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Purchasing a flight with someone else's frequent flyer points

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Nov 25th, 2013, 12:29 PM
  #1
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Purchasing a flight with someone else's frequent flyer points

Has anyone ever heard of companies that do this as part of their regular thing. A member of my family is planning to purchase such a ticket, and was told it is common in the States. It certainly is not common in my neck of the woods and sounds very strange and even fishy to me. He has been given a very good price for a ticket - and apparently some of the legs are bonus tickets purchased somehow. The airlines involved have confirmed the existence of the reservations and the ticket numbers, and we can see the details on the airline websites. But I am still worried. This was all done online and I don't know what is preventing the agent from cancelling the bookings after he is paid, although he did come recommended. I have googled his name and found no negative references, but also have not found a lot of details at all.
I am posting this on the US forum as well to get a wider audience.
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Nov 25th, 2013, 12:39 PM
  #2
 
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Yes, I have heard of companies that buy FF miles and then sell flights using them. I have never had any experience doing this and I don't know how common it is. I have personally bought a ticket for someone other than myself with my FF miles and no problem, but no 3rd party was involved.
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Nov 25th, 2013, 12:51 PM
  #3
 
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Have never done this but it does violate the airlines' terms and conditions. There have been stories of such tickets being confiscated (search FT and others).

(It is permitted for the owner of miles to use them for a ticket for another person but not for a third party to buy miles and then redeem them.)

See: http://www.smartertravel.com/travel-...tml?id=2379906
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Nov 25th, 2013, 12:55 PM
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Every frequent flyer plan specifically prohibits selling, bartering or brokering miles/points in this manner. It's not illegal per se, but any travel obtained in this manner runs a very high risk of being canceled, the miles forfeited, and the "seller" of the miles (i.e. the person who did the deal with the intermediary) will likely have his/her miles canceled and the FF account closed.

And unlike the (minor) risk of being whacked if you buy a round trip ticket and don't use the return portion ("throw-away ticketing") - which is very seldom enforced, this abuse of the FF rules is actively pursued by the airlines.

It's totally fine if someone "gifts" you the use of their miles for your travel, but "selling" and "buying" FF miles/points from a third party is a real recipe for disappointment.
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Nov 25th, 2013, 12:56 PM
  #5
P_M
 
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I recently paid a trusted friend to book a flight for me using his points but I would be a bit wary to do it with a stranger's points.
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Nov 25th, 2013, 01:06 PM
  #6
 
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It's not illegal in the sense of there being a government law against it. There isn't. As mentioned above, it violates the terms of every airline's frequent-flyer program. (P_M's transaction through the trusted friend above violates them too.) Your family member risks showing up at the airport and finding out the airline has cancelled his ticket. He will have no recourse for getting his money back.
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Nov 25th, 2013, 02:46 PM
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>(P_M's transaction through the trusted friend above violates them too.)

This is not in violation of Delta's policy, at the least.
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Nov 25th, 2013, 04:00 PM
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Yes, it is a violation of Delta's policy. He said he "recently paid a trusted friend to book a flight for me using his points." That part is not permitted. Someone else can book flights for you with their miles/points. You cannot pay them or barter anything for it. I would never risk such a thing.
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Nov 25th, 2013, 04:07 PM
  #9
 
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Really, if one works with a friend and pays them for their FF miles, how would anyone at the airlines know you did this?
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Nov 25th, 2013, 05:03 PM
  #10
 
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Really, if one works with a friend and pays them for their FF miles, how would anyone at the airlines know you did this?

They probably wouldn't, and they're really not after this scale of activity. It's the "brokers" who advertise the service who are the real target.
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Nov 26th, 2013, 12:50 PM
  #11
 
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>Yes, it is a violation of Delta's policy. He said he "recently paid...

Ah, I missed the word paid. That part is not permitted, but in practice most probably couldn't be caught.
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