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In September, United matched my American Airlines Executive Platinum to Platinum Premier status, good until February 2014. My plan was to try and requalify for Premier 1K this year, since I fly a lot of transcontinental flights and generally enjoy their p.s. service- and I think United miles are the most valuable airline currency. However, things haven’t been so smooth- in September I redeemed for a business class one-way Miami-Zurich-Nice award on Swiss Airlines and was told the ticket was invalid and was denied boarding. I’ve sent numerous emails to United and have yet to even receive a response. Last month I had an issue where a United phone rep royally messed up a ticket and lost my Economy Plus seat assignment and a nasty gate agent tried to make my friend sit in a middle seat (but I was luckily able to rectify that and get him a business class upgrade).
The newest issue is that I recently noticed my United MileagePlus account had a negative balance of 44,056 miles! Knowing this had to have been a mistake on United’s part, I called the MileagePlus Service Center to try to have those miles redeposited. I explained my situation to the representative that on the 29th of December I purchased two award tickets for 50,000 miles each, yet my account is showing 3 redemptions of 50,000 miles each on that date.
She put me on hold for a several minutes to talk with her supervisor and was very apologetic when she returned saying that she was sorry for the wait and that it was a technical error – 50,000 miles would be redeposited into the account within 72 hours.
Fast forward to 8 days later and my account is still showing the same negative balance. Again I called the MileagePlus Service Center and explained the situation. This time I was told something quite a bit different. After putting me on hold for a few brief moments the representative kindly explained that this is a technical problem affecting the whole system that they are still working to fix it.
“Initially there was a problem because a lot of double miles were posted to people’s accounts that shouldn’t have been. The original goal was to go through and correct the error in those accounts, but it ended up causing problems with the whole system. This should be fixed by the end of the month, so please check back again then.”
Before hanging up I asked if there was anything I could do in the mean time and she said I would just have to wait until the problem gets resolved.
I noticed that several users have recently posted on FlyerTalk that their United miles have not been posting. This may be a result of the same technical difficulties I have been dealing with.
This is very frustrating because I needed to book a 25,000 mile award flight for a friend the other day, but would have had to transfer in an additional 45,000 points from Chase just to get my account in the positive- which is something I didn’t want to do.
Most concerning is United’s culture of complete customer disservice. I’ve pretty much had a negative experience from everyone ranging from phone reps to senior leaders in Mileage Plus senior management. When I spoke with several of them at the Star Mega Do in November, they promised to look into my Swiss ticketing debacle. I emailed them shortly thereafter, but never even got a reply. I don’t mean to “throw them under the bus” by blogging about the situation, but I think it’s important to write about my true experiences with airlines, especially so you don’t think I got special treatment as a blogger! I pay for all of my own flights and especially as a Premier Platinum, I think they should at least acknowledge their errors and somehow try to rectify them. In the Swiss case, I ended up having to use 67,500 American miles and $300 (vs. the 50,000 United and $5 for my Swiss flight) to get me to my final destination. I think the appropriate thing would be for United to apologize for the ticketing error and give me a voucher and/or miles to make up for the difference that I had to pay since their award ticket was not honored.
Has anyone else noticed funny activity in their Mileage Plus account or had issues with award tickets recently?