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(NJ.com)   Lawsuit claims that the United Airlines frequent-flyer rewards program was rigged. In other news - There are people who fly more than once on United   (nj.com ) divider line
    More: Fail, United Airlines, lawsuit claims, New Jersey, frequent flyer miles, rewards programs, reward website  
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1463 clicks; posted to Business » on 12 Oct 2013 at 9:14 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



22 Comments   (+0 »)
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2013-10-12 09:43:19 AM  
Mrs. Phamwaa piled up a bunch of points, but not enough for a flight. They have a merchandise catalog, but for whatever reason (maybe that United sucks) she couldn't use them there. So she ended up designating them for donation to a charity.

Did I say that United sucks?

United sucks.
 
2013-10-12 09:53:54 AM  
Frequent flyer programs are a ripoff. I've said so since they started them. Occasionally this has been affirmed in court.
 
2013-10-12 10:01:53 AM  
I dont think I have ever met someone that hasnt been screwed by a frequent flyer plan. Even their fine print has fine print.
 
2013-10-12 10:03:03 AM  

edmo: Frequent flyer programs are a ripoff. I've said so since they started them. Occasionally this has been affirmed in court.


They're good for business travelers, not so much for personal travel.
 
2013-10-12 10:07:57 AM  

edmo: Frequent flyer programs are a ripoff. I've said so since they started them. Occasionally this has been affirmed in court.


Well, I just got upgraded to first class for free all the way to San Juan.

* I can check several bags for free

* I get to fly standby for free

* I get to take a shorter lane through security.

I am having a hard time figuring out where I am getting screwed?
 
2013-10-12 10:22:37 AM  

edmo: Frequent flyer programs are a ripoff. I've said so since they started them. Occasionally this has been affirmed in court.


Maybe it strongly depends on the carrier/program. I love having status with BA. Double miles, two free checked bags, fast track security, priority boarding, priority upgrades, etc.
 
2013-10-12 10:37:31 AM  

mrmaster: edmo: Frequent flyer programs are a ripoff. I've said so since they started them. Occasionally this has been affirmed in court.

Well, I just got upgraded to first class for free all the way to San Juan.

* I can check several bags for free

* I get to fly standby for free

* I get to take a shorter lane through security.

I am having a hard time figuring out where I am getting screwed?


You forgot the priority boarding and lounge access for international travel. I like those.

These people deserve what they got.  Only an idiot would use FF miles for anything other than plane travel.  Which do you think the airline would give you the better value on, the plane they fly every day and need to fill all the seats or the hotel room they have to buy for you?
 
2013-10-12 10:39:21 AM  

balki1867: edmo: Frequent flyer programs are a ripoff. I've said so since they started them. Occasionally this has been affirmed in court.

They're good for business travelers, not so much for personal travel.


I've always considered frequent flyer programs only applicable to business travel, unless someone was wealthy to the point that a free trip was meaningless you wouldn't be flying enough to make miles. Business travelers though it would make sense since most people I know use the miles from business to (help) pay for a vacation. I still feel the comps are better than the actual miles, and it's not like they are charging you for the miles. Basically a buy 9 coffees and get the 10th free card.
 
2013-10-12 11:27:20 AM  
United sucks donkey balls.
 
2013-10-12 12:14:16 PM  

balki1867: edmo: Frequent flyer programs are a ripoff. I've said so since they started them. Occasionally this has been affirmed in court.

They're good for business travelers, not so much for personal travel.


I can't agree. With an airline credit card and careful miles management, I've had at least 10 business class (and a few first class) trips to Europe in the past 6-7 years, all for personal travel. Some of them were free (with miles), others were miles upgrades and cost me a fraction of the cash price for the same ticket. None of it was business-related (I have very rarely ever traveled for business).

That said, there is a possible explanation for what happened to these two people. If you get far enough into the booking process, the computers will have put a temporary hold on the room or flight. If you stop the booking, it may take 15-30 minutes for the room to be freed up again for other bookings. In the meantime, there was only one such booking available at that price, so the friend (who tried booking minutes later) got the next most expensive option.

Also, using miles for hotel rooms is often a poor choice. I get the most value for my miles by using them for something expensive I would never pay for with cash.
 
2013-10-12 01:00:39 PM  
The suit said Gordon then called United, but was told the airline uses an algorithm that modifies the number miles needed for an award, depending on the number of miles the person has. They claim United was deceptive in not disclosing this alleged practice, and are seeking a class-action status for their lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday.
In a statement, a United spokeswoman said, "We believe this suit is without merit both factually and legally."
According to United website, the MileagePlus awards program for hotels and car rentals are subject to several rules including: "Certain Members may receive preferential pricing. Pricing is subject to change without notice."

When will folks learn that corporate scrip only has value if the corporation chooses to accept it? Of course pricing changes without notice, and of course they're going to provide "preferential pricing" - sure, they won't tell you that the change may occur the millisecond you want to use your scrip, and sure, the "preference" is that they want you to give them money, but - you're the idiot who thinks that you're getting something for free, when all you're doing is driving up the prices for casual travelers. You're indirectly screwing others, and the corporation, in turn, is indirectly screwing you - it's the circle of capitalism.
 
2013-10-12 01:19:29 PM  
Geez, you can tell I haven't flown in almost a decade. United used to be the cheapest, most convenient, and most courteous game on the street.
 
2013-10-12 01:32:18 PM  

ImpendingCynic: balki1867: edmo: Frequent flyer programs are a ripoff. I've said so since they started them. Occasionally this has been affirmed in court.

They're good for business travelers, not so much for personal travel.

I can't agree. With an airline credit card and careful miles management, I've had at least 10 business class (and a few first class) trips to Europe in the past 6-7 years, all for personal travel. Some of them were free (with miles), others were miles upgrades and cost me a fraction of the cash price for the same ticket. None of it was business-related (I have very rarely ever traveled for business).

That said, there is a possible explanation for what happened to these two people. If you get far enough into the booking process, the computers will have put a temporary hold on the room or flight. If you stop the booking, it may take 15-30 minutes for the room to be freed up again for other bookings. In the meantime, there was only one such booking available at that price, so the friend (who tried booking minutes later) got the next most expensive option.

Also, using miles for hotel rooms is often a poor choice. I get the most value for my miles by using them for something expensive I would never pay for with cash.




How much did they charge you for each "free" trip?
 
2013-10-12 02:10:31 PM  

Lt_Ryan: I've always considered frequent flyer programs only applicable to business travel, unless someone was wealthy to the point that a free trip was meaningless you wouldn't be flying enough to make miles.


Yeah, I earn most of my miles from business travel, but you don't have to be THAT wealthy to earn a free trip as a single individual travelling for vacation. Perhaps you live in Atlanta and visit your family in San Diego. Do that trip four Christmases in a row and you've earned a free roundtrip anywhere in the US or Alaska. That's hardly wealthy to the point that a free trip is meaningless.
 
2013-10-12 02:33:17 PM  
they were in different rewards programs. the algorithm  doesn't have to be designed to get the customer the beat deal. surprise--it was designed to get the business the most profit. travel company algorithms want people to pull money out of their pocket and i say this one was damn good since it caught 2 people riding the fence.
 
2013-10-12 02:53:56 PM  
You mean a unit that has an arbitrary value or volume depending on the whim of the issuer has no real value?

sort of like bitcoin and the like.
 
2013-10-12 03:12:10 PM  

HempHead: ImpendingCynic: balki1867: edmo: Frequent flyer programs are a ripoff. I've said so since they started them. Occasionally this has been affirmed in court.

They're good for business travelers, not so much for personal travel.

I can't agree. With an airline credit card and careful miles management, I've had at least 10 business class (and a few first class) trips to Europe in the past 6-7 years, all for personal travel. Some of them were free (with miles), others were miles upgrades and cost me a fraction of the cash price for the same ticket. None of it was business-related (I have very rarely ever traveled for business).

That said, there is a possible explanation for what happened to these two people. If you get far enough into the booking process, the computers will have put a temporary hold on the room or flight. If you stop the booking, it may take 15-30 minutes for the room to be freed up again for other bookings. In the meantime, there was only one such booking available at that price, so the friend (who tried booking minutes later) got the next most expensive option.

Also, using miles for hotel rooms is often a poor choice. I get the most value for my miles by using them for something expensive I would never pay for with cash.

How much did they charge you for each "free" trip?


I use Southwest points, and I only pay the $2.50 per segment TSA fee. The United points I redeemed last year for Europe had about $100 in taxes & fees on them, all attributable to Europe's higher airport taxes.
 
2013-10-12 03:56:04 PM  

FormlessOne: According to United website, the MileagePlus awards program for hotels and car rentals are subject to several rules including: "Certain Members may receive preferential pricing. Pricing is subject to change without notice."


I saw that. I am not clear if that is enough notice or not as "pricing" is vague. Are they getting different pricing at the hotel or is the FF program translating that into different redemption levels? They are not the same thing. The lawsuit may have some merit.
 
2013-10-12 06:38:02 PM  

Lt_Ryan: I've always considered frequent flyer programs only applicable to business travel, unless someone was wealthy to the point that a free trip was meaningless you wouldn't be flying enough to make miles. Business travelers though it would make sense since most people I know use the miles from business to (help) pay for a vacation. I still feel the comps are better than the actual miles, and it's not like they are charging you for the miles. Basically a buy 9 coffees and get the 10th free card.


Airlines can't be profitable without business travelers.  So developing a program that keeps them coming back is just common sense.
 
2013-10-12 10:53:37 PM  
You can merge points from other Star Alliance airlines into your United milage account, subby. No one is stupid enough to fly United twice. No one.
 
2013-10-13 11:27:31 AM  
wait.. United Airlines is still in business?

videogamescene.com
 
2013-10-13 01:47:28 PM  
Three of us flew first class to England and back via United miles.  This was ten years ago so it was 100,000 miles each IIRC.  Lufthansa is a Star Alliance member.  One of the highlights of the trip was the actual flight.  Three course meal, slippers, roses by your seat.  Got a hotel in Edinburgh for a part of the trip via hotel points, too.

/yes, Mr Tech travels for business
//used to get Christmas cards from the Hilton chain
 
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