Last week I wrote about a frequent flyer program’s fraud department gone off the rails.
Air France KLM’s Flying Blue — an American Express and Citibank transfer partner — informed an award booking client that their award booking to Europe had been cancelled, their account suspended, and miles confiscated. They were accused of purchasing miles from a broker which is false. They transferred their American Express points into their newly-opened frequent flyer account. American Express no longer even permits transfers into accounts with names that don’t match the credit card holder’s..
This person is hardly alone. It seems that Flying Blue’s fraud prevention folks have really ramped up, and are taking harsh action against perfectly legitimate users of points transfers.
Reader Mike wrote,
My [Air France KLM Flying Blue] account was shut down two weeks ago and I never did anything wrong! I transferred my [American Express Membership Rewards points] to MY [Flying Blue] account and booked a ticket for a close friend of mine (I have proof that he is very close with me) and one morning I woke up to an email that the miles come from a mileage broker and that the tickets were cancelled and the account suspended
In back and forth, the Flying Blue fraud staffer stated:
[T]he use of our frequent flyer accounts as boxes opened to transfer miles with our non air partners won’t be allowed anymore .
He claims they will not permit transferring points into Flying Blue from a bank partner for the sole purpose of booking an award.
Except this is the exact thing that American Express and Citibank tell their cardmembers to do!
I’m reaching out to Citi and American Express for comment. Developing…