Last month I wrote about how airlines combat fraudulent tickets and what airlines look for to crack down on the sale of miles.
And in perhaps one of the most important posts I’ve ever written on the blog, What To Do If Your Frequent Flyer Account Gets Audited.
Selling award tickets, tricking their systems to generate miles you don’t deserve, and sometimes ‘abusing’ the programs completely within their rules can draw extra attention to your frequent flyer account.
Over the past several years American and United have probably been the most active in policing accounts. Occasionally US Airways has frozen accounts but after a month-long review period has generally been open to reasonable argument and restored miles. IHG Rewards Club has shut down tons of accounts for bonuses earned. Historically Delta’s “Revenue Protection Unit” (RPU) was very active.
Most of the time, though, programs play it pretty conservative — by the time they go after you it’s because they already have substantial evidence of wrongdoing. And they only pull the trigger on shutting down an account, or even making their investigation public, when they’ve got you dead to rights.
I’ve rarely heard stories of accounts being suspended unfairly. Whenever those stories have surfaced, initial details shared will usually point in that direction but when the whole story comes out there’s almost always the sale of miles, or some kind of fraud against the program. It’s almost universal, people share stories in the best possible light to themselves, and only with limited information. But in the end I’ve rarely seen the airline or hotel program truly in the wrong.
I’m hearing stories of one rogue employee at a major airline, who seems to get it wrong and who won’t let go.
One of my readers who had dealt with this person, and who was getting absolutely nowhere, has escalated things with a lawyer and is now dealing with the airline’s legal department.
This reader is a multi-million miler with the airline, buys paid premium class tickets, and uses the airline’s co-brand credit card. And while there was some unusual account activity, it appears innocent, and it also doesn’t appear that the airline was hurt by it or the member benefited from it at all. The allegations made, as well, are almost incoherent. They do not make logical sense. And when rebutted, new allegations which make equally little sense surface.
I’m interested in hearing from readers who may have had a similar experience recently with a frequent flyer program. Please, be candid and honest or leave out your story if you did indeed do anything remotely against a program’s rules. I’m interested in hearing from people who really did nothing wrong and had their account suspended or closed anyway.
Please share your story!