Court Says MileagePlus is Fraudulent, LOT Installs Mistletoe in Planes, and Other Things You Need to Know

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The problems right now withe frequent flier and point programs is they have exploded over the past 10-20 years. Back when they started they were a small thing, a few points here and there. Now consumers overall have little protections and the stakes are far greater. These now represent a real value to those who have high balances.

  2. Just to be clear, no court determined MileagePlus to be fraudalent, a single judge said so in his dissent of the rest of the judges, who ruled against the plaintiff.

  3. The dissenting opinion was all of what you stated above, not the ruling.

    Sincerely glad you’re not my lawyer.


  4. @robertw – They weren’t such good old days. There was a big lawsuit started back in 1986 (just 4 years in) when United did a big devaluation.

  5. Thanks Gary, I now know what the face of “I can’t believe the company is making me do this knowing full well it’s going to cause a bunch of drunk old geezers to think they have an invitation to make out with me” looks like…

  6. @Jake from MSP it’s not my claim that United suffered an adverse decision. @Kris I didn’t say MileagePlus was ‘determined’, rather there was a decision that ‘said’ — that language was on purpose.

  7. Gary,

    Take your lumps on this one. The dissent does not speak for or otherwise “say” anything for the court, nor is the dissent part of the holding.

    If I cited a dissent in an argument, I’d be laughed out of any tribunal.

  8. Gary,

    The title of your post says “Court Rules MileagePlus is Fraudulent” … I am not a legal expert by any means but my understanding is that a “court ruling” is a determination or decision.

  9. @Hua actually the title is “Court Says MileagePlus is Fraudulent..” I hit publish quickly and revised the title within one minute to be clearer, and so perhaps you’re looking at a cached RSS feed

  10. Gary –

    As a lawyer, I have to agree with all of the comments above.

    You are absolutely incorrect when you say in your headline: “Court says MileagePlus is Fraudulent,” and you should change it.

    You might want to take a peak at the Internet Law Treatise’s discussion of defamation:

    (I would cite directly to the Restatement (Second) of Torts, but I’m too lazy to type it).


  11. Folks, apologies if the tag I used for the link led people to think it was saying something that it was not.

    I was interested in the claim in the opinion using very strong language to describe United’s actions, not the outcome or judgment in the case.

    So seeing these terms in a published judicial opinion regarding United’s conduct was striking, and I was highlighting that rhetoric — just at all meaning to suggest that a court had DECIDED United was guilty of or liable for such reprehensible conduct.

  12. I’d caution against finding too much in what a dissenting jurist says – by their nature, dissents are non-precedential and jurists may treat them as an opportunity to make a declaration without penalty of being cited later. Not even William O. Douglas would have been so bat shit crazy to declare in a majority opinion that trees have standing, but given the opportunity to say such in his Sierra Club v. Morton dissent, he was happy to do so.

  13. @Gary, please note that, due to timing, I was writing #13 without benefit of your commentary in #12. All’s good and your comments are duly noted.

    And, at bottom, happy holidays.

  14. Well at 6:27PM CST, the title is still wrong and misleading. You literally have to change one word to make it correct: Court–>Judge.

    Regardless of what you meant, it’s still wrong at this time

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