Delta Airlines Pay with Miles is deceptive marketing!

Old Mar 6th, 2009, 08:34 AM
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Delta Airlines Pay with Miles is deceptive marketing!

As you know, Delta is heavily marketing its Pay with Miles function on its web site, to its customers, and everywhere.

It is a deceptive marketing practice in which if you use the feature and have to cancel your ticket, you will lose the miles you have invested in the ticket -- and here's the really amazing part -- you will end up paying much more to re-use that ticket if you simply paid cash for the ticket in the first place.

I bought my daughter and granddaughter tickets to visit me (Sacramento to Salt Lake). The rack rate of each ticket was $285. I could have used 25,000 Award Miles to purchase each ticket (which would have been redeposited with no charge if the ticket was cancelled). Instead I decided to try Delta's new Pay with Miles feature. I paid $86 per ticket and used 20,000 miles per ticket.

My daughter and granddaughter had to cancel their trip.

Delta informs me that
I lose the $85 per ticket.
I lose the miles ... they are not re-deposited.
They send me a travel voucher for $135 per ticket, because there is a $150 change fee per ticket.
So, please, people know that if you use Pay for Miles, and have to cancel, you will lose your miles and have to pay more to re-use the ticket than if you had simply bought the ticket with cash.

This is an extremely deceptive marketing practice, and I've spent over 3 hours trying to talk to Delta about it... talked to 7 people ... all underlings who couldn't care less.

In this economy, big businesses who screw over their customers have got to be called on it.
john_and_judy is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2009, 01:31 PM
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This is from their website:

Except for tickets refunded under Delta's Risk Free Cancellation policy, miles redeemed with Pay with Miles cannot be re-deposited in the member's SkyMiles Account - even for fully refundable fares. In the event of a ticket being reissued, any residual dollar value between the original price of the ticket purchased using full or partial Pay with Miles and the reissued ticket price, can only be returned as a non refundable e-credit valid for future transportation. E-credit will be valid for 1 year from original Pay with Miles ticket issue date. Residual e-credit value will follow current Delta e-Credit rules and will not be applicable on non-transportation fees. Pay with Miles unused tickets can be used as an e-Credit when it is a primary exchange document. All Pay with Miles terms and conditions will apply to any ticket purchased using an unused Pay with Miles ticket.

In the event of a refund (including fully refundable fares), only the paid portion of a refundable fare will be credited back to the credit card, the Pay with Miles portion of the fare will be returned as non-refundable credit equivalent to the dollar value of the portion of the ticket redeemed with Pay with Miles. Credit may be used to purchase future travel and Pay with Miles terms and conditions will not apply to such tickets.

In the event of a valid ticket cancellation under Delta's Risk Free Cancellation policy, Pay with Miles portion of the fare will be redeposited into the member's SkyMiles account and the paid portion of the fare will be credited back to the credit card.

Any miles you use will be automatically and permanently deducted from your SkyMiles account at the time of the redemption. Except for mileage accrual, upgrades, and form of refund for refundable fares, all other fare rules for the ticket purchased apply. All SkyMiles program rules apply. To review the rules, please visit Membership Guide & Program Rules.

It's not going to help you now, but ALWAYS read the fine print BEFORE making reservations, etc. Looking at the terms for the Pay with Miles deal, it seems to be a good deal if you need to travel during blackout dates only. Otherwise, you're better off waiting to use your award miles.
toedtoes is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2009, 04:45 PM
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Please note that john_and_judy's only other post was a solicitation for an Hawaiian resort.

toedtoes showed what all experienced travelers should do, figure out any gotcha's before they book.

There is no substitution for doing your own research before you start spouting off and complaining. All Fodors Forums is, is a place where people can spout off.

It probably took toedtoes < 10 minutes to find this clause. Time well spent.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2009, 06:12 PM
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It is too bad your family had to cancel -- but you simply cannot call it deceptive marketing. Delta did absolutely nothing that wasn't specifically spelled out in their term and conditions.

A better title might have been -- "Using Delta's Pay w/ Miles? Be sure to read all the rules first."
janisj is online now  
Old May 21st, 2011, 10:12 PM
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Even if they only write something in the small print it can still be deceptive marketing. It is not usually illegal, because of the terms and conditions, but can be deceptive. In this situation I wouldn't consider this 'very deceptive', because in most cases (over 50%), people don't cancel their tickets. In that case cheaper fares (possibly) and mileage accrual may make this worthwhile. It's unfortunate that mileage can't be refunded, and I agree it is stinky to give you expiring vouchers, especially if the cancellation is delta's fault. This would seem like a legal grey area to me, but maybe they can do this because you paid with virtual currency, protected only by breach of the relevant contract set forth by DAL. It makes perfect sense that they wouldn't refund in cash if the traveler never paid cash in the 1st place. However, with all promotions like this, one should always read T&C's, but this is often tedious, as they are lengthy.

2 major criticisms I have:

1. They should not have vouchers expire after 1 year. There is absolutely no reason for this except that they want to make money off unfortunate passengers.

2.There is not a very logical reason why not to redeposit miles into the user's account, as is done with award tickets. They should, I feel allow you to choose between either a voucher (e-credit) or mileage redeposition
Paul_Jalink is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2011, 06:10 AM
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Do all the miles programs they ALL have fine print that

limits their utility in many situations...

Easy for the clueless to get scammed unless they do

careful research.

Still carefully getting using like 500000 FF miles in the

last couple of years mainyl opening and closing fee free CCs

including Delta have gotten GREAT deales including 6

free RT international flights and most recently for me

a month ago 1000euro/nt Grand Canal Suite at the free(40000 skymiles/nt)

So THANK YOU DELTA! AAdvantage and Venture CCs

awesome FF deals right now my most recent snags.

My motto is be nimble be quick use em or lose em.

Many folks hoard them and they expire.

CCs also incur fees after the first year pay off quickly

and move on...

Can think of no resone EVER to "redeposit" miles.
qwovadis is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2011, 06:19 AM
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Pay wih miles IS always a scam always better to use miles

or simply buy the cheapest ticket and accumulate more miles.
qwovadis is offline  
Old Jun 2nd, 2011, 08:54 AM
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It is a bit deceptive, but only as deceptive as what many, many other companies do also.

We really should read the terms and conditions, granted most of us don't and that's a mistake. They're there for us to read - though I think many companies bank on the fact that we probably won't bother!

Sorry about what happened though, lifes a ***** sometimes isn't it?
Amy26 is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2011, 11:34 AM
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One other point. Unless one has Diamond or Platinum Medallion status, if costs $150.00 to re-deposit miles if you cancel a regular award ticket. Not exactly "free" as the OP stated.

I used the pay with miles feature to fly my son, daughter-in-law and grandson from Chicago to Pensacola for considerably fewer miles than going the awards route would have cost. In addition, I was able to book them on one-stop flights (seems everything into here has to stop in Atlanta) at more reasonable hours of the day than I could get going the regular awards route. However, I made darn sure that my son had already scheduled his time off from work and waited as long as I dared to still get the best price, before booking. With the Skymiles I saved I can get my grandson down here again. His mom and dad can pay their own way next time. ;-)
Floridafran is offline  
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