How I Found Two 'Lost' SkyMiles Accounts and Recovered 20,000 SkyMiles
I typically keep a near-zero inbox, and am vigilant about unsubscribing from newsletters I don't need, including most non-itinerary messages from airlines. So the other day, I was surprised to see an email from Delta that congratulated me on having 10,000 SkyMiles.
As soon as I opened the email, I knew what had happened: The message was addressed to a former version of me, prior to a legal name change several years ago, and had been forwarded from an old email address. The name difference also explained why I hadn't found my previous Delta SkyMiles account number when my company last tried to book a Delta flight for me, which resulted in a new SkyMiles account.
I rarely fly Delta, so my first thought when weighing the merits of combining my accounts was, "I wonder how long I have before my SkyMiles expire?" Fortunately, a quick search of TPG revealed that Delta SkyMiles never expire — one saving grace for an airline currency that fluctuates wildly in value. (Another good reason to combine accounts would have been to aggregate my record of lifetime miles flown, although my measly 40,000 miles aren't getting me close to anything.)
I picked up the phone and called Delta's help desk. I recently status-matched to Delta Platinum Medallion, so my phone call was handled promptly and professionally in record time. The agent asked me for both versions of my legal name, and the SkyMiles account number listed on the email I had received, as well as my current SkyMiles account number. I also gave her my cell phone number, which has remained consistent, as well as my current and past mailing addresses — which have changed, on average, once a year for the last 10 years.
After running a search on her end, the agent informed me that she had found not one, but two additional accounts in my name with corresponding contact information. She proceeded to combine all of the accounts for me after I told her which account number I wanted to keep. A few days later, I received an email summarizing all of the actions she had taken on my behalf:
Just for good measure, the Delta account management system also sent me an automated update notification:
All in all, I found the process of working with Delta's customer service to be a very pleasant surprise. Getting a hold of a live person who could help was very straightforward, and she was prompt and efficient. Furthermore, both her follow-up as well as the automated notification system kept me informed and updated throughout the process, which I appreciated very much. And, thanks to her efforts, as well as that random email which made it through my stringent inbox filters, I now have 27,275 SkyMiles in an account which previously had 1,500 just last week. Thank you, Delta and Nora!
Moving forward, I'll definitely be more diligent about keeping track of my airline accounts than I was 10 years ago. I've updated my personal spreadsheet of travel-related accounts, and will continue to rely on my AwardWallet account to help me keep all of my expiration dates handy.
If you think you might have had an old SkyMiles account in the past, it's definitely worth picking up the phone and calling Delta even if you don't receive a stray email like I did. Customer service representatives can search for your past accounts as long as you provide relevant identifying information such as past addresses, names, and similar identifying data.