United Airlines: Sorry, Your 200,000 Frequent Flier Miles Have Expired

Ouch this one really hurts.

I have been accumulating miles in my Mileage Plus account for 10+ years and had over 200,000.

Recently, Mileage Plus adopted new rules that allowed expiration with greater than 18 months of non-activity. I was unaware of this new policy.

Last month, I received an email from Mileage Plus to inform me that my 214,006 miles had expired and were removed from my account.

When I called customer service they were completely unhelpful. I explained to them that I receive at least 3 emails from Mileage Plus EVERY MONTH, including my monthly statement, but I received no warning from them that my miles were in danger of expiring. They just robotically chanted that Mileage Plus had no responsibility to notify me of the imminent expiration.

There are two options that Mileage Plus offers to restore these miles:

1) I can buy them back for 1.25 cents per mile…..this would cost approximately $2675.

2) I can pay $199 to enroll in a program that will restore the miles after I purchase and fly a new roundtrip fare with United before June 08……..this is the only palatable option that I will be forced to accept.

So, the bottom line is that Mileage Plus took 214,000 miles (worth more than $2500) from me without reasonable notification and will only return them after extorting $199 from me and forcing me to buy yet another roundtrip ticket from them.

Can anyone there help me to get these miles back without the humiliation of paying for what is already rightfully mine?

GBTadewaldt
Yreka, California

We have no idea what United is going to say, but we’d suggest trying an EECB (executive email carpet bomb) on them. Anyone familiar with United’s flexibility on this issue? Can they waive the fee?

For more information about how to learn to launch a EECB, click here.

(Photo:balmes)

Comments

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  1. jamesdenver says:

    That sucks even too much to bitch about the customer being aware of the plan…

    FYI You don’t have to FLY to keep your miles account active. It sucks that we have to be so vigilant open it – but with UAL (my plan) I can shop at Safeway, shop online, go to certain restaurants, all which accumulate miles and keep your account active. And my month UAL credit card.

    Every in a plan with that many miles should be doing this – or better yet USING them…

    As soon as my other half and I reach 80k each we’re off so Australia. Screw saving them up…

  2. harshmellow says:

    This is definitely a problem with miles and points programs. I have lost some (not NEAR 200K) due to the same expiration–18 months of no activity. That was a hotel chain. On the other hand, I did receive a letter from Hilton Hhonors that told me I was about to lose 275K points I had accumulated. It was for the same reason–no activity over a certain period of time. They gave me the deadline in the letter, so I called them to find out what I could do. I had to buy a few points to reset my “activity.” So, I bought 1000 points for like $12.50 and saved my points.

    Sorry I don’t have any advice other than BE CAREFUL because your points/miles will expire.

  3. El_Guapo says:

    Christ, United sounds like the mob.

    “For a fee, me and my associates will restore what is rightfully yours. Or we can light them on fire right in front of you.”

    Wish I could help. Good luck.

  4. benwellington says:

    I had the same thing happen. I won’t fly them any more.

  5. b-real says:

    Isn’t the mileage expiration date listed in the online account summary? I know it definitely is for American AAdvantage. If so, I think you’re out $200 for option 2. Best way of keeping your miles safe: get a branded credit card, b/c whenever miles are deposited into your account (monthly), your expiration date changes.

  6. NightSteel says:

    Ouch.

    I’m no expert, but don’t you sign an agreement when you start the program? Did the agreement include ‘terms subject to change without notice’? Make them prove that you agreed to this change somewhere in writing.

    Of course, at this point, they may not care; it may take a lawyer to get them to sit up and take notice.

  7. bluebuilder says:

    I don’t understand this trend in companies (airline, hotel, telecom, etc.) to punish their longest most loyal customers by fucking them in the ass.

    How is this a cost saving strategy?

  8. bluebuilder says:

    Ya know what? we need some John Goodman from Big Lebowski brand of customer service ombudsman action to straighten these companies up.

  9. NightSteel says:

    @bluebuilder:

    They don’t use lube.

  10. Starfury says:

    This is why I DON’T have a miles card; instead I use my Amazon card and get gift certs for Amazon.

  11. b-real says:

    @bluebuilder:

    Airlines make the majority of their revenue on the premium seats (F and J classes). The OP in this story has been saving 200,000 miles over 10 years. He may be a long term customer, but in the grand scheme of things, his business is relatively unimportant.

  12. hwyengr says:

    I’m not playing ‘blame the victim’, but I got plenty of notification from United about the 18-month policy change. Also, when you check your statement, it tells you the date that the miles will expire.

  13. bluebuilder says:

    @NightSteel: You just made baby jesus cry.

  14. forever_knight says:

    @bluebuilder: this person is obviously not their most loyal customer. why else would they have not accumulated any miles in the past 18 months? flying a competitor maybe??

    expiration date of miles/points etc is annoying but part of the system. stay vigiliant or better yet, USE YOUR MILES OR LOSE THEM!

  15. starrion says:

    American expired 26000 of my miles, I was able to donate 500 miles to an in-house charity that flies troops home. That generated activity and restored 25500 miles to my account. Find out if United has a similar policy.

  16. jamesdenver says:

    I’m curious why people sit on them so long… In the years it took to save them up you wouldn’t have wanted to GO SOMEWHERE?

    Of course I wouldn’t cash mine in for a $150 RT to O’hare, but 200k miles is almost 4 people to Europe. What are you waiting for?

  17. billbillbillbill says:

    Not much sympathy from me. I got months worth of offers to get me to use some of my expiring delta miles.

  18. accessmemorex says:

    This is a problem that is not going to be resolved through the normal channels, I still recommend contacting there customer service devision one more time and escalating to a supervisor, also it may be time to pull the original contract and get legal, The one good thing you have is time, I would fight this to the bitter end and then if no other recourse is available take the 200$ trip, Also some information on this would be good, there is no way they could do this without breaking a few contracts so they must have some sort of incentive that was released to compensate the people they screwed over, (1)Escalate as high as you can using the original channels, (2)EECB, (3) Check the contract and information provided at the time they issued this for incentives, alternatives etc, (4)Take the offer, Use the time that you have effectively and don’t go for the 200$ option unless a last resort, Best of luck and yet another company to “Black List”

  19. Osi says:

    When I joined the Navy in 1996, I used Alaska Airlines. My plane fare to and from Alaska was via Alaska Airlines. I was allowed to use my mileage plan to rack-up the miles. I went to use them on October 2007, and AA claims the miles no longer exist.

    I keep all of the papers I receive from AA. Not one of them mention an expiration date. IMO, when AA advertises Air Miles, they are false advertising and need to be reported to the BBB for starters.

  20. NoWin says:

    ….no offense to the OP, but I received several mailings about some of my older UAL accumulated miles set to expire over the past year.

    In fact (if I recall) one mailing about a year ago extended the deadline a bit to end of 2007, so I find it hard to feel a lot of sympathy.

    Plead a healthy level of contrite innocence to an exec level at this point (and for god’s sake, remember the old adage of miles: Use ‘em or lose ‘em.)

  21. FatLynn says:

    Oh, please don’t EECB this. Save that for real problems.

  22. LynchMob1232 says:

    FYI….Miles continue to devalue over time as rewards become more costly. Anyone with a FF account should use their miles at the first possible chance unless you are saving up for a special vacation. I encourage everyone to read about all the FF programs at flyertalk.com. It is a really great forum to learn how to get the most out of your miles. BTW…the best use of miles is international upgades.

  23. bigboat says:

    Your best shot is to tell them if they waive the $195, you’ll schedule a roundtrip flight right then to restore the miles. There’s no way you should have to pay 200 bucks for the privilege of buying a ticket and restoring what you’ve earned. Give a little, they give a little. Just make sure you haggle with someone with the authority to help.

  24. yargrnhoj says:

    Sorry, no sympathy here — first, if you have an asset like 200,000 miles, you ought to pay attention to whether they are going to expire. Second, UA mentioned this in every statement for months after changing the policy. Third, it’s so easy to retain miles by dining out, or buying flowers, etc. Fourth, if you haven’t flown in 18 months, I don’t know why United should care — you are not a ‘frequent flyer’.

  25. TWSS says:

    The 18 month expiration policy is now more or less SOP in the travel industry, from what I’ve read. Sucks, yeah, but it’s clearly posted on your online miles statement.

  26. nweaver says:

    Guys, this was all over the news when it happened.

    And lets face it, frequent flier miles really are worth about $.01/mile or so.

  27. JustAGuy2 says:

    I certainly received multiple heads-ups about the expiration date from both United and American (and Delta too, I believe).

    I doubt the OP’s going to get much relief on this one. UA would only have the incentive to do so if they felt he was a customer worth having for the future. Since the OP hasn’t flown them for over 1.5 years, I doubt they’ll feel that way.

    Clearly, though, the OP should take the $199+flight option. Buy a $250 r/t somewhere, and you get 200k miles back for $450, which is well worth it.

  28. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    The same thing happened to me back in 1995 before it was SOP. I had about 100K Delta miles I wanted to use, but since I hadn’t flown in 18 months (apparently my purchases didn’t count back then), they were deleted. I was in college and had moved twice, so Delta claimed it was my fault I didn’t get to memo. Funny, my rewards statement and Delta/Visa Rewards bill came every month without fail, but no notification of the change could make it thru, hmmm?

    To this day, I refuse to fly Delta. They can suck a big fat egg.

  29. b-real says:

    @Shannara:

    Check your online statement at aa.com. The expiration is DEFINITELY there. If you lose those miles, that’s on you.

  30. lovelygirl says:

    That’s really unfortunate. What if the rules about how many months you can leave an account inactive weren’t written when the OP signed up? Then he should be grandfathered under that… Because he wasn’t aware when he signed up and he never received any information telling him otherwise. I would call customer service and demand to speak to a manager. And their manager. And their manager. Take it as high as you can, and tell them that you have been a loyal customer for years and you will not put up with this kind of disrespect. Tell them that you will call your local news station and expose them. Tell them that you wrote in to this website and are telling everyone you know about this injustice. If you have to, say that you are seriously considering legal action. Those things should scare them sufficiently. If not, get the BBB involved. Don’t hesitate to do so.

  31. bilge says:

    How much of a frequent flier can you really be if you don’t fly with them for 18 months?

  32. Ikaikaz says:

    Well, they did send out a notice last year. And it has been all over the news. You must have been in a cave. And I agree with Bilge. If they were that important you would have known.

  33. JustAGuy2 says:

    @lovelygirl:

    But he HASN’T been a loyal customer for years. He clearly was a pretty heavy customer at one time, but he hasn’t flown with them for at least a year and a half!

    He’s welcome to threaten legal action, but I’m sure United has heard that a number of times already.

  34. Eric says:

    I got a letter in the mail from United about this expiration policy. It pissed me off but I did hear about it first.

  35. holocron says:

    Yup..I just lost 4,996 from them too.

  36. fhic says:

    I got similarly screwed by American a couple of years ago. They were equally unhelpful. So this former AAdvantage Gold flyer hasn’t been on one of AA’s planes in two years. Sucks to be them.

    As far as United goes, my dad retired early from UA in 1981 after 38 years because he saw his much-beloved airline going down the tubes. In a way I’m glad he’s not around anymore to see how far they’ve fallen.

    I’m reminded of the old saying “it takes a years to get a customer and a second to lose one.” Apparently they no longer teach that in the airline biz.

  37. Mr. Cynical says:

    The best way to avoid this is to get one of the credit cards that earns United Points. Those count as “activity” and as long as you use that card once every 18 months (even if you have NOT flown ANYWHERE), you’re still OK.

  38. smarty says:

    United, AA, and Delta sent these notices a while ago. What’s really pathetic about this topic is this was news back in 2006 and repeated in early 2007.

    [www.frequentflier.com]
    [www.usatoday.com]

    Good to see the usual make up excuses for the OP.

  39. smarty says:

    In fact, I’m calling bullshit on the OP and Meg considering Meg informed us of this on January 22, 2007. Almost a full year ago.
    [consumerist.com]

  40. zippyzop says:

    I had a similar incident with United, albeit with only 14k miles. I got a thing in the mail in August saying “Buy magazines with your 14k miles because your miles expire on 9/1″ I said, what the hell, I never fly them anymore and 14k miles can’t get me shit. I went online to see if there were more things I could get with my miles, and logged on, and it said my miles expired on 7/1.
    I called “customer service” (quotes intentional) and told them this story and they confirmed my miles did expire. I asked them why they were telling me they were expiring on September then? Then I got transferred to the guy in Bangalore, who, after a bit of berating, gave me 3k miles to get me to shut up.

    Postscript: I got ANOTHER thing in the mail saying I should use my miles to get magazines because my miles were to expire on 1/1/08. I chose like 8 magazines (most of which I don’t care about – Conde Nast Business? Maxim? Ok, Maxim is purty) just to see what would happen. You know what. I’m getting the damn magazines!

  41. tallladude says:

    If you shop at Vons/Dominick’s/Tom Thumb/Randalls/Genuardi’s/Pavilions/Carrs/Safeway, register your MileagePlus account with your club card. For every $250 in groceries you spend, they’ll dump 125 miles in your account. I’d think most people would spend $250 in groceries every 18 months. That’s all it takes to keep it active.

  42. jamesdenver says:

    @tallladude:

    yup – and right now they have a promotions where 10 items from “eating right” brand nets you 500.

    it’s not that hard… if I’m buying something online I go to the UAL mileage plus mall. If they have the retailer I want I can get 1, 2, 3, 5 or sometimes 10 miles for every dollar spent.

  43. Techguy1138 says:

    I think an eecb is in order. At some point the op got 200k miles on the airline.

    These are designed to be a reward to customers who steer their flying to a certain airline.
    The point of the programs is to offer a small carrot to consumers so you don’t always need the lowest cut rate fare to get the customer. Stories like this will not make me less likely to fly AA, however it will not make me more likely to chose between them and another airline.

    If someone who is loyal enough to accumulate 200k miles gets the shaft I have no reason to think I wouldn’t get the same or worse. This post would have been an above and beyond if they restored his miles.

  44. kepler11 says:

    Stories like this are exactly why the airlines put the policies in place to begin with — to clear inactive miles off their books. 200,000 miles in the account, and not a thing being done with them for about 2 years — is the person still alive, disappeared, or what? It is clear the OP used to be a frequent flier, but is no longer — still he/she could’ve been more vigilant about the account. It takes only the addition or subtraction *of a single mile* to keep the account alive, and the OP didn’t manage to do that even.

    For all the people who say they’ll never fly so-and-so airline ever again, which other airline are you going to take your indignation to? Get over it, learn to succeed within their rules, and get on with life!

  45. gingerCE says:

    @Starfury: I too avoid mileage credit cards. I am someone who cannot accumulate over time but needs instant gratification so I too have an Amazon card and a BN card.

    I also have an AmEx card but get my rewards once a year–I hate waiting for rewards.

  46. coren says:

    @billbillbillbill: But these aren’t Delta miles, so who’s to say he got the same deal?

    @nweaver: .01 x 200,000+ is 2,000 dollars though. Sure the miles themselves aren’t worth a lot individually, but this guy has stacked up a ton.

    @smarty: Oh, so the assumption now is he either read Consumerist a year ago, or back read a year’s worth of articles? Just cuz it was posted here doesn’t mean he saw it.

    @kepler11: Well, since there’s what, a dozen? Not flying one specific one anymore isn’t going to stop you from flying. Or don’t fly period, you could always take a train.

  47. Snarkysnake says:

    Legacy carrier FF miles are fools gold. When the carriers started these things,they arguably made some sense as a way of building loyalty.Now that all of the major legacy carriers have recapitalized in Chapter 11, they don’t really need the “halo” that these programs used to provide. They have created literally billions of miles that are an ongoing liability for them. Thats why they have no intention of letting anyone fly “free” if they can help it.The number of award sets is strictly limited on nearly all flights and the number of miles required has been creeping up also…It’s not hard to foresee a day when a major just scraps their program altogether and claims that custoers really wanted “more amenities” ,”increased service” or some such self serving PR bullshit.(This day could be even closer if Delta manages to shack up with any of the two or three other carriers mentioned as possible partners).The whole thing looks like a giant iron claw machine,where you can clearly see the prize that you want and THEORETICALLY you have a chance at it,but the owner has made sure that you will spend more to get it than it could ever conceiveably be worth…

  48. chocxtc says:

    While I agree the OP dropped the ball on this one, it goes to a bigger problem and that is a lack of passenger rights with respect to the airline industry. The airlines have been slowing eroding our right as consumers and since travel options are limited for many reasons this has got to stop. When is enough, enough

  49. Dacker says:

    I’ve been a rather frequent business flyer and have considered United my “Preferred” airline for about the last eight-plus years including more than a handful of trips to Europe and the Pacific Rim, — but no more.

    I have four major reasons:

    1 – The new 18-month expiration policy.
    2 – The continually increasing annual fee for the United/Chase VISA card, on which I charged over $50K per year. I cancelled it 2 weeks ago.
    3 – The increases in the number of miles needed to get a ticket. It used to be 20K, now it is 25K or 40K.
    4 – The increasingly difficulty in actually using accumulated miles on trips to where I want, when I want to go.

    I’m exactly the kind of customer United cannot afford to lose; a business traveller who travels at least monthly and usually flies enough in a year to get at least Premier or Premier Executive status.

    Penny-wise and pound-foolish, UAL….

  50. MonsieurBon says:

    No sympathy! My United.com frequent flier account clearly shows when my miles will expire. Suck it up and learn from your mistakes.

  51. Chad Cloman says:

    I’m a United frequent flyer, and I -did- receive notice (some time ago) about the change in the plan. Maybe he just missed the email, or perhaps it was flagged as spam.

  52. qmsterling says:

    I received plenty of notification my miles were going to expire early this year as well…

    Even better, since I only had just under 15,000 flying miles accrued, United emailed me early last fall about a sale on frequent flier tickets: round-trip for 15,000 miles! So I bought the balance of miles needed for a 15k-mile ticket ($65), and flew a friend out for a weekend visit. So I got to use up my miles before they expired.

    It is not that hard to keep your frequent flier account active if you shop online: I have accounts with Northwest & Continental as well, and always go to the members area on their sites to link up to the mileage-earning mall. You certainly must have shopped at Barnes & Noble, Target, or Best Buy in the last year??? Do it online and earn some miles and keep the ones you have.

  53. RickScarf says:

    Kind of a sleezy idea, but you might let the execs know in your email carpet bomb that you would be happy to pay the $199 for a roundtrip ticket to a neighboring town and back to reactivate you miles, and that you will take every opportunity while waiting in lines at check-in, security, boarding waiting area, on the plane, etc. to let everyone know about the pointless trip you are taking and why you are taking it.

  54. davlee says:

    American Airlines did this to me a few years ago. They permanently lost a customer who regularly flies transatlantic and transpacific flights with his family of four to Northwest & its partners.

    NWA doesn’t do this so long as you have some account activity every three years.

  55. justaconsumer says:

    I avoid United at all costs. They have not been honest with their frequent flier program. First they raised it from 25,000 to 40,000 miles for nearly every route. Then they made sure you could not fly direct. I finally turned in my remaining miles for magazines. I always avoid United. Fly Frontier instead. 15,000 for a free ticket and they mean it. It really works. They will also refill your water.

  56. maztec says:

    In some states “points” given to you buy companies are grouped in with “gift certificates’ and can never expire. Check to see if you are protected by the laws of your state.

  57. silentluciditi says:

    While it sucks to have lost your miles, I kinda call BS on the lack of notification. I recall receiving multiple notifications from United (including in my monthly statements) about the new policy, as well as noting that they list a ‘Redeemable Miles Expiration Date’ on your mileage summary page. Blaming United for your own lack of upkeep and attention is rather lame.

  58. XTC46 says:

    I am a frequent flier member too and I got the notice. I just use the chase ff card and rack up points via that. I also have my Safeway club card linked so I am always accumulating miles.

    Why did you wait so long to use your miles? were you saving for a family vacation? 200k is easily 2 round trip first class tickets to hawaii, or some fun toys from their store. Or you could have sold them to others for cash.

  59. stinkingbob says:

    I don’t understand why the miles have to expire. You see, the data is stored on a computer and it takes up VERY VERY VERY little space. It is just 1 field which may occupy at most 4 bytes. This is nothing. UAL should be ashamed of themselves since it costs nothing to maintain the points. It is just sitting in the computer!

  60. Hello_Newman says:

    I’d take a chance and email the story to CNN, Fox, and the others on a Saturday night. Sunday is the slowest news day and they have some completely lame stories. If they pick it up you’re golden. National exposure of them mentioning it would almost certainly shame them into restoring the miles just to keep from looking bad.

  61. ajaytr says:

    This same thing happened to me with American Airlines. I called them up expecting some drama, however the phone rep was very helpful and restored all my points and said all I had to do was make a mileage donation (of 200 points) to one of their charities. Maybe you can tell them of American’s policy and say you’d boycott their services for AA?

    Good luck.

  62. brokeincollege says:

    This is why I still have my Asiana club membership even though I never fly with them anymore. You can accumulate miles on Asiana or any Star Alliance carrier (of which United is one), and the miles NEVER expire. NEVER. Ever. It’s in their FAQ. For elite status, 40k miles and 25k miles every 3 years for the first elite tier, 100k miles and 25k miles every 3 years for the second, and 1mil miles and perpetual membership for the third tier.

    That’s how a frequent flyer program SHOULD be run. They should spend those miles and investigate earning miles through a different airline’s program. But yeah, Mileage Plus sucks.

  63. brokeincollege says:

    But then Star Alliance was only founded 10 years ago, so I guess that wasn’t an option.

  64. I had the same problem a year ago but on a smaller scale. I had about 35,000 miles expire. At the time, I was shopping around for a travel rewards credit card anyway, so I called them up and got them to credit back my miles if I got their credit card. Not the dream solution, but 200,000 miles is worth about two transatlantic flights or a half dozen domestic flights… more than worth fighting for.

  65. mjgolds says:

    I have some sympathy for your situation, but the fact is I am a frequent flyer with

    Qantas (incl. British, JAL, Cathay, AA, FinnAir, Iberia, LAN, Malev, Royal Jordanian)

    Singapore Air (incl. Canada, China, Air NZ, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Silkair, BMI, SpanAir, South African, Shanghai, Scandinavian, Lufthansa, LOT Polish, Swiss, TAP Portugal, Thai, United, US Air)

    Emirates (incl. Sri Lankan)

    I have been travelling the world for 10 years now and on average travel around the world 4 times a year, I have never lost any FF miles, they always give plenty of notice on changes of terms.

    The fact of the matter is people hold on to their miles and for a company that is in financial trouble this represents a massiveliability (*2 million + FF’ers). I think Qantas in a 10 year old audit estimated some ridiculous liability in the hundreds of millions.

    Anyway long winded I know but heres my point, you may be able to transfer the points to another STAR alliance airline, do your research with these massive alliances these days you can join another companies FF program and still get the United points, but the T&C of said programs can differ greatly.

  66. Ms.Smith says:

    I recently lost 90,000 miles with American without notification. American used to do a regular mailing with miles expiration info but they stopped. They claim it’s up to the consumer to keep abreast of their miles. That’s fine but in my case, I had flown American only four months before they expired my miles!

    When I tried to get some satisfaction from customer service, I was stonewalled. They too offered me a way to buy back the miles — the total would’ve been around a thousand bucks to buy back miles I’d rightfully earned. Some of these miles were from first class travel, some were transferred over from TWA when American had purchased the airline. TWA miles never expired and American vowed to honor that policy. Obviously it’s not the only way they’ve screwed their customers.

    There are airline consumer advocacy groups trying to put forward legislation that would address some of this corporate piracy. I suggest you check them out, if you’re interested, including:
    Aviation Consumer Protection Division
    Aviation Consumer Action Project
    Public Citizens Congress Watch
    Consumers Federation of America
    Consumers Union

    and of course your state attorney general.

  67. 8510 says:

    I lost 40K miles due to the 18 months expiration but I did expect a courtesy notification email that this was going to happen. It is clear that United Airlines is reducing a huge consumer debt here and are showing no mercy. They have a huge data base and send newsletters by email so it isn’t beyond them to send expiry notifications be email.

    Because I am in Australia, the whole situation is hopeless. Ansett, which was the only regional airline in the Star Alliance, went belly up in 2001 so there has been no effective way to use or accumulate FF miles locally. The only way is a big flight from Australia to USA using United Airlines. The problem is that this long flight causes you to try and accumulate the horrendous amount of miles needed over prolonged periods (almost a lifetime). It’s a catch 22 and almost out of reach.

    Basically, UA and their FF program are particularly useless outside of the USA anyway. But that doesn’t mean to say that they aren’t inconsiderate SOBs given their poor management of the FF program these days.

    Just try and use your miles for a flight on UA when you want it and more often than not, you just can’t. It is particularly impossible with a family of four. So what’s the point? It is too hard. So now I just buy the cheapest tickets I can find on the internet and take advantage of specials that work out cheaper than worrying about “artificially free” flights from frequent flyer points. After all, FF points are really just like trailing commissions so why not take your commission up front before you fly? Then it doesn’t expire !!! And it can be used on any airline at any time. You can’t get better than that!

    The bottom line is that we all have the tools to make things better for ourselves without being locked into loyalty programs these days. We are all our own travel agents so just make life more cost effective in the first instance and find that discounted flight yourself.

    United Airlines can go and get *&^%$@ !!!

    I won’t be flying with UA again. I don’t have to. I don’t need to. I can get a better deal elsewhere. I am not locked into their worthless FF program any more and I don’t feel trapped by creating itineraries around UA flights because I feel like I have to have more FF miles! They have managed to rip me off so that is the end of them as far as I am concerned.

    I’m free, free, FREE !!!

    The Friendly Skies ? Yeh, sure!

  68. UmayWren says:

    I just found out my 51,000 UA expired when I went to book a mileage award. I was told by UA that they sent a letter 2 months ago which I never received. All I ever get from UA is credit card offers sometimes 3 times a week that I cannot get my name removed. But I was told if I could get any activity of a hotel or rental car before the miles were expired, I could get the miles back. None the less, I will never fly UA or their cronie partner US, another disaster in customer service. I will stick with NW, who treats me well and the elite program is the best in the business. Always get domestic upgrades once you hit the elite level. No need to earn segmants.

  69. dontflyunited says:

    I too found out that I had lost all my miles with United when I tried to use them. I have not flown much since 9/11 but I had banked on using these miles in my retirement years. At first United claimed that I had an expired email account. I explained that I have had the same email account for 20+ years and I had not had a problem with it. At that point they said they had the right to change without notification and I was just out of luck.

    To those out there in the same situation (I see some lost a lot more miles than I did), I offer heart felt condolences. I know what it is like to be robbed of a promised benefit.

    No … I will not fly United and I encourage all readers of this blog to consider a carrier other than United when they next fly. Flying is all about trust and I no longer have faith in United and their policies.