United Airlines Mobile Boarding Passes: Save Time And Trees, Lose Frequent-Flyer Points

It’s incredibly convenient to carry your airline boarding passes on your smartphone. They save paper, save the airline money, and save really absentminded people from misplacing their tickets. The problem, though, is that using them means that Ralph loses out on a lot of frequent flyer miles that United Airlines owes him. He doesn’t have any boarding passes to show and prove that he traveled when he said he did, and evidently United doesn’t keep track of that kind of thing.

Wait, they run a frequent-flyer program and don’t keep track of when their customers fly?

He writes:

I am currently engaged in a struggle with the run-around artists at United Airlines. I flew from Eugene to DCA in December, using only Mobile Boarding passes on my iPhone. I was very close to getting the Premier upgrade, and specifically flew United, at a higher cost, to reach that goal.

They never credited me with miles from that flight. In going back and forth with MileagePlus customer service, United Customer Service, United’s twitter feed, United’s Web-site “contact us” form, there seems to be a common theme: United has no record of me flying and to prove I flew, they want boarding passes. This is impossible, since I don’t have them because I used the mobile boarding passes. This concerns me: 1) How could they not have a record of me flying two separate planes? 2) They are completely unprepared to handle mobile boarding passes with their Mileage Plus program. I would imagine that many people have been snared in this mobius strip of loopholes.

Would it help to take screencaps of those electronic boarding passes, or is anything short of an entire ticket insufficient proof? If anyone out there has employed smartphone apps to fly, had problems with frequent-flyer miles, and successfully fought the airline on it, please let us know!