his wife's ashes and is perplexed with the prospect of losing 41k FF miles?
    :eek:
     
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  9. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Grieving meanders in weird ways. ;)
     
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  10. stan
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    stan Silver Member

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    Everything said today about grieving is right , But!! the airline is "DUMB" not to bend the rules in this situation , goodwill is an important part of running a business and since it is only 41,000 miles it has no meaning to an airline, it will not hurt them in any way--- on the other hand --playing hardball does nothing for them, and in the end what did they do!!!

    I always thought award programs were to build loyalty ,most airlines forgot that , I guess that is why the airlines over the years never made a profit , not smart to be tough with your customers --service is the name of the game
     
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  11. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Why would they bend a rule? where would it stop? Bending rules on aircraft inspections, etc?


    The terms and conditions clearly spell out the consequences that death would have on an account. There is nothing left to interpretation. Bending rules is what has gotten most of this world into the mess it finds itself in.
     
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  12. Globaliser
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    Globaliser Silver Member

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    Should the airline bend the rules in respect of every person who's died?

    If so, what's the point of the rule then?

    Or maybe the airline should only bend the rules for every customer who behaves like a squeaky wheel? Those who complain get the benefits, while those who decide to prioritise their family, friends and dignity get nothing?
     
  13. thrashsoundly
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    thrashsoundly Silver Member

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    Miles would be my last concern if my wife died. I wouldn't care about the trip anymore.

    In left field as an extension of this conversation, I've wondered before what happens when someone dies while on vacation? I figure there would be a cargo fee to ship the body home, but could the deceased use miles get back if you're on award travel already? I guess by Qantas rules as soon as the passenger dies, the membership account is canceled, so maybe not. If I needed to fly a dead relative home, could I use miles for that purpose?

    I know it's a morbid question, but I've never really considered what I'd do if my travel companion died while on a trip overseas.
     
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  14. Lufthansa Flyer
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    I doubt it. Repatriating the body would be a cargo operation wouldnt it? That probably would not involve a ticketed passenger. I'm sure there are substantial costs due to medical inspections / preparing a body for transit. But you've piqued my curiousity now!
     
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  15. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    I asked my wife to cremate my body and either send me home by Fedex or if she is comfortable bring me back as carry on.
     
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  16. below sea level
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    below sea level Silver Member

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    Qantas policy is that the account is cancelled when they are notified. With everything else that happens when a person dies, I doubt many people would think about notifying the deceased's frequent flyer program. Personally, I would probably never tell them - just perform a points transfer and let the account go dormant.
     
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  17. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Most FF programs I've seen have these kinds of things in their T&Cs, but they bent the rules when my father passed away and transferred all the miles to my mother's accounts. I think this is just a bad publicity move on the airline's part and a gesture of good faith should have been made. And lets be serious, a one time complimentary 41k miles here is not even close to the same thing as bending the rules on aircraft inspections.
     
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  18. FetePerfection
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    I can just imagine the problems TSA would have with ashes...
     
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  19. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    With documentation from a funeral home/crematorium, there should not be a problem.
    I brought back the ashes of a close friend from Winnipeg to the East Coast of Canada and CATSA (Cdn TSA) had no problems.
     
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  20. LizzyDragon84
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    According to the TSA site, as long as the urn is x-rayable (ie, not made of solid lead), you're good to go. More details on their website.
     
  21. FetePerfection
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    However, we have heard hundreds of stories of TSA making up rules and even refuting rules outlined on their own website. Frankly, I wouldn't count on not encountering problems but I certainly don't want to have to put this one to the test.
     
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  22. Lufthansa Flyer
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    One time break for everyone then right?? Defeats any purpose of rules and regs. Let's be serious and throw all rules away, is that the solution?
     
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  23. torbster
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    It's a little weird that the handling of miles in case of death is so much more complex than miles in case of a divorce, where it generally seems like a clear-cut case of dividing assets. IMO it should be the other way around.
    But a policy is a policy, and although it could be that the customer rep in this case should have taken this further up the ladder, you can't blame him/her for referring to the airlines policy.

    I do agree that the immediate concerns for the miles from the family is somewhat absurd, but then again people are not at their most rational when someone close to them dies. And another thing is that whether this article should have been printed or not. What good does it do anyone in a time like that to have the picture of the deceased and her grandson posted in an article about a petty fight over a few miles (which they had already obtained when the article was written). And the (DYKWIA) mentioning of her soon-to-be-knighted father isn't sweetening the situation either.
     
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  24. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Yes, let's be serious. No one said one time break for everyone. All I'm saying is some airlines (in fact, many businesses even) will look at things on a case by case basis rather than a blanket rule that they stick to without budging, which, imho, is an incredibly stubborn way to do business. The breaking of a safety standard is not even close to comparable to this scenario and should never have been brought into the discussion.
     
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  25. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    let this be a reminder to everyone- make sure someone you trust has access to your passwords, pins, etc., and knows how to clean out your accounts. Discuss it with them, that they need to log on and transfer out points, move funds, clean out safe deposit boxes etc, before sending public notice of your demise. (I'm not advocating anything illegal, IANAL, so check your local statutes- but, for example, imho your legal heir or spouse should have the right to secure your possessions).

    There is a service that will securely store that info and transfer it to your executor upon legal proof of death, if there no one you can trust while you're alive.
     
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