American Airlines Verizon Miles Continued

26 August, 2011

As Rick over at Frugal Travel Guy likes to say… “glittergate” seems to have been getting resolved the same for everyone so far.  I received the letter about the 2,500 miles of goodwill and 2,500 additional miles for a purchase before 24 September.  Here is the full text:

Dear Points Addict,

As you may be aware, certain Verizon Wireless accessories were displaying on the AAdvantage eShoppingTM mall with an incorrect offer of 83,871 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles on Wednesday, August 10, 2011.  This was the result of a Cartera Commerce, Inc. system error. We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused you, and will describe below the steps we are taking to remedy the situation

While the offer featured on the AAdvantage eShopping mall website gave a visual indication that online purchases of certain Verizon Wireless accessories would award 83,871 AAdvantage miles, this clearly was a mistake given the price of the item and the terms of the mileage offer for the purchase of new wireless service plans. Verizon’s Terms and Conditions for the offer clearly state that miles only can be earned on new wireless service plans, and not for accessories purchases.  The specific Terms & Conditions language – which was available on the offer details page – is as follows:

“Reward eligible for reward plans only (new service, family share, add a line, upgrade and prepay).  Reward is not eligible on accessories.”

In addition, the Terms and Conditions for the AAdvantage eShopping program, which apply to all purchases, also state that the conditions and restrictions imposed by the merchant define the requirements for a qualifying purchase and control your eligibility for AAdvantage miles.

While each of these Terms & Conditions relieve Cartera from an obligation to award AAdvantage miles for any accessory purchases which were incorrectly advertised as including a miles offer, we nevertheless realize this error may have encouraged you to buy an accessory you didn’t need or intend to keep.  We therefore would like to offer you the following AAdvantage bonus miles:

· We will automatically post 2,500 AAdvantage bonus miles to your AAdvantage account within the next 10 business days.

· You will earn an additional 2,500 AAdvantage bonus miles if you make a new purchase through the AAdvantage eShopping mall in the next 30 days* (in addition to any other mileage offer associated with that qualifying purchase).  AAdvantage bonus miles will be posted to your AAdvantage account within 45 days after the date the merchant notifies Cartera of a qualifying purchase.

If you have any additional questions about this matter, please contact us.  Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and look forward to your continued use of the AAdvantage eShopping mall to maximize your mileage earning.



As I know others will complain and hum and haw and threaten litigation, etc… I do not think that this is an unfair deal.  As per the terms and conditions… they do not have to do anything really but they decided to anyway.  I think there is something to be said for that.

So of course now the question is… what do I order through the AA Shopping Mall?  Since it takes nearly 8 months to receive credit for the transactions I may be waiting a very long time for this.


American Airlines changes Million Mile rules

24 August, 2011

Not that we did not know this was coming but the rules have finally changed (well not actually changed yet, but we know what the rules will be and how they will change).

From Milepoint:

Starting December 1, 2011, AAdvantage base miles earned by flying on American Airlines, American Eagle® or the AmericanConnection® carrier or any AAdvantage program participating airline will count towards Million Miler status. Before you get nervous about just BIS miles counting, for those of you who have the new Citi Executive(SM) / AAdvantage® World Elite(TM) MasterCard® credit card, as a limited time offer, one AAdvantage mile for every dollar spent on eligible purchases using this card will count toward Million Miler status. Bonus miles and additional miles earned through special offers will not count. The Citi Executive(SM) / AAdvantage® World Elite(TM) MasterCard® credit card account must be open and in good standing by December 1, 2011, and miles must post to billing statements through December 2012. Realize that this makes American Airlines the only major US airline to provide a significant non-flight way to achieve Million Miler status. And one of the few to allow Million Miler miles accrual on participating airlines.
Here are the benefits at each Million Miler threshold:

  • At 1,000,000 Million Miler miles, AAdvantage members will receive lifetime AAdvantage Gold® status and 35,000 AAdvantage bonus miles (which, as you know, can be exchanged for eight 500-mile upgrades if that’s what you prefer)
  • At 2,000,000 Million Miler miles, AAdvantage members will receive lifetime AAdvantage Platinum status and four one-way systemwide upgrades
  • At each additional Million Miler mile mark, AAdvantage members will receive four additional one-way systemwide upgrades

You might be wondering about the AAdvantage miles you’ve earned so far. The good news is that when the Million Miler program launches on December 1, your starting Million Miler balance will include every AAdvantage mile you’ve ever earned since joining the program. And any Million Miler status or benefits you’ve earned so far remain as well.
When you log into your AAdvantage account on on and after December 1, you’ll see your Million Miler balance separate from your award miles, so you can easily track your progress toward these mileage milestones.
For more information you can visit or ask any questions you may have right here.
Thank you for your continued loyalty, and we look forward to seeing you on board soon.

Maya Leibman
President – AAdvantage Loyalty Program

Now before we all get into the complaining about how it isn’t as easy as it used to be and how the million mile rewards have not really changed much and how United offers Premier Executive to 1 million mile holders, etc…, we do need to remember a few things.

First, airlines don’t have to have any lifetime anything.  Second, it is called ELITE for a reason.  Also it is a frequent FLYER programme not a frequent point collector programme.  It is not supposed to be easy.  If it was easy, there would be no value in it.  Randy Petersen made a good point on this when he said that elites don’t like competition.  Think about it, if you earned platinum every year would you really like it if someone with a ton of Mastercard bonuses got the same perks you did even though he only flew twice every six years?  Of course you wouldn’t.  Randy also made a good point about how the relative ease of achieving the lifetime gold and lifetime platinum devalued the elite programme.  I think he has a good point on this.  While in my case, I did specifically pick American because of this million mile perk, and I am sad that it is gone; I am not going to abandon them because of it.  They are my primary airline and I see no reason to change that.

Recent Priority Club Surprise

23 August, 2011

Lucky over at One Mile at a Time has offered some interesting ideas on a recent Priority Club mistake.  Over the weekend various people including Lucky (and including myself) received 60,000 points for Crack the Case Visa Activation.  Unfortunately, I never applied for, nor activated a PC Visa.  Obviously I am totally okay with getting extra points but I did not really think about it much at the time I just noticed it and that was all.

Yesterday morning, I noticed that the points were gone.  I assumed that PC simply corrected the mistake they made.  In my PC account there was no negative transaction but I cannot see any other reason they would have deducted them.  I do not have a problem with this since I never really earned them in the first place.

Apparently though, others who received these points, used them for rewards and now have negative balances.  Lucky is torn a bit over whether these should be honoured or not.  I am not so torn on it.  I would be shocked if PC honours them nor do I think PC should honour them.  While I will not go so far to say that the people who spent them did them as a means to use something they knew they did not earn (it is possible that some people overlooked it). 

I do however thing that with all of the mistakes in miles awarded (or not awarded) for Verizon Headphones, and such, that we have lost a simple concept.  This concept is of common sense and of responsibility as a customer or client.  Yes I do realise that mistakes do happen and sometimes people are awarded miles or points in disproportionate amounts for relatively little spending on their part, but this is not something we should expect to happen.

In the Verizon “GlitterGate” case, unless there is evidence of Verizon or Cartera deliberately inflating the mile number in order to drive sales (and if this happened I am not sure it would have been to their advantage because of all the returns which would happen when the miles were not honoured) we should assume that it was an innocent mistake.  As a mistake, we should not get worked up too much when the mistake is fixed and the unearned windfall is not awarded.  This seems to be common sense to me.

In the case of the PC points.  I am thinking that people would have known that being awarded points for something they never did would qualify as a mistake.  Going on to use those points anyway seems to be not just a little dishonest in my opinion.   Now arguments can be made that the award was confirmed, etc… but if the points used to confirm the award were not really belonging to the person using them, this argument is void.

Through my short time in the miles game I have noticed that many many people are trying to earn more miles or be more efficient with how they earn them.  However, there also seems to be a rather vocal minority who are determined to get something for nothing and when the mistake they tried to take advantage of gets fixed, these people feel entitled to the mistake total anyway.  I mentioned in the milepoint forum about this already and I will repeat it here.  This type of behaviour gives us all a bad name.  We win some we lose some but get over it when it doesn’t work and don’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

I am very eager to hear your opinions about this.

Travelling Tools

23 August, 2011

Something I generally use quite a bit while travelling is a service called DropBox.  I have this installed on my computer, my blackberry and even my itouch (even though I rarely use it there).  Essentially, it is a file storage system which syncs across every machine you install it on.

After you sign up for the service you receive 2 gb for free and there are also paid accounts which offer 50 gb and 100 gb.  I am sure if you need even more than this, they probably have some sort of paid arrangement.

In my case I just signed up for the free version.  I find the service useful for accessing files I do not want to store on my blackberry but which I might potentially use from time to time.  Also it is good for students because it is a space which can be used to store copies of passports, visas, tickets, etc… so that they can be replaced more easily if a problem ever arises.

After signing up for the service, you can earn additional space by referring people to the service (full disclosure, if you use the link to Dropbox on my site, I will receive the referral credit).  You can earn 256 mb for each referral up to a maximum of 8 gb.  If you are a student you can earn 500 mb per referral up to 16 gb extra.

Upgrades and Service Members

20 August, 2011

I posted this in Milepoint to see if there was any type of interest from others in this type of an idea.  The AAdvantage representative had asked about ideas for promotions and such.  I made a suggestion about either earning or being able to donate systemwide and 500 mile upgrades to AA in order for these upgrades to be provided to service members returning home.

These people risk their lives for us and even though upgrades are not much in the grand scheme of things, I do believe that if there is a way to make sure at least some of them are able to return home in a bit more comfort than coach… we should definitely explore this option.

What do you all think about this idea?  Would you support it or participate in it?

Frequent Flyer

19 August, 2011

Once again this is not exactly new but I am not sure how many people may have seen it or not.  There is a short movie called Frequent Flyer.  For those who are into miles, none of this information is new but it is an interesting film about what we all do.

AAdvantage and FTD

19 August, 2011

This one has been around for a bit but for those who have not seen it yet… FTD has its own promotion for its 101st birthday.  You can get 15 miles per dollar spent plus 101 bonus miles.  For elites, it is 15 miles per dollar and 301 bonus miles.

GlitterGate (AKA AA Miles for Verizon Mistake)

17 August, 2011

I must admit I did not come up with this name, I stole it (while giving credit) from Rick over at the Frugal Travel Guy.  I am not sure it should be glittergate though… since the glittery things were only one option… it began with headphones and also included palm charging stations amongst other things.  So maybe mileage mall gate…

Terminology aside for a moment, AA is backing away from it all (also stolen from Rick, but linked here).  Not that this is a shock.  I know Rick thinks that AA will suffer for this in bad PR, and their online shopping lost his business but I think he may be a bit too harsh here.  First of all, it is not clear that this error was intentional.  I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be one, but from that I have seen and read, there is nothing to believe it was an intentional ploy to drive sales.  As a result I do not think it is fair to totally exclude them from future business because of this.  If Cartera had reneged on a non mistake miles award, I would find that to be much more reason to huff and puff and blow their house down.  This however was not the case… they reneged on an offer which we all knew was a mistake but we could not give up the idea of possibly getting miles out of it.  Sometimes these mistakes are honoured so it was not a bad idea to jump on.

Now that it is over however, and now that it is clear that the parties involved know it was a mistake, and there was an offer made for some miles.  On top of this… we can return the items for a full refund.  MOVE ON TO THE NEXT DEAL!!

The longer we dwell on this the more greedy we seem and the less of a chance conditions will be favourable for another great deal to happen.  As one deal ends another one opens… but pigs get slaughtered.

500 Free Priority Club Points

17 August, 2011

Priority Club is offering 500 bonus points for enrolling in their Rewards on the go service which is essentially a bunch of travel deals sent by sms message instead of by email.  In order to get the points you need to sign up, register a visa card and that is all.

More Verizon Miles Shopping Mistakes? Now it is with Delta

14 August, 2011

Well this seems to be the story (or the mistake saga) that won’t end.  Instead of 83,000 miles for a pair of headphones like the AA version, now it is 2,300 Delta miles for a $5 phone charger.  Gary over at A View from the Wing is covering this in much more depth than I will be but it is interesting to see what will happen with it all.  In addition to Gary, the Points Guy has his own commentary on it.  I am not really a huge Delta flyer so I am not going to hop on for the miles even if it is only $5 or so to get in on it.

As I do find it interesting that it is 2,300 miles offered after some people from the AA mistake supposedly received an email offering 2,500 miles as a consolation.  To date I have not received any email at all about this from Cartera so I really do not know if it is even true.  Gary had discussed a few days ago about the level of trust in mileage shopping malls.  Since it is not always immediately clear who is providing the miles, the vendor, the mileage shopping manager or the airline directly.  Also, the impression given either intentionally or not is that the offers are made by the airline.

He goes on further to address the issue of which offers can really be trusted and which ones cannot be.  Especially after Cartera seemed to give the impression that they are not really obligated to give miles for anything according to their terms and conditions.  While this is likely there to protect themselves from unintentional mistakes, it could be used to justify a deliberate posting of high mileage offers only to later deny them as an effort to increase sales.  I am not saying that this is definitely what happened but it is a possibility worth thinking about.  The fact that Cartera is quite slow/stingy with posting miles (if they even post at all) even when it is only $1 or $3 per mile through their toolbar or their shopping links does not really inspire confidence in the offers they make.  In contrast, I must say that every promotion or mileage offer I ever received through AA directly has always been honoured and been honoured rather quickly.

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