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-   Alaska Airlines | Mileage Plan (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/alaska-airlines-mileage-plan-442/)
-   -   AS Cancels EK Award Tickets for My Friend [Possible Merge] (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/alaska-airlines-mileage-plan/1955205-cancels-ek-award-tickets-my-friend-possible-merge.html)

bobblevins Feb 11, 19 2:03 pm


Originally Posted by UAPremierExec (Post 30761311)
Brokers and people who sell miles will typically provide their Alaska login info, so when Alaska starts seeing CA/WA/AS based accounts logging in from foreign points is where the flag starts.

Many companies are now starting to block some VPNs- for instance Im up in the Yukon right now and I use a VPN with 2 selections of locales in California to use Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. Well, Hulu now recognizes the VPN & blocked it. So no more Hulu for me :(

Ill bet ya Alaska is now monitoring that traffic as well...

You could get another VPN that may work awhile.

tom911 Feb 11, 19 2:25 pm


Originally Posted by flatdawgs (Post 30764951)
AS should attempt to contact you before cancelling anything.

Makes you wonder if the sheer quantity of suspected fraudulent tickets may be something that they're not set up to handle 24 hours a day. Even if that was the case, surely there must be one person in the organization that could at least make those calls during business hours Monday-Friday and alert the account holder.

Tom using his VPN at the Newark Airport (always do when on wi-fi)

icelandman2 Feb 11, 19 10:13 pm


Originally Posted by flatdawgs (Post 30764951)
AS should attempt to contact you before cancelling anything. Even banks will contact you for approval regarding a potential fraudulent charge, and in this way you can clear things up prior to having to go through something like this MP member has been forced to go through. Seriously, Alaska? I too use a VPN whilst traveling - a large enough one that I'm sure "ticket brokers" use it as well (and probably a million other people). It should never be incumbent upon the customer to have to worry - or even know about - "calling the MVP75G number" when a ticket was booked legitimately under the rules of the program. The vast majority of their customers are NOT FT-savvy and would reasonably expected to have no clue that anything other than booking the ticket normally would ever be required, particularly once it was confirmed. If it's legitimate through the terms of the program to book a mileage seat from SA to the US, then if Alaska has a problem with something they should reach out to the customer long before the flight - and certainly before cancelling it without notice hours before departure. That is unconscionable. The onus is on them in this case - particularly as their customer is clearly a long-term MP member.

Agreed. I would be FUMING if something like this happened to me. Onus absolutely needs to be on AS to suspect fraud and try to contact the account owner - booking a different route close-in on a VPN should not be enough to cancel a ticket.

estnet Feb 11, 19 10:52 pm


Originally Posted by icelandman2 (Post 30767284)
Agreed. I would be FUMING if something like this happened to me. Onus absolutely needs to be on AS to suspect fraud and try to contact the account owner - booking a different route close-in on a VPN should not be enough to cancel a ticket.

ABSOLUTELY - cancelling a ticket with no notice to booker (not to mention a 10 year member - maybe to alert them if their info was stolen) is just plain WRONG

Details aside - cancel with no notification is just not right. And - the ticket was a 47.6k ticket ?economy class NOT high value bus or first - not the highest chance of broker/sale scenario.
In addition if the rules are as agent said (which I can't find) why can I put any name I want in when booking an award ticket on line?

ashill Feb 12, 19 12:22 am


Originally Posted by estnet (Post 30767368)
ABSOLUTELY - cancelling a ticket with no notice to booker (not to mention a 10 year member - maybe to alert them if their info was stolen) is just plain WRONG

Details aside - cancel with no notification is just not right. And - the ticket was a 47.6k ticket ?economy class NOT high value bus or first - not the highest chance of broker/sale scenario.
In addition if the rules are as agent said (which I can't find) why can I put any name I want in when booking an award ticket on line?

Agreed. At the very least, if there's suspected fraud/stealing miles, AS should definitely send a notification email to the account holder.

It sounds to me like the agent who said that policy prohibits Mileage Plan members from booking flights for others was just wrong, perhaps simply misspeaking or perhaps making up an explanation for something they didn't understand (something that is fairly common in the airline industry but not something I often encounter with AS). But I'm glad that it now seems pretty clear that this was an overzealous fraud alert, not a new policy.

Any chance @missydarlin could shed light here, particularly on why there was no notification to the account holder of the suspected fraud?

A3queen Feb 12, 19 5:25 am

Is ALASKA setting us up for a horrible change to their Mileage Plan?
 
Hi, I was looking for advise & help from the people on this forum to see if what this supervisor said could possibly be true. Not only did the supervisor clearly, empathically and repeatedly state that we, as members, were NOT permitted to use our miles for “others”, she said whoever books the flight is considered the “travel arranger”. She also said if someone had the same last name as the member OR if we were on the same itinerary, alaska MAY let it slide, but it was still technically a violation of terms & conditions. Additionally, ANOTHER customer care agent named “Deborah” emailed the same thing. She wrote “you must use your Mileage Plan account as a personal account only for your ticket only. If you need to book reservations for other passengers, I suggest that you set up an EasyBiz account for business”.
It’s very scary to me that 2 agents would say this, put it in writing and on a recorded call. It feels to me like Alaska is setting this up to make a change... otherwise how could 2 agents be so blatant as to go on record with these statements & actually cancel a woman’s ticket! FYI, it’s been several days and I have yet to receive the call from the fraud department as promised. They also still charged my card almost $80 for the taxes for Kim’s mileage ticket.

pbd456 Feb 12, 19 9:28 am


Originally Posted by ashill (Post 30767584)
Agreed. At the very least, if there's suspected fraud/stealing miles, AS should definitely send a notification email to the account holder.

It sounds to me like the agent who said that policy prohibits Mileage Plan members from booking flights for others was just wrong, perhaps simply misspeaking or perhaps making up an explanation for something they didn't understand (something that is fairly common in the airline industry but not something I often encounter with AS). But I'm glad that it now seems pretty clear that this was an overzealous fraud alert, not a new policy.

Any chance @missydarlin could shed light here, particularly on why there was no notification to the account holder of the suspected fraud?

the reality is that AS should send them an email so that the fraudsters can make up a story for cover?

AA ambush passengers at gate..

ashill Feb 12, 19 1:03 pm


Originally Posted by A3queen (Post 30768163)
Hi, I was looking for advise & help from the people on this forum to see if what this supervisor said could possibly be true. Not only did the supervisor clearly, empathically and repeatedly state that we, as members, were NOT permitted to use our miles for “others”, she said whoever books the flight is considered the “travel arranger”. She also said if someone had the same last name as the member OR if we were on the same itinerary, alaska MAY let it slide, but it was still technically a violation of terms & conditions. Additionally, ANOTHER customer care agent named “Deborah” emailed the same thing. She wrote “you must use your Mileage Plan account as a personal account only for your ticket only. If you need to book reservations for other passengers, I suggest that you set up an EasyBiz account for business”.
It’s very scary to me that 2 agents would say this, put it in writing and on a recorded call. It feels to me like Alaska is setting this up to make a change... otherwise how could 2 agents be so blatant as to go on record with these statements & actually cancel a woman’s ticket! FYI, it’s been several days and I have yet to receive the call from the fraud department as promised. They also still charged my card almost $80 for the taxes for Kim’s mileage ticket.

Yeah, that is absolutely wrong. Completely inconsistent with everyone's experience here, completely inconsistent with both the big print (the marketing of the frequent flyer program) and the fine print, an on-the-fly redefinition of "travel arranger" (a term which is used but never defined in the terms and conditions), and completely inconsistent with how the competition handles frequent flyer programs. There is a prohibition on "travel agents, travel arrangers, and unauthorized brokers" managing accounts for others, but that is not what you are doing or what you say the Alaska agents said you did. The fact that two Alaska Airlines have said this, in writing, is a problem that Alaska needs to correct.

Just from the big print, EasyBiz is targeted at businesses and corporate travel planners. Directing you as an individual to EasyBiz is again plainly wrong. Alaska really needs to clean up this mess, at the very least by ensuring that all your miles and all the taxes you paid Alaska are returned. Unfortunately, I think your case to have Alaska cover cash expenses you paid to other companies due to their screw-up is not very strong. But I think that Alaska should send you a fairly decent sized pile of miles as a customer service gesture. I don't really have any advice about the best way to proceed to get Alaska to do their job about this; frankly, this level of awful customer service is outside my experience with Alaska.

I really doubt this portends a policy change; I think it's some combination of confusion and confused agents.

ashill Feb 12, 19 1:04 pm


Originally Posted by pbd456 (Post 30768891)
the reality is that AS should send them an email so that the fraudsters can make up a story for cover?

AA ambush passengers at gate..

It depends whether they think this is a case of a cracker stealing the miles or the account holder selling the miles. If the former, an email to the account holder's email address on file (especially if that email address hasn't changed recently) is appropriate. If not, then yes, they're most likely to catch the fraudster if they don't tip them off.

PVDtoDEL Feb 12, 19 1:27 pm


Originally Posted by A3queen (Post 30768163)
FYI, it’s been several days and I have yet to receive the call from the fraud department as promised. They also still charged my card almost $80 for the taxes for Kim’s mileage ticket.

You should file a DOT complaint (https://www.transportation.gov/airco...umer-complaint) highlighting that AS increased the fare post-puchase for the ticket you had purchased, and requesting a refund of the ticket you ended up purchasing with cash to make up for AS' denied boarding. That should get the ball rolling as far as getting AS to actually respond to you.

QT31415 Feb 12, 19 2:25 pm

I was in London last weekend, using expressVPN as I always do when I travel, and I purchased a one way F ticket on BA for my daughter, no problems at all. Perhaps its because she was on my profile? Different last name, but I've used my miles to book her tickets for years without any issues. This thread is worrisome - if we can't use our miles to purchase tickets for friends and family, then my reason to keep Gold75k has just diminished (tickets on gold miles do not incur a change fee, thus are very helpful for booking tickets for college kids etc). Please keep us updated - sometimes I can't keep up with all the changes that AS does to their members.

icelandman2 Feb 12, 19 3:11 pm


Originally Posted by ashill (Post 30769818)
Just from the big print, EasyBiz is targeted at businesses and corporate travel planners. Directing you as an individual to EasyBiz is again plainly wrong. Alaska really needs to clean up this mess, at the very least by ensuring that all your miles and all the taxes you paid Alaska are returned. Unfortunately, I think your case to have Alaska cover cash expenses you paid to other companies due to their screw-up is not very strong. But I think that Alaska should send you a fairly decent sized pile of miles as a customer service gesture. I don't really have any advice about the best way to proceed to get Alaska to do their job about this; frankly, this level of awful customer service is outside my experience with Alaska.

I really doubt this portends a policy change; I think it's some combination of confusion and confused agents.

Completely correct. I have an EasyBiz acct for small org travel. It is not appropriate for use by individuals looking to book friends/family - it is for small businesses with sufficient travel spend to pique AS's interest, but not high enough to warrant a "big boy" corporate contract.

dayone Feb 12, 19 3:46 pm

An extreme case like this is more likely an anomalous anecdote than foreshadowing of a program change.

What's known (award ticket, partner flight, gifted to a third party, in Africa, redeemed at the last minute, VPN), on top of one or two attributes we don't know, can be enough to freeze a PNR pending further explanation.

solewalker Feb 12, 19 10:31 pm

And now we have a second case: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/alas...ing-miles.html

Also new poster.

BW Flyer Feb 12, 19 10:47 pm

This is a worrisome trend. I have booked tickets for my family and relatives using my miles because I am a G75K whom won't pay penalties in the event of award ticket cancellations. So far I have not encountered any problems, probably because I am a long time MP members, fly a lot on AS, and I don't buy miles. But if we are not allowed to,use miles on families and friends, this represent yet another major de-valuation of MP.

May be we all should write to AS to clarify this issue, and if not true, they need to stop their agents from making up incorrect stories on the fly.


dayone Feb 13, 19 12:49 am


Originally Posted by BW Flyer (Post 30771949)
May be we all should write to AS to clarify this issue

Or measure our concern until we see more mainstream occurrences.

JacksonFlyer Feb 13, 19 10:20 am


Originally Posted by dayone (Post 30772199)
Or measure our concern until we see more mainstream occurrences.

It is hard to figure out what is really happening as we graciously take everyone's view as fact when there might be something left out of the discussion, I don't know. What I do know is that I have bought over a dozen tickets in the last two years with my miles ( and two tickets on future flights) for friends, unrelated to me, do not work with me, not on the same ticket with me, just friends and not once have I ever had a problem. The only problem for me is the amount of miles I need to burn for whatever destination they or we are going to.

Eastbay1K Feb 13, 19 10:44 am


Originally Posted by JacksonFlyer (Post 30773671)
It is hard to figure out what is really happening as we graciously take everyone's view as fact when there might be something left out of the discussion, I don't know. What I do know is that I have bought over a dozen tickets in the last two years with my miles ( and two tickets on future flights) for friends, unrelated to me, do not work with me, not on the same ticket with me, just friends and not once have I ever had a problem. The only problem for me is the amount of miles I need to burn for whatever destination they or we are going to.

There often is something left out of the discussion. Notwithstanding that, it is helpful to have the data points as to what might trigger the fraud buzzers to go off at AS HQ and be prepared in the event that we may ever book a ticket in such a manner.

williwaw Feb 13, 19 10:55 am

This does sound a little like the challenges many had with Flying Blue when they went super aggressive in fraud detection. In that case and I assume here, it was largely a problem for those that never flew AF or KLM or a partner. With Flying Blue they were freezing a reservation (in some cases cancelling) at time of booking and directing customers to visit a ticket desk. Those impacted in this case were UR point users who never flew Flying Blue partners and then ran into challenges.

That said I did recently book 5 tickets with AS miles on FI for myself and extended family. No problems. But all miles were earned on AS and I’m MVPG.


UAPremierExec Feb 13, 19 12:07 pm

I'm presently assisting an airline with a similar issue to what's going on here. But I can *assure* you, even though I don't work for AAG or know anyone in their corporate security department, that just using a VPN isn't *enough* of a flag to warrant a review/cancel/etc. Its a NUMBER of factors. But using a VPN that's seeing high Mileage Plan bookings/redemptions is just *one* of the flags or triggers. That doesn't mean that using my OpenVPN for Fresno or Eureka, CA (for example) will trigger a cancel. Its just ONE thing they are monitoring.

Delta uses the same algorithms for when it went after, and fired, employees for using Delta SkyNet access for loads on Facebook groups & other places, including sharing their login to non-Delta staff & employees. Two concurrent logins lock your account. GoGo does the exact same thing, although GoGo is a bit more transparent in saying you can only use 5 devices in a month. It doesn't make public the fact it has geographical zones (to prevent sharing of your login).

So if you have a history with Alaska - MP membership with *accrual AND redemption*, actually FLY Alaska - you are fine.

Its the accounts with only redemption activity and non-airline earnings or little airline earnings that are on a high-risk list for fraud.

flatdawgs Feb 13, 19 1:03 pm

I too have never had an issue, and almost solely use my miles to book for friends/family, but all of those bookings have been on Alaska and miles earned via flights on AS and partners (and credit card - no churn) so have no other data points. I could certainly see booking one way partner flights via MP for re-positioning or for RTW-type stuff as allowable under the published conditions of the program, and would be more than a little disappointed (to say the least) if something like happened to the OP happened to me. In fact, with my sister and her family living overseas I can see booking them on tickets not originating in the US and would hate to have that possibility taken away.

I'm a fan of Alaska (particularly their customer service) and a long-time MP member, only losing status because domestically I cannot get to everywhere I need to travel to without AA/DL - but if this is more than just a random data point or three I would have to think carefully about trying to regain status with them.

(edit - thank you for the update, UAPremierExec! I appreciate the explanation - still a bit concerned about what happened to the OP, but think that may have been a perfect storm of FUBAR. As mentioned it's nothing I've ever encountered personally.)

UAPremierExec Feb 13, 19 2:32 pm

and to just highlight the OP, they had a *few* flags:

1. Not much actual flown accrual in account
2. Purchased miles
3. Using VPN
4. One-way travel on a partner, international
(5. Assuming they are NOT current Gold/75K)
6. Passenger last name not same as member
7. Passenger probably not saved in MP profile, therefore no past history.

Any combination of these triggered the review by a human. It doesn't mean just 1 will get your res cancelled.

--- as I go and look at a bunch of bookings for my airline client that orginated out of Denmark (VPN, of course) with no booking history using a credit card whose address country doesn't match the country of the traveler OR the phone number used (all 3 are different countries)

A3queen Feb 26, 19 6:13 pm

Sorry for the late reply.

1. the account has been open for many years, not sure how many years but something like 5/7 years.
2. the flight was around 47k miles, there were no miles back since it was for a friend
3. It would take me too long to count right now.

I've been using this card for a long time.

Now there is an update:
Today, my assistant called to ask if as a frequent flyer member, she was allowed to book for a friend and they said YES!!!! We have it recorded!

Then we called back but this time she called on my behalf in regards to this case, as soon as the agent on the phone knew we were talking about this case, she became very aggressive and said they won't do anything more because it was a violation of their policy. She said that she asked Alaska agent on a previous call if she was allowed to get a ticket for a friend and that the agent said yes. The supervisor Sharon then HUNG UP on my assistant!!!!! all of this is completely recorded!!
I'm stunned about how crazy that is!!!

What do you think I should do to get a compensation? Better Business Bureau? Small Claim court? FAA? which websites should I put my story on?
This is insane I cannot believe them!! I've never seen this.

Originally Posted by Eastbay1K (Post 30753916)
Yes. Interesting first post by the poster.

Will the OP please clarify the following?
(1) How long was the account open?
(2) How many of the miles earned were by flying v. mileage purchases and credit card churn?
(3) How many previous mileage awards have been redeemed on the account? (And if any, how many for the OP, and how many for others)?

But as with many new posters with such a post, we never hear anything again.


icelandman2 Feb 26, 19 6:17 pm


Originally Posted by A3queen (Post 30825370)
Sorry for the late reply.

1. the account has been open for many years, not sure how many years but something like 5/7 years.
2. the flight was around 47k miles, there were no miles back since it was for a friend
3. It would take me too long to count right now.

I've been using this card for a long time.

Now there is an update:
Today, my assistant called to ask if as a frequent flyer member, she was allowed to book for a friend and they said YES!!!! We have it recorded!

Then we called back but this time she called on my behalf in regards to this case, as soon as the agent on the phone knew we were talking about this case, she became very aggressive and said they won't do anything more because it was a violation of their policy. She said that she asked Alaska agent on a previous call if she was allowed to get a ticket for a friend and that the agent said yes. The supervisor Sharon then HUNG UP on my assistant!!!!! all of this is completely recorded!!
I'm stunned about how crazy that is!!!

What do you think I should do to get a compensation? Better Business Bureau? Small Claim court? FAA? which websites should I put my story on?
This is insane I cannot believe them!! I've never seen this.

Given your experience, they certainly seem to think you are a mileage broker. The question here is how to demonstrate that you aren't. I think EastBay's second question is critical - they care less about the value of the ticket that was redeemed, and much more about how you earned those 47k miles in the first place. Was this primarily through flying on AS/partners, or a Points.com purchase? If the former, this seems scary for all of us. If the latter, then it at least would set off more "red flags" on their end, and perhaps provide you a point of contact in Points.com themselves with whom to discuss this.

dayone Feb 26, 19 6:54 pm

If my frequent flyer account were under review, I wouldn't be having my "assistant" calling to book third-party tickets.

ashill Feb 26, 19 7:24 pm


Originally Posted by dayone (Post 30825462)
If my frequent flyer account were under review, I wouldn't be having my "assistant" calling to book third-party tickets.

+1

Even if the activity is totally legitimate, having an assistant make the call on behalf of the account holder would sure make me suspicious if I were an airline agent who knew that this account was suspected of being a mileage broker.

Often1 Feb 26, 19 8:09 pm


Originally Posted by A3queen (Post 30825370)
Sorry for the late reply.

1. the account has been open for many years, not sure how many years but something like 5/7 years.
2. the flight was around 47k miles, there were no miles back since it was for a friend
3. It would take me too long to count right now.

I've been using this card for a long time.

Now there is an update:
Today, my assistant called to ask if as a frequent flyer member, she was allowed to book for a friend and they said YES!!!! We have it recorded!

Then we called back but this time she called on my behalf in regards to this case, as soon as the agent on the phone knew we were talking about this case, she became very aggressive and said they won't do anything more because it was a violation of their policy. She said that she asked Alaska agent on a previous call if she was allowed to get a ticket for a friend and that the agent said yes. The supervisor Sharon then HUNG UP on my assistant!!!!! all of this is completely recorded!!
I'm stunned about how crazy that is!!!

What do you think I should do to get a compensation? Better Business Bureau? Small Claim court? FAA? which websites should I put my story on?
This is insane I cannot believe them!! I've never seen this.

This was a very bad mistake on your part. No sure what you were trying to prove, but you are still persisting in pursuing an issue that is not relevant. AS believes that you are a mileage broker or somehow sold, bartered, or otherwise took something in return for the ticket. Hopefully, you have no carefully reread the contract (terms & conditions) you agreed to and understand that the decision is solely for AS.

If you cannot convince AS to the contrary, you are done. Period.

tom911 Feb 26, 19 8:20 pm


Originally Posted by A3queen (Post 30753218)
Alaska Airlines cancelled my friends’ Emirates flight from Cape Town to JFK (via DXB) that I booked using my own miles, without notifying her & after confirming 3x that her booking was all good. After she was checked in & at the airport, Emirates told her Alaska cancelled her ticket. .

I still feel like we're missing some pieces here. Is it possible that your "friend" has also been the recipient of tickets purchased with Alaska miles from "other friends" or has been suspected of fraudulent behavior of his own by Alaska and you're just caught up in that? How well do you know this friend and his/her history with Alaska Airlines?

Not sure why you would think the FAA has anything to do with Alaska award tickets. They don't. Small claims court could be an option. I would not send your assistant to appear on your behalf.

A3queen Feb 26, 19 8:21 pm


Originally Posted by dayone (Post 30825462)
If my frequent flyer account were under review, I wouldn't be having my "assistant" calling to book third-party tickets.

she only called after the whole problem happened. I can very easily justify that part of the story because:
1. I am in South Africa doing business so I have other more important things to do
2. I can prove that my business has nothing to do with traveling
But either way, do you know the process to get compensated from them?
I’m not sure what is the best way.

ashill Feb 26, 19 9:54 pm


Originally Posted by A3queen (Post 30825683)
she only called after the whole problem happened. I can very easily justify that part of the story because:
1. I am in South Africa doing business so I have other more important things to do
2. I can prove that my business has nothing to do with traveling
But either way, do you know the process to get compensated from them?
I’m not sure what is the best way.

As a number of people have said in this thread, I'm pretty sure there is no "process" to get compensated.

Alaska has decided, rightly or wrongly, that your actions are those of a mileage broker. Under the terms and conditions, that is their decision and theirs alone. Your only chance, as far as I know, is to 1) convince them that you are not a mileage broker or 2) that you were but understand that what you did was wrong, accept responsibility and likely some penalty and/or restrictions on your account (such as only being allowed to book award tickets for yourself).

At some level, you're dealing with human beings whose computer tells them to be suspicious of you. Having an assistant call on your behalf fits perfectly into the narrative that your miles are a business, whether or not that's true. That will confirm the biases that those human beings come in with because of the annotated record.

I don't have any personal experience with being suspected of being a mileage broker. But my understanding, mostly from reading FlyerTalk (especially the posts in the AA forum, largely by @JonNYC, of how AA handles this and assuming that there are broad similarities with AS), is that the basic approach is to be fully honest, detailing every use of your miles with as much documentation as you can. Apologizing for your continued attempts to book tickets after being told that your account can't be used to purchase tickets for others, promising not to do it again, and following through on that promise at least unless/until AS gives you permission otherwise also seems like a good idea. If you truly are innocent, maybe you'll succeed in convincing AS that you are. But continuing to book tickets for other people (the activity AS rightly or wrongly suspects is fraudulent) and having other people call on your behalf seems like exactly the wrong sorts of thing to do if you want to ever be able to use your miles.

MasterGeek May 11, 19 12:39 am

So AS gets to be the plaintiff, the judge and the executioner ?

I advise OP to contact who specialize in helping consumers against travel industry companies

eponymous_coward May 11, 19 9:16 am


Originally Posted by MasterGeek (Post 31089132)
So AS gets to be the plaintiff, the judge and the executioner ?

Yes. Those are the terms agreed to when joining MP. You of course can fly the airline without joining MP, or in fact any FFP (which generally have similar terms).

https://www.alaskaair.com/content/mi...and-conditions

When you are buying miles you are buying a pig in a poke, and AS tells you “this is your pig and this is your poke.”


Originally Posted by MasterGeek (Post 31089132)

Probably a decent idea, if dated given that this thread has been dead for months. Note that Elliott is on the record as thinking FFPs are scams.

MasterGeek May 11, 19 9:33 am


Originally Posted by eponymous_coward (Post 31090022)


Yes. Those are the terms agreed to when joining MP. You of course can fly the airline without joining MP, or in fact any FFP (which generally have similar terms).

https://www.alaskaair.com/content/mi...and-conditions

When you are buying miles you are buying a pig in a poke, and AS tells you “this is your pig and this is your poke.”



Probably a decent idea, if dated given that this thread has been dead for months. Note that Elliott is on the record as thinking FFPs are scams.

Another T&Cs worshipper. Corporate to consumer T&Cs (especially the ones displayed as part of a long text) mean nothing because they are unilateral, one-sided, not been the subject of a fair negotiation and made to protect the corporation.

If your cell phone companies, internet providers , insurance companies and banks decide they don't want you as a customer because they don't like something in you or what you believe in, how will you live ?

eponymous_coward May 11, 19 10:01 am


Originally Posted by MasterGeek (Post 31090073)
Another T&Cs worshipper.

If you want to have a go at your MP or MLA for FFP regulation, knock yourself out. I would point out that governments allow casinos and lotteries to exist though (and in many cases profit from them, sometimes even running them), which are pretty straightforward swindles (the game on offer is rigged so the casino or lottery wins, and casinos are free to reject customers who they think can beat them). If they're going to allow that kind of low-hanging fruit on the tree, frequent flyer programs might be a bit higher up.

Oh, no, whatever shall I do that frequent flyer programs, casinos and lotteries exist? Aside from not joining or playing them unless I choose to, that is?


Originally Posted by MasterGeek (Post 31090073)
Corporate to consumer T&Cs (especially the ones displayed as part of a long text) mean nothing because they are unilateral, one-sided, not been the subject of a fair negotiation and made to protect the corporation.

Do you seriously think FFPs could exist if they were all one to one negotiations made with each individual member?

VegasGambler May 11, 19 1:06 pm

I'd just complain to DOT over this if it ever happened to me. While they don't specifically regulate FFPs, they do regulate airlines in general and enforce a blanket rule against "unfair and deceptive practices".

I don't think that it would be too hard to argue that selling you miles and then cancelling the ticket that you booked with those miles constitutes an unfair and deceptive practice.

ashill May 11, 19 4:02 pm


Originally Posted by eponymous_coward (Post 31090173)
Oh, no, whatever shall I do that frequent flyer programs, casinos and lotteries exist? Aside from not joining or playing them unless I choose to, that is?

Though I basically agree with what you say, the also-sensible counter argument is that it’s easy to not pay for a lottery or casino; just don’t do it. But frequent flyer programs are impossible not to pay for if you fly: the cost of the miles is baked into the ticket price whether you choose to earn the miles or not.

jinglish May 11, 19 4:27 pm


Originally Posted by ashill (Post 31091193)


Though I basically agree with what you say, the also-sensible counter argument is that it’s easy to not pay for a lottery or casino; just don’t do it. But frequent flyer programs are impossible not to pay for if you fly: the cost of the miles is baked into the ticket price whether you choose to earn the miles or not.

Do Golds pay more than kettles for AS tickets due to their 100% RDM bonus? And 75ks slightly more than Golds? What about double RDM promos on certain routes?

"The cost of the miles is baked into the ticket price" is true only in the very general sense that mileage redemption costs come out of airline revenues; there's no fixed mileage value either in earning or redemption. It's a nebulous rebate program.

MasterGeek May 11, 19 5:03 pm


Originally Posted by jinglish (Post 31091260)
Do Golds pay more than kettles for AS tickets due to their 100% RDM bonus? And 75ks slightly more than Golds? What about double RDM promos on certain routes?

"The cost of the miles is baked into the ticket price" is true only in the very general sense that mileage redemption costs come out of airline revenues; there's no fixed mileage value either in earning or redemption. It's a nebulous rebate program.

AS reduces the miles given to the masses and gives that to the Golds and 75Ks

eponymous_coward May 11, 19 5:40 pm


Originally Posted by jinglish (Post 31091260)
"The cost of the miles is baked into the ticket price" is true only in the very general sense that mileage redemption costs come out of airline revenues; there's no fixed mileage value either in earning or redemption. It's a nebulous rebate program.

Not to mention that airlines make money on the programs overall. The cost of the miles (in terms of what revenue AS is forgoing) is being subsidized by BofA writing checks and handing out miles.

ashill May 11, 19 6:31 pm


Originally Posted by jinglish (Post 31091260)
Do Golds pay more than kettles for AS tickets due to their 100% RDM bonus? And 75ks slightly more than Golds? What about double RDM promos on certain routes?

"The cost of the miles is baked into the ticket price" is true only in the very general sense that mileage redemption costs come out of airline revenues; there's no fixed mileage value either in earning or redemption. It's a nebulous rebate program.

Sure, they give a different number of miles in different circumstances, and the miles awarded per dollar spent of course varies widely on a mileage based program like Alaska’s. But it is still true that the frequent flyer miles is one of the things you are paying for when you purchase an airline ticket whether you accrue the miles or not. In that sense, paying for the frequent flyer program is not voluntary like paying for a casino or lottery is.


Originally Posted by eponymous_coward (Post 31091410)
Not to mention that airlines make money on the programs overall. The cost of the miles (in terms of what revenue AS is forgoing) is being subsidized by BofA writing checks and handing out miles.

They make so much money selling miles to BofA et al that the programs make money overall. But of course the miles have an accounting value (some multiple of which BofA pays AS for credit card miles), and there is an accounting value of the miles that AS awards for fliers. It is in some sense a marketing expense, but it’s still a cost you’re paying for whenever you buy a ticket and by not participating in the frequent flyer program, you give up some of the value of what you paid for.

Now all that said: I play the airlines’ game and find some value — sometimes significant value — in frequent flyer miles. And I agree that the OP and others accused by the prosecutor, judge, and jury airline are very unlikely to get any remedy in a real court or from a lawyer (especially after legal fees even if they do “win”). But make no mistake: it’s the airlines’ game, and there are arbitrage opportunities in part because those who (justifiably) think it’s a scam subsidize those of us who make the effort to play the game.


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