US Airways Spams, Then Insults Members

Apr 9, 2011

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Earlier this week, I blogged about US Airways generosity in sending out an email promising 1,000 free miles to their frequent flyer program members. Their catchy message teased us mileage junkies with the subject line : “They’re waiting in your account!” and then continued with, “Miles make you smile … and they get you where you want to be.” How cute!

Except US Airways was just kidding and sent these emails in error to hundreds of thousands of people. Doh!

While the miles weren’t in my account, I figured they’d be posted at some point this week. However, this morning when I landed in Stockholm I got the following email, which failed to coherently explain their boneheaded mistake:

“Earlier this week, we inadvertently delivered an email message to many of our Dividend Miles members’ email accounts. Unfortunately, one of those accounts was yours. Worse, this email incorrectly stated that we posted 1,000 Dividend Miles into your account. This was not accurate and the email message was sent in error.

We apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused you and appreciate your understanding.”

Actually I don’t understand, so there’s nothing for you to appreciate. In fact, I don’t appreciate your spam. If “miles make you smile” well, then, no miles makes me angry!

Especially coming off a huge data breach that affected major loyalty programs, I would think US Airways would be sensitive to SPAMming their loyalty program members and honor the 1,000 miles they promised everyone in their cute and obviously well-thought-out email. US Airways already mints miles like they’re going out of style, so what’s an extra 1,000 per member? I could see if it was 10,000, but 1,000 is so insignificant in the scheme of things. In fact, they were just offering new members up to 4,000 miles just for signing up for an account.

Overall, I am disappointed in US Airways’ response to their mistake. Hilton honored their 10,000 point text mistake that a rogue hotel offered in error, US Airways should do the same – especially considering the email ostensibly came from their corporate headquarters. I encourage everyone to email them to let them know your displeasure with their lack of professionalism.

While I don’t want to make a huge deal out of a thousand miles, I do think it’s important that we demand a level of corporate responsibility and respect from loyalty programs. If they email us about free miles and then take 5 days to issue an apology email – how many thousands of people checked their accounts or called to inquire if the promo was legitimate? While it may be a small amount of time per person, multiply that by hundreds of thousands of people and US Airways just wasted a whole lot of people’s time. Heck, I even wrote a blog post about it – and am writing another now. Okay, I need to stop wasting my time writing about a company that enjoys wasting mine!

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