From Gary over at View from the Wing: As you know American and JAL are partners in the OneWorld Alliance. Between now and 1 November, 2011, American is offering a 50% discount on flights to Tokyo Haneda from San Francisco and to Tokyo Narita from Vancouver. This only applies to non-stop flights however. In addition there is a double miles promotion for some code share flights on JAL.
In the past year we have seen a number of mileage earning options disappear.
First it was Chase ending their
gravy train promotion of 25,000 Continental Miles with the opening of a bank account and using their Continental debit card.
Then later this year Chase announced that it was ending the Continental Debit Card programme, along with the United Mileage Plus Debit Card programme.
More recently Citibank has decided to end their AAdvantage Debit Card programme.
The underlying reasons for the discontinuation are not the focus of this discussion, that can be addressed another time. The topic I am trying to get across is that while credit cards will likely continue to earn miles for years to come, what about people who don’t have credit for various reasons (bad credit, no credit history at all, newcomers to the country, etc…)? The debit cards and bank account bonuses provided a means for mileage earning which has now disappeared. Yes there are mileage shopping malls and dining programmes and surveys for miles but the cards were arguably one of the most convenient ways to earn the miles we all wanted. I am curious about thoughts others have on this and if they see other possibilities to take the place of debit cards sometime in the future?
As you may remember, back in August, there was an offer for 80,000 miles or so for purchases from Verizon Wireless which was not honoured in the end. Cartera Commerce (the ones who run the shopping portal) offered the people who tried to use the offer 2,500 miles for their trouble and then another 2,500 miles for a purchase through the shopping portal within 30 days. As you probably know, this offer generated a new round of humming and hawing from those who wanted something better. I am not going to touch on the issue of whether or not the offer was sufficient since I think that has been settled, I do however wish to give an update about how the offer panned out.
Given the fact that I have almost always had great problems with mile posting (or purchases even being recognised for that matter) with the AA shopping portal, I was shocked to find that… the second 2,500 posted. I did not need to email them or anything. In fact, they posted a few days before I received the email notification from them. Needless to say I am rather impressed. It does not change the fact that I am still unhappy that many of my purchases and yahoo searches have still not posted nearly 10 months after the fact in some cases, but for this brief moment I am rather happy with them for doing as they promised they would.
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.
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).
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 AA.com 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 http://bit.ly/aadvmillion 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.
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.
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?
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.
So there has been this discussion about the glitter holders, the headphones and the Palm chargers which were being sold by Verizon Wireless though the AA Shopping Portal. I am not sure what they advertise with normally for the miles per dollar but yesterday they were linked to 83,000 miles. Now this was almost certainly a mistake, I cannot see any reasonable way someone can claim that it was intentional.
So over at FlyerTalk there were people buying loads of this stuff hoping to get millions of miles for it. Yes I will admit I jumped on the bandwagon and got the headphones. Yes they cost more than on Amazon but unlike the palm chargers, etc… I will actually use them so if I get the miles great… if not I still have some headphones I would have used anyway. Granted if there wasn’t the even slight possibility this would be honoured I would have definitely gotten them at a lower price. The headphones will arrive tomorrow through free 2 day Federal Express delivery but the miles will take weeks, if they show up at all. Anyone else go for it and see what they could get or am I way too focused on miles with everything and just spent too much for some headphones?