Trouble redeeming miles on USAIR and NWA

Old May 23rd, 2005, 06:30 PM
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Trouble redeeming miles on USAIR and NWA

I am having troubles with 2 airlines re use of frequent flyer miles. USAir
reps. say things that the company won't honor.

Northwest increased mileage requirements and won't honor the previous basis
upon which customers accumulated/saved the mileage.

Both of the above are rotten business practices. Can you help? Can you
direct me to anyone who can?

Details upon request.
Prather is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2005, 07:05 PM
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What are you talking about USAir?

By the way, it's clearly stated in any airline's FF program that the airline can alter or even terminate its program any way, any time they like.

FF miles is a perk they give you. They don't have to honor it.

Forget about it...
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 08:36 PM
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I agree with rkkwan. FF programs change from time to time. There is an element of risk for those who save miles with the idea that things will remain as they are. It is important to have a redemption strategy that captures the value of your miles from time to time instead of just piling them up. FF miles don't earn interest and things can happen that devalue them, too. I use several hundred thousand each year and they have been worth a lot to me.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 07:08 AM
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If an airline changes a fare and I don't like it, I can take my $ and go elsewhere. With miles I'm trapped.

What NWA is doing may be legal but in my value system is unethical. What we need is a BBB for airline problems.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 10:08 AM
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FF miles are a perisable commodity. Banked miles do not increase value with time (unlike savings accounts). Best to use them as soon as possible.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 11:28 AM
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<USAir reps. say things that the company won't honor.>

Could you be more specific?

As far as the NW mileage devaluation, it happens with all airlines. I don't think there's anything you can do about it. I redeem my miles as quickly as I can earn them.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 07:35 PM
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Prather-what in the world are you talking about with NWA? Do you know, that just two weeks ago, without using any premium mileage, I got a ticket to Rome from the East Coast on NWA for 50,000 standard miles IN AUGUST FOR TWO WEEKS?? IN THE SUMMER? ARE THEY JOKING?

Seriously. I've searched the entire year for UAL, and nothing is available, and let me tell you how much that ticket for exactly $70.00 in taxes is worth if I got a discounted fare during that time-something like $1100.00? Unbelieveable. So, no, I don't know what you're talking about with your problems. Moreover, had I not hesitated, I could have done the same trip at the end of May first week in June.

Not only that, but it's only 66,000 miles RT from the east coast to BKK in November? Are you kidding me? What is your problem, Prather?

I want to personally thank NW Air for my free ticket to Rome in August, something I would never even have thought possible (because I SURE don't pay $1100 to go to Europe for ANY reason) and am AWFULLY glad they are so generous-or that I don't have enough time and miles to go to BKK for free later on in the fall!
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Old May 24th, 2005, 10:07 PM
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There are several issues here, and I'll briefly go through them...

As I said before, FF miles is a perk, and the airlines are free to change its programs anytime, any way they want. I think the biggest problem people have with them is the scarcity of FF award seats.

But increased mileage requirements? Give me a break... Most airlines increased their domestic awards from 20K to 25K miles years ago. Yes, that's a hefty 25% increase, but it only happened once, in years.

Or maybe one's talking about Northwest increasing its international business class FF requirement. Well, the WBC service is much better than the old stuff they used to have, and now rivals some first class service. I think that's fair to increase mileage required. Still, 120K miles to travel to Asia in WBC is a steal, when a ticket usually cost $4K+.

And like others said, there are often special FF deals. I myself am flying Continental to England this weekend, 25K roundtrip. How about that?

Also, FF programs benefit the true frequent flyers with the elite programs. There's nothing wrong with a business taking care of its best customers. And sometimes the not-so-frequent flyers can benefit tremendously.

I've used this example before, and I'll use it again. My parents live here in Houston, and they only need to fly three PAID roundtrips a year to qualify for Gold Elite (middle tier) on Continental. Two Houston-Hong Kong R/Ts, and one to Europe. Now, in off-seasons, IAH-HKG is about $800. Europe can be as low as $400 in winter. So, $2,000. What do they get for "free"? Well, being "Gold Elite" means 100% bonus miles, so each year one can earn 100K miles from the above 3 roundtrips. That's four free domestic roundtrips already. Or 90K is enough to fly one one-way economy to Asia and one one-way BusinessFirst. That alone is worth close to $3K. Plus the perks like elite check-in and boarding lines, domestic upgrades, etc...

So, there are excellent deals out there for people who care to learn about the FF programs. It's not for everyone, and if FF programs frustrate you, you don't have to play this game.
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Old May 27th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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UsAir employees say re whether one is allowed a stopover on a 25,000 mile award for travel within the US. (Latest word is that you can't.)

'they have recently changed the rules on the tickets and do not allow

'you can stopover, but only in certain cities'

'You are allowed one stopover in addition to your outward destination with a
Saturday night stayover.'

'When traveling between DCA and New Orleans, you may stopover in the
connecting cities: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Charlotte'

Also, When calling toe USAIR 800 number one evening reached Al Melara in El
Salvador. He told me

1. I would get Email confirmation of my reservation. - I didn't!

2. The reservation could be extended until May 1. - true?

3. He would put in my record a statement that I could make any changes,
including city, without charge. I'm told that he didn't!

4. He would have his supervisor, Alexis Morales, call me. He didn't.

5. I could reach him via 1-800-622-1015. I can't!

Mass confusion in a chaotic airline!
Re NWA 35,000 miles would get you anywhere in South Am. Now it only gets you to the northern part. The rest costs 50,000 miles.
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Old May 27th, 2005, 09:53 AM
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Item number 3, is not going to happen unless you pay a change fee AND seats are avaialbe. No matter what anyone tells you.

Item number 5 gets you the booking office, no airline gives you the person you talked to unless something major has gone wrong which so far it hasn't.

Now you are trying to book the "cheapest" ticket on FF miles and want first class service, it just doesn't work that way.

If you want the real scoop try reading the rules

Valid Routing
Members may only select one award destination and only the most direct, published route to and from that destination is permitted.
Certain awards include one en route stopover or open jaw as shown below.
Backtracking is not permitted. Example: Flying New York to Boston, then to Miami.
When the itinerary requires the crossing of one award region to reach another, the higher of the two award levels will be applied.
US Airways is the final authority on eligible award travel routes.

En route stopovers
Not permitted when booking online, when travel is within a single award region, or when the itinerary includes an open jaw.
All other awards for travel between award regions allow one en route stopover in a connection city as part of the outbound or return trip.
Star Alliance Round-the World awards permit five en route bstopovers in a forward direction toward the original departure city.

Basically if you get a routing through a USAir hub you can stopover otherwise you can't!

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