Where are the frequent flier miles I won?

By | January 31st, 2014

Boyko/Shutterstock
Boyko/Shutterstock
Larry Babbin wins lots of frequent flier miles from American Airlines, but the points never appear on his statement. Now the company is giving him the silent treatment. Can these miles be saved?

Question: American Airlines ran a contest in which it gave away 25,000 frequent flier miles every day. I entered every day last month and “won” three times. I have email confirmation each day that I won and a written assurance that the miles would be deposited within seven days to my account.

It’s been over a month, but I haven’t received the miles. American hasn’t even posted the winners on the website even though they are listed for every other contest American has had.

I’ve made three inquiries to American by email, to no avail. I know this problem pales in comparison to those I read about on your column, but for me this is a big issue. Any ideas for me? — Larry Babbin, Toms River, N.J.


Answer: You’re both right and wrong about the magnitude of this case. As a general rule, I don’t get involved in retrieving lost loyalty points, because it’s a lot like chasing the wind. These miles are largely worthless.

But this isn’t the time for a lecture on the negative value of frequent flier miles. The point — pardon the pun — is that American promised you something repeatedly, and in writing, that it failed to deliver. I have a big problem with that.

I can’t think of any reason why American would give you the silent treatment after you contacted it. I think it owed you an explanation for why it was denying your prize, however useless the miles might have been.

Related story:   American Airlines' one-year rule strikes again

I note that you were sending your complaints to a general address. I list the names of American’s executives on my website and you might have tried appealing to them.

But before you did that, you might have reviewed the contest rules one more time. You would have seen that the contest was already over. But somehow, the site allowed you to enter the contest after it closed and as the only entry, you won several times.

Whose fault is that? Well, American should have made sure the contest was closed when it ended, so that’s on them. You should have paid closer attention to the dates, if not when you entered, then when you complained about not getting the miles.

Still, a promise is a promise. American said you had won 25,000 miles, and I’m sure your multiple entries were nothing more than an innocent mistake.

I contacted American. A representative emailed you back, saying, “We value your business and will honor 25,000 miles to make sure your customer experience is positive.”

I love a happy ending.

Who was to blame for this misunderstanding?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


We want your feedback. Your opinion is important to us. Here's how you can share your thoughts:
  • Send us a letter to the editor. We'll publish your most thoughtful missives in our daily newsletter or in an upcoming post.
  • Leave a message on one of our social networks. We have an active Facebook page, a LinkedIn presence and a Twitter account. Every story on this site is posted on those channels. The conversation ranges from completely unmoderated (Twitter) to moderated (Facebook and LinkedIn).
  • Post a question to our help forums or ask our advocates for a hand through our assistance intake form. Please note that our help forum is not a place for debate. It's there primarily to assist readers with a consumer problem.
  • If you have a news tip or want to report an error or omission, you can email the site publisher directly. You may also contact the post's author directly. Contact information is in the author tagline.