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Targeted: Points Match: 1 MR = 1 UA/AA Mile [Business card pilot program]

Targeted: Points Match: 1 MR = 1 UA/AA Mile [Business card pilot program]

Old Jan 18, 15, 5:14 pm
  #1  
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Targeted: Points Match: 1 MR = 1 UA/AA Mile [Business card pilot program]

My brother forwarded me an offer that Amex just sent him (he has a Gold business card, and a Blue personal card). I can't believe I'm reading this right - and I can't seem to find anything online about it at all:

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/s...ss/pointsmatch

"From now until June 30, 2015, one Membership Rewards® point is equal to one frequent flyer mile with 2 of the nation's major airlines*."

Looks like Amex will charge you whatever AA / United charges on their award chart for a ticket. No limitation for economy only, and they do say that it must have award availability, I can't imagine the Amex representatives will check that if you call in to book a itinerary.

Someone tell me I'm crazy and this isn't as good as it seems. You're limited to AA / United metal, but you earn miles / EQM's on the award tickets and are likely NOT bound by award availability. This could be amazing for an AA F seat to Asia (DFW-HKG in new 77W), for example, while earning 1.5 EQP's / mile and still only paying 67.5K miles each way.

What am I missing here?
callmedtop is offline  
Old Jan 18, 15, 5:18 pm
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Nice find.
Centurion is offline  
Old Jan 18, 15, 5:19 pm
  #3  
 
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"Only OPEN Card Members that were sent the offer by American Express may redeem the offer."

and

"Points redeemed must cover the entire amount of the Qualified Ticket, including any applicable government taxes and fees, airline-imposed fuel surcharges or any other fees or charges."

AA and UA miles won't cover the UK Air Passenger Duty, among other fees.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 5:25 pm
  #4  
mia
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Originally Posted by callmedtop View Post
....must have award availability, I can't imagine the Amex representatives will check that if you call in to book a itinerary....?
Why do you think this? The fare buckets that airlines use for award tickets are known, and American Express should be able to see availability.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 5:30 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Why do you think this? The fare buckets that airlines use for award tickets are known, and American Express should be able to see availability.
Just a hunch. If that's the case, why do they want people to manually calculate the award taxes and fees? It almost seems like the honor system, but that doesn't make much sense either, does it?

It specifically says they're booking in non-award classes: 6.For the avoidance of doubt, American Express does not book the Qualified Ticket as an award travel ticket under or through an Eligible Airline’s loyalty program. The Qualified Ticket will be booked as a non-award ticket under the fare type designated by the Eligible Airline and, therefore, it may be refundable or non-refundable.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 5:42 pm
  #6  
mia
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Originally Posted by callmedtop View Post
...If that's the case, why do they want people to manually calculate the award taxes and fees?
American Express can check availability of some award classes through their own system, same as you or I can using (for example) Expert Flyer. They cannot book those classes, or see the amount of taxes and fees which the airline program would charge unless they use the AA or UA site.

This is a pilot program. I expect they will also audit many of the bookings by logging into the AA or UA site to see if the information matches the cardholders' representations. If the pilot participants lie, the feature will not be rolled out more broadly unless they can incorporate software to automatically query the airline's availability during booking.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 12:07 am
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Interesting. And I guess you can accrue miles with whatever bonuses you might have as well since it's technically a paid ticket.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 2:47 am
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Originally Posted by jft3 View Post
Interesting. And I guess you can accrue miles with whatever bonuses you might have as well since it's technically a paid ticket.
Q: Is American Express booking the ticket as an award ticket?

A: No. American Express books the ticket as a non-award ticket under the fare type designated by the applicable airline and, therefore, it may be refundable or non-refundable. The ticket is in all instances subject to the airline’s contracts of carriage or conditions of carriage, including but not limited to the airline’s rules around itinerary changes, cancellations, refunds, baggage restrictions, fees, etc.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 5:05 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by jft3 View Post
Interesting. And I guess you can accrue miles with whatever bonuses you might have as well since it's technically a paid ticket.
Right. I'm thinking of using this as a method of mileage running. For example, AA BOS-DFW-HKG in J costs 110K miles roundtrip, but would generate (as an EXP):

19730 EQM's
29595 EQP's
39460 Base RDM's + 9865 class of service RDM's + 24,000 bonus miles for 2015 (if in J/R/D fare code, 7,000 if not) = 59,325 to 73,325 RDM's

That's pretty incredible - ultimately costs you ~35k for a roundtrip to Asia in AA J. Throw in an SWU for good measure and it's 35K for F. Even as a non-elite you're talking about 30-36K RDM's for a 110K ticket!

I can knock that out 3 times and be almost as EXP for 2016 via EQP's.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 7:04 am
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Is calling AMEX the only way to find out if one is targeted or not?
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Old Jan 19, 15, 7:18 am
  #11  
mia
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Originally Posted by terresawang View Post
...American Express books the ticket as a non-award ticket under the fare type designated by the applicable airline and, therefore, it may be refundable or non-refundable.
I expect it will take American Express about 60 days to see that they have created a program with the potential for enormous abuse, and it will not progress past the pilot stage.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 7:35 am
  #12  
 
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Q: If I cancel my trip, will points be re-deposited into my account?
A: Unfortunately, Points cannot be re-deposited into your Membership Rewards account.

That seems risky.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 8:10 am
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Originally Posted by mediator View Post
Q: If I cancel my trip, will points be re-deposited into my account?
A: Unfortunately, Points cannot be re-deposited into your Membership Rewards account.

That seems risky.
If it's booked into a revenue fare, couldn't you call the airline to cancel and be given a credit?
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Old Jan 19, 15, 8:59 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by callmedtop View Post
Right. I'm thinking of using this as a method of mileage running. For example, AA BOS-DFW-HKG in J costs 110K miles roundtrip, but would generate (as an EXP):

19730 EQM's
29595 EQP's
39460 Base RDM's + 9865 class of service RDM's + 24,000 bonus miles for 2015 (if in J/R/D fare code, 7,000 if not) = 59,325 to 73,325 RDM's

That's pretty incredible - ultimately costs you ~35k for a roundtrip to Asia in AA J. Throw in an SWU for good measure and it's 35K for F. Even as a non-elite you're talking about 30-36K RDM's for a 110K ticket!

I can knock that out 3 times and be almost as EXP for 2016 via EQP's.
Potentially even more lucrative booking UA awards after March 1 when revenue-based RDMs come into effect. Anyone looking to book UA longhaul premium cabin awards should consider doing two separate one-ways (at no additional cost in miles), both to avoid potentially hitting the 75K/ticket cap, and because international one-ways are often unavailable in the lower fare buckets so it would force Amex to buy in higher fare buckets, thus further increasing the number of RDMs you earn.

If you can find low-level premium cabin award space on an expensive route like EWR-NRT or EWR-HKG, it is easy to imagine earning more UA miles than you spend in MR points.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 9:09 am
  #15  
mia
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Originally Posted by colerc View Post
If you can find low-level premium cabin award space on an expensive route like EWR-NRT or EWR-HKG, it is easy to imagine earning more UA miles than you spend in MR points.
It is also easy to imagine booking a very expensive route that you have no intention of flying to monetize the points. Unless American Express has devised a way to eliminate this possibility the program won't go past the pilot stage. I don't see how they can do it, unless they can add some type of restrictive endorsement to the tickets.
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