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Choose your friends well (A Skymiles Redemption Lesson)

Choose your friends well (A Skymiles Redemption Lesson)

Old Aug 22, 19, 10:28 am
  #1  
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Unhappy Choose your friends well (A Skymiles Redemption Lesson)

So I got an IAD-JNB ticket in Y for a friend using my hard-earned (mostly via Amex bonuses, which takes some time) Delta miles. 117k round trip which seemed like a pretty good deal to me. Good faith gift on my part...

Two days prior to the return flight I got an email from Delta - congratulations on your award booking. "That's weird, I thought. I didn't make any booking."

Checked the email - the return date had been moved. There was a change fee that the friend had paid, but also a redeposit of 117k miles and withdrawal of 170k miles (53k extra!!). This happened without my knowledge or approval.

I called the 'friend', rather upset, and she claimed they had not told her it was more miles, etc. etc.

At that point of course I had the option of calling Delta and cancelling it all - saying it was unauthorized - but didn't want to strand this person in Africa.

Yesterday (trip was completed a couple of weeks ago) I called Delta to see how this had happened - what's the policy? Delta rep told me that they do require verification in the form of the account holder's DOB and email address (both known to the traveller in this case).

So, word to the wise - choose your friends and award ticket gift recipients wisely!
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Old Aug 22, 19, 10:39 am
  #2  
 
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Minor take away.

Have a separate email for the contact on all you valuable accounts. The email account is such a huge security flaw wrt social hacking that you need to protect it.

Alternative, get rid of your friend :-)
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Old Aug 22, 19, 11:12 am
  #3  
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Stranding the "friend" in Africa would have worked.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 12:23 pm
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Yikes. I often wonder about this when booking my own awards on the phone - the questions they ask just aren't that hard to get. Half the time all they want is my home address - where I live, if you own your own house, that's public record!

In this case, one would hope that the friend would have told you they were making such a change before trying it. I'd certainly expect my friends/family to do that if I bought them a plane ticket.

To be fair though, I can actually see a situation where a) they didn't want to bother you after already receiving your generosity and b) on the phone, 117k and 170k can sound very, very similar. Not too far of a stretch to hear a DL rep say something like: "The old ticket cost ahundredseventeen thousand miles. The new ticket prices out at ahundredseventy thousand and you have to pay a $150 change fee" and the friend thinking "oh cool, sounds like the same price and I'll just pay that $150".
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Old Aug 22, 19, 12:38 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Stranding the "friend" in Africa would have worked.
Yeah, I'd probably have my new former friend Venmo me $1000 for the value of the points or they can book a last minute fare home.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 12:56 pm
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In this case, one would hope that the friend would have told you they were making such a change before trying it. I'd certainly expect my friends/family to do that if I bought them a plane ticket.
Right?
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Last edited by CarlTheWebmaster; Aug 22, 19 at 12:56 pm Reason: typo
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Old Aug 22, 19, 1:20 pm
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Or the friend didn't want to inconvenience you with their changes so took the initiative to call Delta on their own and Delta didn't tell them there would be additional miles charged.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 1:32 pm
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If he or she were my friend. He or she would still be in Africa.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 2:08 pm
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Maaan. Slowly accumulating Amex points myself here. 50k of them, ugh. Hope your friend understands the dollar amount that's spent to recoup that.

Pretty sure I know the list of friends I'd gift miles to. I'll include it here:
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Old Aug 22, 19, 2:25 pm
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If you cant afford a ticket to Africa without asking someone to use their miles to get you there, then you should be hanging out at home and working so you have the money to do the things you want.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 2:31 pm
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Originally Posted by sevastras View Post
If you cant afford a ticket to Africa without asking someone to use their miles to get you there, then you should be hanging out at home and working so you have the money to do the things you want.
...? You have no idea why the friend wanted/needed to go to Africa or if she could/could not afford it. Nor does it have any relevance here.

OP did something nice for a friend. For whatever reason, something went sideways about it. Let's stick to discussing that.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by justforfun View Post
Or the friend didn't want to inconvenience you with their changes so took the initiative to call Delta on their own and Delta didn't tell them there would be additional miles charged.
This is what I'm thinking. Or that friend got confused/mis-heard what DL was saying about difference in miles.

This is sort of like if I need something from Costco so I tag along with a friend who has a membership. Later I find out I bought the wrong thing. The proper way to fix it is ask my friend if he wouldn't mind going with me again to exchange it, but it might cross my mind to see if there's a way to fix it myself without bothering him. Unfortunately in this case, the follow-up actions resulted in the friend having his membership upgraded to a family card.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 2:47 pm
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Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
...? You have no idea why the friend wanted/needed to go to Africa or if she could/could not afford it. Nor does it have any relevance here.

OP did something nice for a friend. For whatever reason, something went sideways about it. Let's stick to discussing that.
I dont care if they were going on a mission, humanitarian effort, or their dead grandmothers funeral. My opinion simply states that OP tried to do something nice for someone and I would have told my friend to pack sand(actually the people I call friends would not ask me for something like this). Not only did OP pay for the flight, but also cost them around the monetary value of another $540 they werent expecting. I get that they probably had no idea what they are doing, but this "friend" doesnt have boundaries.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 2:49 pm
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Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
This is what I'm thinking. Or that friend got confused/mis-heard what DL was saying about difference in miles.

This is sort of like if I need something from Costco so I tag along with a friend who has a membership. Later I find out I bought the wrong thing. The proper way to fix it is ask my friend if he wouldn't mind going with me again to exchange it, but it might cross my mind to see if there's a way to fix it myself without bothering him. Unfortunately in this case, the follow-up actions resulted in the friend having his membership upgraded to a family card.
If you want something from Costco, buy your own membership. Stick to the discussion

*I should add that I am just giving you a hard time and am joking with you
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Old Aug 22, 19, 2:51 pm
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When booking award flights for others I take care to make them aware of how points work and make sure they understand that award flights are not free flights.

In this case I would ask the friend to pay back the value of the points or try to cancel the change. OP should be able to call Delta and inform them that the original ticket was authorized, but not the change.

In this situation I would expect Delta to reimburse the miles and fee as the activity was unauthorized.
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