Old Dec 18, 19, 1:31 pm
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AA potentially closing accounts due to credit card churning/churn

How to know if you're locked: (as of 12/22/2019)

- Call in to aadvantage reservations (800-882-8880) If you locked, you'll be forwarded to customer service instead of getting to the automated reservations system
- If you want to stay on the line, ask CSR if your account is locked (you tried to make a reservation but it wouldn't let you). CSR will inform you there's a note on your account and that corporate security will contact you
- Try to make a reservation for a super cheap hotel through useaamiles.com. There are 1000 miles / night hotels in New Delhi, so at worst you'll risk 1K miles. If you're locked, you'll see "Unable to process points. Please call our customer service for assistance."

So far, nobody seems to have gotten unlocked and gotten access to their miles back. Accounts with upcoming travel seem to be the ones that are getting terminated at the highest rate.
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AA accounts restricted (Nov/Dec 2019)

Old Feb 10, 20, 12:38 pm
  #2386  
 
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Originally Posted by Global321 View Post
I read that as... individual complaints fall very low on the priority list, and maybe, in reality, do not really exist at all on the DOT priority list.
No doubt. But I wonder if some DOT workers who skim these complaints are beginning to notice a bunch of "AA terminated my miles" complaints. One or two or even dozens won't get on the DOT's radar I bet, but if they keep coming...who knows.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 12:46 pm
  #2387  
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Originally Posted by cheaptom View Post
No doubt. But I wonder if some DOT workers who skim these complaints are beginning to notice a bunch of "AA terminated my miles" complaints. One or two or even dozens won't get on the DOT's radar I bet, but if they keep coming...who knows.
The DOT is unlikely to care regardless of the volume, but I bet there will prove to be a weakness in numbers in this case as far as recourse. If AA terminated only a few people, it might be easy to find a sympathetic judge somewhere who sees it as the big company picking on the little guy. But if AA shows a pattern across thousands of people, the individuals start looking less sympathetic. Thats why Im surprised there are still no known lawsuits.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 1:11 pm
  #2388  
 
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Originally Posted by cheaptom View Post
By the way, for anyone hoping that the DOT will be a knight in shining armor, this is from their reply to an AA complaint:
"However, we have no authority to order compensation for individual complainants."

I'm not saying the DOT is powerless, and they can certainly forward their findings onto other departments and legal teams. But it doesn't seem like it's within their power to request compensation. At least it's a first step, and they do require AA to reply. Although we all know from the DPs above that AA's reply will be a standard form letter from a dubious "person."
That is boilerplate. The DOT has no authority to order compensation. They do, however, have authority to take enforcement action against the airline (ie, fine them). What will happen then is essentially a negotiation between the airline and the DOT -- the DOT may offer reduced (or no) fines if the airline offers compensation to everyone involved. They will also order the airline to cease and desist from violating their regulations.

This will not be done for an individual case, but it is something that DOT will start to investigate if they get many similar complaints. This is why it is important that everyone who gets shut down files a DOT complaint. It is the only way to get the DOT to investigate this. The DOT will definitely have a problem with there being a pattern of AA unilaterally shutting down accounts and confiscating miles for no defensible reason -- this constitutes unfair and deceptive business practices. More complaints makes it more likely that the DOT investigates this thoroughly.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 1:20 pm
  #2389  
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
... The DOT will definitely have a problem with there being a pattern of AA unilaterally shutting down accounts and confiscating miles for no defensible reason -- this constitutes unfair and deceptive business practices. More complaints makes it more likely that the DOT investigates this thoroughly.
What, in DOTs history, gives you this level
of confidence? Has anyone found a single example of DOT caring about FF accounts being terminated?
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Old Feb 10, 20, 1:27 pm
  #2390  
 
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Originally Posted by joe_miami View Post
What, in DOTs history, gives you this level
of confidence? Has anyone found a single example of DOT caring about FF accounts being terminated?
I'm unaware of any airline doing anything like this before. This is uncharted territory.

The DOT has, in previous EOs, said that confiscating miles would constitute unfair and deceptive business practices if it were done for an unfair reason. So all that's left is to argue that the people who opened credit card accounts (as AA encouraged them to do) did nothing wrong.

I think AA has bitten off more than they can chew here...
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Old Feb 10, 20, 1:30 pm
  #2391  
mia
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
....pattern of AA unilaterally shutting down accounts and confiscating miles for no defensible reason....
The difficulty with relying on DOT investigation is that AA does have reasons, and if there are only two parties in the room (AA, DOT) there is no one to challenge the evidence and reasoning that support AA's decision. You may think their reasons are weak, but unless there is someone there to challenge they are likely to be sufficient. "Some people created dummy frequent flyer accounts for the purpose of opening additional credit card accounts and receive bonuses intended for new customers."
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Old Feb 10, 20, 1:40 pm
  #2392  
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The chances that DOT is going to take an enforcement action based on the AA response is close to nil. It doesn't really matter how many people complain. If anything, DOT will order a systemic remedy, e.g., ordering carriers (not just AA) to develop systems to preclude the conduct which AA found abusive here. DOT could also forward its own report to the CFPB and other financial regulators asking the regulators to consider doing the same with card issuers and directing card issuers to take a careful look at when and why multiple cards of any flavor are issued.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 1:42 pm
  #2393  
 
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
The difficulty with relying on DOT investigation is that AA does have reasons, and if there are only two parties in the room (AA, DOT) there is no one to challenge the evidence and reasoning that support AA's decision. You may think their reasons are weak, but unless there is someone there to challenge they are likely to be sufficient. "Some people created dummy frequent flyer accounts for the purpose of opening additional credit card accounts and receive bonuses intended for new customers."
This is why the DOT claims are important; they give you a chance to tell your side of the story. If AA responds claiming that you acted fraudulently and abusively, respond back and ask for specifics. Deny that you acted fraudulently and abusively. Claim that they unilaterally confiscated miles as a result of false claims, which constitutes unfair and deceptive business practices. Get them to commit to specific (not vauge) accusations, and, if their allegations are false, focus on that. If they are true, focus on how they are not fraudulent and abusive.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 1:46 pm
  #2394  
mia
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
.... respond back and ask for specifics. ....
Do DOT rules require airlines to respond to follow-up statements, or only to the original complaint?
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Old Feb 10, 20, 1:52 pm
  #2395  
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Originally Posted by joe_miami View Post
Companies settle cases all the time because its often cheaper than the legal fees if a case is going to continue for another year or two. Chases piddly $2,500,000 settlement in that case likely falls into this category.

Would the AA churners consider it a win if AA dumps $2,500,000 into a pot, nine years from now, and has them split it among themselves and their lawyers? I doubt it. Just the one guy yesterday who lost 6M miles has a ~$150,000 claim all by himself.
6 million AA miles are worth around $60,000.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 2:13 pm
  #2396  
 
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Do DOT rules require airlines to respond to follow-up statements, or only to the original complaint?
So, file a new complaint. You are complaining to the DOT, not to the airline.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 2:14 pm
  #2397  
 
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Originally Posted by catsfroggy1 View Post
6 million AA miles are worth around $60,000.
They charge a lot more than that for them...
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Old Feb 10, 20, 2:21 pm
  #2398  
 
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Originally Posted by Finkface View Post
Yes, that is exactly what was claimed in the now deleted post. The substance was that the pattern/sequence of the code was determined and then brute force using that pattern and the first three letters of common last names (Smi was one example) was used to generate valid codes. This was possible quite easily as there was no Captcha or similar that limited the number of attempts,

Anyway, not sure why the argument about this. It was freely admitted to. But whether it was creating fake accounts for pets or plants, using bought mailers or mailers not addressed to the user, or generating fake codes, it all boils down to not acting in good faith or having clean hands. Just because they were able to squeak it by Citis less-than-stellar IT doesnt mean it will meet any test of the T&C or the clean hands doctrine if this gets to court.
You're wrong here - there was actually a limit to 3 attempts. I know because I tried a code with last name combo and made the same typing error 3 times in my last name (turns out my mac's N key was broken). After the 3rd attempt, that code became invalid for use even after I tried it from a different working computer.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 2:27 pm
  #2399  
 
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Do DOT rules require airlines to respond to follow-up statements, or only to the original complaint?
I don't believe they require a follow up statement however the DOT has what seems like a case administrator that looks over the complaints and responses. So if AA says "you weren't profitable to us so we cancelled your tickets" and you respond "that doesn't seem legal" it might be in their best interest to respond instead of letting the DOT purse enforcement and fines.
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Old Feb 10, 20, 2:35 pm
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Originally Posted by nomiiiii View Post
You're wrong here - there was actually a limit to 3 attempts. I know because I tried a code with last name combo and made the same typing error 3 times in my last name (turns out my mac's N key was broken). After the 3rd attempt, that code became invalid for use even after I tried it from a different working computer.
I am not wrong - I was not posting the process itself as fact, I was merely describing the process that the now-deleted post laid out. I described what was posted accurately (I have a screenshot) and that was what was stated in that post. They clearly said there was no Captcha or similar that limited the number of attempts. I have no idea if that is true or not as I did not, and would not, attempt to generate fake codes. But I am not wrong in what I posted as I was only repeating what was claimed in the original post.

And in any case, you were trying the same code three times, which is what likely caused that code to be invalidated. Those generating fake codes were trying different codes each time so each code was only tried once until they got a match. Hence the no limit claim. Different scenario.
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