Air New Zealand ticket, flight operated by United, purchased with US Bank reward points = You don't exist!!!!

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Jul 7, 2020
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While traveling in New Zealand in March 2020, during the Covid-19 outbreak, United Airlines canceled a portion of our return trip from Auckland, NZ to San Francisco, CA (flight # Air New Zealand Flight number NZ9816 Operated by UNITED for March 25, 2020) and United did not re-book us on a new flight - they just left us to fend for ourselves. Because my Husband and had booked these tickets using US Bank Flex Perks credit card mileage points no one would help us. United said it was the responsibility of Air new Zealand since it was ticketed thru ANZ so they had to help us. Air New Zealand said it was United that canceled the flight so they had to help us, when we told air New Zealand that United referred us to them because it was a Air New Zealand ticket they then told us it was the responsibility of the travel agent we booked with to re-book us. So we contacted our US Bank Flex Perks travel rewards travel agency and after several HOURS on hold their answer was that because our trip had already started they could not help us and it was the responsibility of United since they canceled the flight.

We ended up paying for 3 extra nights in a hotel because there were no available flights out of New Zealand for days and we paid out for two new return tickets to the tune of $5K.

Once we returned home I logged into United's website to see if they were offering a credit of some sort, it appeared they were until I clicked on the link which directed me to the US Bank travel rewards program again. we started with United Airlines and they told us there was nothing they would do for us, and when we asked for a manager above the supervisor we spoke to we were told there was no one above him. So my husband called the US Bank travel reward flex perks and they told us no credit, no refund of points, we just lose out!

There is nothing anyone will do for us, we have tried to resolve this favorably with no avail.

Does this seem reasonable?

Travel Rewards Trip ID:
Matthew B - xxxxxx
Charity B- xxxxx

Edited to remove personal information
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Unfortunately, booking with points is not the same as booking with cash. You are subject to the restrictions of the point program. The airline has nothing to do with the tickets.

We would need to see the terms and conditions of the program to be able to assist and of it mentions canceled flights.
 
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Nov 27, 2019
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Unfortunately, booking with points is not the same as booking with cash. You are subject to the restrictions of the point program. The airline has nothing to do with the tickets.

We would need to see the terms and conditions of the program to be able to assist and of it mentions canceled flights.
It sounds like these weren't mileage tickets; they were booked through US Bank's travel agent. The TA was paid in points at a $X/point valuation, rather than with cash, but the TA purchased the ticket from NZ with cash. Complication is that it was a codeshare ticket on UA metal. Typically, if a codeshare is cancelled, it's the responsibility of the operating carrier (UA in this case) to rebook the passenger.
 
May 21, 2020
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near Charlotte, NC
If you booked thru Flexperks travel program, you have to go thru them. They are essentially operating like a travel agent in your case. I know, it probably means you will be on hold for awhile if you call.

You will find the T&C for their travel program in the mountain of paperwork they sent you after you signed up, which I’m sure hardly anyone (include me) actually read. There’s likely also a link to it on your account online as well.
 
Jul 7, 2020
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It sounds like these weren't mileage tickets; they were booked through US Bank's travel agent. The TA was paid in points at a $X/point valuation, rather than with cash, but the TA purchased the ticket from NZ with cash. Complication is that it was a codeshare ticket on UA metal. Typically, if a codeshare is cancelled, it's the responsibility of the operating carrier (UA in this case) to rebook the passenger.
I agree it was United that put us in this precarious situation, however they will not do anything for us.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
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Director
Apr 13, 2016
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Who charged your credit card for the canceled flight tickets? The travel agency, United or Air New Zealand?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Here are our contacts for US Bank, you should escalate this:


Here is how to write:

 
Jul 7, 2020
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We paid a small amount, but the majority of it was by reward points.
Additionally we had to purchase two one way tickets for about $5,000 that was an unnecessary expense we would not have had to incur if our flight hadn't been canceled and not re-booked.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
858
1,375
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St. Louis
Additionally we had to purchase two one way tickets for about $5,000 that was an unnecessary expense we would not have had to incur if our flight hadn't been canceled and not re-booked.
Unfortunately, the terms of these reward programs are not usually in the best interest of the consumer, which is why Christopher discourages consumers from participating in them. At best you may be able to get some of the points back, but may not be likely if the ticket is partially used.


At best, even if you had booked directly with the airline, you may be due a partial refund for the unused portion of the tickets. Airlines rarely take responsibility for additional costs associated with canceled flights and unlike in the EU most countries including the US does not require airlines to provide any further compensation in these cases. Before the current pandemic, they were more likely to provide a small voucher to use towards future flights, but this has even disappeared recently, most likely due to the financial situation many airlines are finding themself in.

All you can do at this point is to write the booking agency and ask for a refund of some of the points used to purchase the tickets.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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Once the flight was cancelled by the airline (and it is not clear to me whether it was United or Air New Zealand), the cancelling carrier was obligated to refund what was paid, whether it be dollars, miles, points or chickens. If their position is that they don't need to refund anything, the airline/agent needs to point to where in the contract/terms and conditions it says, "if we cancel, we get to pocket what we were paid." It is also not clear on what airline OP later flew.

Ordinarily, consequential damages (the three nights in the hotel) are not recoverable, and, depending upon the contract/terms and conditions, the fare for the replacement flight (last minute tickets) might not be recoverable. However, I don't see how the airline/agent gets to keep the funds and points and say, "tough."

OP should follow Neil's suggestion and write to the contacts, to see if someone at least restores the points.

A complaint to DOT may or may not get results, but costs little.
 
Sep 26, 2017
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Once the flight was cancelled by the airline (and it is not clear to me whether it was United or Air New Zealand), the cancelling carrier was obligated to refund what was paid, whether it be dollars, miles, points or chickens. If their position is that they don't need to refund anything, the airline/agent needs to point to where in the contract/terms and conditions it says, "if we cancel, we get to pocket what we were paid." It is also not clear on what airline OP later flew.
Per the DOT (since the cancelled flight was returning to the US), the cancelling carrier is obligated to refund regardless of what's in their own terms and conditions.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
So ....you'll get this solved, it would take a great deal of time even in the best economic climate. Now it will take "forever", but you will get your points back.

Here is my understanding, based on lots of points and miles experience. USB slurped up your points and paid cash for your tix. It looks like they paid cash to ANZ ... the code-share part is between ANZ and United and has nothing to do with you or USBank. So United cancelled their leg, United has to refund to ANZ. United should have rebooked you, but we all know that things got a little out of hand in March, so they can't be blamed. ANZ receives UA's cash, then has to refund USBank. USBank will turn that cash refund into points and put them back in your account.

I've not had experience with USBank, isn't that the old Northwest Airlines loyalty plan? I remember transferring my NWA miles to a new Delta a/c because I didn't trust USBank to run things right. They must be doing OK, because they're still operating. I don't know how clever they are managing the program, but if you just keep asking, eventually ... I mean like 6 months maybe, or worse ... the wheels will all turn, one by one, and your points will reappear. Return of loyalty points has gotta be the lowest possible priority right now. So just keep asking, and you must ask USBank. They "own" your tix. Please come back if I'm not being clear. I'd also do a search for a group or forum or something of USBank Flex Perks people; that will allow you to stay on top of things as you go along.
 
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