Screwed by AA on award travel

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by John Woram, Aug 29, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status Points:
    360
    Just a word of caution to anyone else thinking of cashing in some miles. I wanted to book a JFK/EZE r/t. I had 197,000 miles and was told I needed another 63,000 to reach the 260,000 miles required for a biz seat. They put my reservation on hold, pending the miles purchase. So I bought another 63k and just called to lock in my reservation. Now they tell me I need yet another 37,000 miles. But I can't buy 37k, because that would exceed the 80,000/year max. So, they won't honor their original quote, won't refund my 63k purchase, and won't let me purchase what I need. The attitude was, "Hey, we made a mistake, but that's your tough luck."

    I guess it's time to move on. But to who-knows-where?
     
    traveltoomuch, MX and Newscience like this.
  2. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

    Messages:
    14,694
    Likes Received:
    45,079
    Status Points:
    16,475
    This doesn't surprise me a whole lot. We annually use our AAdvantage miles for award vacation travel. I've seen these award mile requirements (especially for "business/first") increase >30% in the past 6 months or so, to align with some of the greater mile requirements of US Airways.

    Airline mergers = more costs for consumers!
     
    MX likes this.
  3. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,742
    Likes Received:
    5,088
    Status Points:
    4,270
    At least you did cancel the booking and they redeposited all your original miles, well as the extra 63K that you purchased. Right?
     
    Newscience likes this.
  4. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status Points:
    360
    I can live with that -- not happily, but so it goes. What I can't live with is being quoted a very specific mileage requirement, purchasing the additional mileage and then a few days later being told they made a mistake and I need even more miles--which they won't let me purchase because of the annual mileage ceiling. I'll fire off a letter to Jon Snook (or whoever his successor is), which won't do any good, except to get it off my chest.
     
    estnet and Newscience like this.
  5. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status Points:
    360
    Well, yes and no. The "Hold" will expire on Sunday at midnight, and I do have my original 197k, plus the purchased 63k in my account. And I still need to get to EZE on January 19th. So I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet, pay for the dAAmned ticket and use the mileage for some other trip in the future. And then find another airline.
     
  6. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,384
    Likes Received:
    2,797
    Status Points:
    1,445
    To be clear -- did they actually state "We made a mistake in quoting the number of miles you needed" or did they say something broader without admitting any responsibility? And if they did say it, did they do so in any provable (eg, written) form?

    If the facts are as stated, and you can prove it, I would be very surprised if escalating the situation did not at least get you the ability to purchase the additional miles you need.

    Have you tried tweeting to @AmericanAir? They were amazingly helpful to me once in a refund situation.

     
    Newscience likes this.
  7. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status Points:
    360
    To be fair, the first agent and a subsequent supervisor were very courteous, speculated that last week's agent probably made a mistake, quoted me the weekday rate, realized her mistake but didn't inform me of the extra miles required for a Sunday departure. The supervisor apologized for the mistake, but said there was nothing she could do about it. She suggested I call again before the Sunday/midnight "Hold" deadline to see if a lower award level would show up. I have my doubts about that, but I guess it's worth a shot.
     
    Newscience likes this.
  8. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,462
    Likes Received:
    3,783
    Status Points:
    2,145
    Wait ... so JFK-EZE is 50k for J on sAAver level. Even AAnytime is 110/150 depending on the level. How is it that it they are quoting you 260k or 297k? Dynamic pricing ?
     
    Newscience likes this.
  9. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status Points:
    360
    I was just asking myself the same question. I need to go back to the various award charts (which I should have done earlier) and see if I can make sense of this. I have the feeling though, that 300k is for weekends, 260 for week days. And now that I step back and think about it, I should be able to get my Sunday JFK/EZE for 150k and my Friday EZE/JFK for 130k, -- unless the powers what be think Friday is part of an AA weekend.
     
    Newscience and MX like this.
  10. davef139

    davef139 Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,361
    Likes Received:
    4,958
    Status Points:
    3,120
    What kind of mileage does the hold email say? Did this all happen in 1 phone call? They quoted you X, you purchased and they held res right then, or was there multiple phone calls into AA?
     
    Newscience likes this.
  11. MX

    MX Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,215
    Likes Received:
    4,805
    Status Points:
    2,545
    I also got the impression that AA started playing dirty in recent months. As far as booking award trips with them, I'd try to do it in advance and during slower travel periods. I also wouldn't want to spend more than 100K miles r/t for a business seat on this route.
     
    Newscience likes this.
  12. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status Points:
    360
    First phone call was a few days ago. I said I wanted a Biz award for a JFK/EZE round trip. The agent quoted 260k, and I had 197k in my account. So, she posted a record locator in my account with an "on hold" and a Sunday midnight deadline. I hung up, purchased the 63k that I needed online. It cleared in a day or so and I made a second call today to complete the booking. Today's agent (and her supervisor) both said it was a mistake -- I really needed 300,000 miles, and there was nothing they could do about it. They claimed I had booked a Monday departure and then changed it to Sunday. That's a crock: I must be in Buenos Aires on Monday,so I would hardly book a Monday departure from JFK. And the online record locator clearly shows a Sunday departure right at the time it was posted in the "My Accounts" page. And, no emails were exchanged in any of this. So, if all else fails, I guess I'll take a one-way award and pay for the other half.
     
  13. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status Points:
    360
    I've got no choice on travel periods. I do an annual lecture/presentation series on a round-trip cruise between Ushuaia and Punta Arenas. The event has been publicized for months, so I'm "locked in" to the January dates. But next year maybe I'll try my luck on another carrier.
     
    MX likes this.
  14. MX

    MX Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,215
    Likes Received:
    4,805
    Status Points:
    2,545
    I meant booking during slow periods, not traveling. There may be bursts of award availability throughout the year, but the dead of winter and early spring are often good times to plan.
     
  15. davef139

    davef139 Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,361
    Likes Received:
    4,958
    Status Points:
    3,120
    So AA miles purchased don't post instantly? I find that interesting itself. Good marketing for a company would be, Oh your short 10k miles, you could purchase them right now and complete this booking. But anyway.

    So you're upset that an agent told you the wrong info? I mean how often has an agent been wrong? I would say you might have a valid DOT complaint but if the quote was word of mouth, then I doubt that holds any stance. I have always gotten a hold email when things are done for me by agents, so I don't get why you didn't get an email.
    I also tend to double check everything.

    They may say you wanted a Monday departure and changed to Sunday as that was what the original rep did. Is the Monday the pricing of the original quote?

    I feel if you do not want those miles you purchased, you should call back and keep escalating the call, if all else fails, you could complain to the CC issuer, but I am not sure if that would do any good, I suppose you can try to get the cc company to call and request it or see if you can try and classify it as a return. If its a citi AA card you may have some better luck. Even an AMEX might be better.
     
  16. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status Points:
    360
    What's also interesting is that when I purchased the miles online I got a "You will receive an email when the miles are posted to your account." -- don't remember the exact wording, but that's close enough. So I waited a day or so -- needless to say, no email. Even to this day I haven't gotten one. So I looked at my account this morning, saw the miles were there, and then made that second call.

    No, I'm not upset that the agent gave me the wrong info.We all make mistakes, and if I'd made the mistake of booking Monday when I really meant Sunday, I'd have to live with it and do whatever I had to do to fix it. Apparently, AA doesn't feel the same way about its own mistakes. After all, if I knew upfront that I needed more miles than I was permitted to buy, I wouldn't have bought any of them.

    For now I think the best thing is to try again before the "On Hold" deadline passes, and if I can't get this resolved, I'll do an award one way and pay the other. I'm the first to admit I'm no longer a frequent flyer, but as a lifetime Admirals Club member and Platinum level, would it bring AA back into bankruptcy to do the right thing here? FWIW, I paid for the miles with a Citi MasterCard.
    .
     
  17. Max M

    Max M Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,639
    Likes Received:
    2,160
    Status Points:
    1,245
    Before giving up, I'd call AA and see if they have inventory on AA partner TAM.

    Sure, you'd have to connect in either GIG or GRU to get to EZE from JFK, but if there's a Business award available, you'd only have to shell out miles for a sAAver award at 100k roundtrip. Or see if they have F award availability for only 125K miles roundtrip.

    Or do one-way on AA and the other way on TAM to save some miles.

    Unless you ask them to search for partner availability on TAM, they'll only quote you the inventory on American.

    And from what I hear, TAM's First Class is really good.
     
  18. Garp74

    Garp74 Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,333
    Likes Received:
    9,631
    Status Points:
    7,525
    I've flown TAM out of GRU twice this year. The service is quite excellent. But the equipment is old and not good at all. It's better than GOL though.
     
  19. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,683
    Likes Received:
    4,736
    Status Points:
    2,570
    Back up here a minute the OP is travelling in during the busiest period for NA/EZE traffic annually. A check on aa.com for the entire month shows only level 3 awards available for the entire month of Jan ( and this has been so for a while) and there is no C or F inventory being shown for SCL, GIS or GRU on or anything close that date. While I sympathize with what was obviously an error in the amount presented to him initially with a little bit of planning there are ways to get around this since he states he must be in EZE on Jan 19th
    Using an award one way and a paid ticket is by no means the most productive way of accomplishing this.

    All the above is listed on the award charts on aa.com so how you arrived at the conclusion that "AA started playing dirty in recent months" is beyond me.
     
  20. estnet
    Original Member

    estnet Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Likes Received:
    2,117
    Status Points:
    1,270
    can u leave earlier (eg Fri) and is the award available at the ?lower(260 is still alot) level? Probably 2 nights hotel is cheaper than buying the miles plus it gives you some wiggle room in case of irreg ops - which if you have to be on a ship isn't a bad thing
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  21. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status Points:
    360
    The cruise line has already built in the wiggle room: B. A. on Monday night, Ushuaia on Tuesday night (along with the other speakers), board ship on Wednesday. Ditto in reverse on the way home. Now, doing some more math, I think I'll try the following: book an award for the return flight (130k), leaving me 134k. So now I only need 16k to bring that up to 150k. I suppose AA will come up with some way to refuse that too, but I'll give it a shot.
     
  22. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,683
    Likes Received:
    4,736
    Status Points:
    2,570
    Why would AA refuse you to book a return only award? All awards are now one-way. You have a bit of time ..do some research on using partners in getting there... its doable but might require a few stops on the way.
     
  23. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    168
    Status Points:
    360
    Oh, they wouldn't refuse me -- If I take an award booking for one way, they charge almost the full r/t fare for the other: either JFK/EZE for $2847 or EZE/JFK for $3044. As compared to $3734 for a round trip. Their attitude (polite of course) is "Hey, we screwed up, but that's your problem -- we won't let you buy the miles you need, and we won't refund the money you already paid for 65k miles."
    Time to bop off a letter to Jon Snook, or whoever replaced him.
     
    newbluesea likes this.
  24. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,683
    Likes Received:
    4,736
    Status Points:
    2,570
    I still think you are choosing a pretty expensive option. I would suggest you find a family member who has say 50k miles in their AA account and use the share and/or buy miles option (I believe AA is still running the 35% bonus for that) to make up the required amount and then have them redeem an award in your name from the miles in their account.

    A much cheaper option is to use your AA miles to an one-way to LIM ( 75k for J being shown for around the 1/16/14 date) and buy a R/T on LAN LIM/EZE in J for about $1200 ( one way would be $1400) and toss the return leg.
     
    flyforawg likes this.
  25. Pizzaman
    Original Member

    Pizzaman Co-founder

    Messages:
    4,521
    Likes Received:
    8,760
    Status Points:
    7,270
    I echo the sentiment that you should try tweeting American. I've had good luck a few times getting matters resolved through that channel.
     

Share This Page