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UA mistake award redemption rates for China travel [UA says will void tickets]

UA mistake award redemption rates for China travel [UA says will void tickets]

Old Jul 16, 12, 4:02 pm
  #571  
 
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Originally Posted by Milezjunkie View Post
Has anyone tried to make a date change and if so what was the outcome? When I try I either get an error or they ask for tons of extra miles....
What would you expect? Are they that dumb?
They stopped the award reservation system to/from HKG since yesterday afternoon.

And don't call, like some other guy in another forum did. He was told by the agents that they are awared of his 4 miles booking, and would receive a call back. Just wait it out like the rest of us.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:03 pm
  #572  
 
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Originally Posted by ma91pmh View Post
I disagree with this analysis. It makes the fundamental assumption that UA would have sold for revenue all these seats. That is highly unlikely. I would guesstimate that in 80% of tickets all they would end up paying for is the cost of food and extra fuel burden. If you look up availability on their flights to HKG over the coming there are very few where J or F are sold out and in most cases it's J9.
Most of it is the opportunity cost of not being able to 'sell' upgrades that would otherwise fill those seats, which is TODs, GPUs, and in some cases miles.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:08 pm
  #573  
 
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Originally Posted by flyersky1 View Post
You keep repeating that miles are not currency. In this case you are not correct. They are. UA may own them before the contract. After the purchase, you own the ticket. Otherwise, would they have a right to cancel it if you paid 140K for your ticket? I don't think so!
I agree that the miles are a type of currency. If one buys miles outright, they have to pay the 7.5% federal excise tax. Doesn't the existence of this tax imply that the miles have some sort of value, just as a currency would?
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:09 pm
  #574  
 
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Originally Posted by flyersky1 View Post
You keep repeating that miles are not currency. In this case you are not correct. They are. UA may own them before the contract. After the purchase, you own the ticket. Otherwise, would they have a right to cancel it if you paid 140K for your ticket? I don't think so!

I agree. And here's the full text of the rule:

It is an unfair and deceptive practice within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 41712 for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, or of a tour (i.e., a combination of air transportation and ground or cruise accommodations), or tour component (e.g., a hotel stay) that includes scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation, tour or tour component to a consumer, including but not limited to an increase in the price of the seat, an increase in the price for the carriage of passenger baggage, or an increase in an applicable fuel surcharge, after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of an increase in a government-imposed tax or fee. A purchase is deemed to have occurred when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer.

And the DOT answer to a specific question about mistakes:

Does the prohibition on post-purchase price increases in section 399.88(a) apply in the situation where a carrier mistakenly offers an airfare due to a computer problem or human error and a consumer purchases the ticket at that fare before the carrier is able to fix the mistake?

Section 399.88(a) states that it is an unfair and deceptive practice for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to, or from the United States, or of a tour or tour component that includes scheduled air transportation within, to, or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation to a consumer after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of a government-imposed tax or fee and only if the passenger is advised of a possible increase before purchasing a ticket. [B]A purchase occurs when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer. Therefore, if a consumer purchases a fare and that consumer receives confirmation (such as a confirmation email and/or the purchase appears on their credit card statement or online account summary) of their purchase, then the seller of air transportation cannot increase the price of that air transportation to that consumer, even when the fare is a “mistake.”

A contract of carriage provision that reserves the right to cancel such ticketed purchases or reserves the right to raise the fare cannot legalize the practice described above. The Enforcement Office would consider any contract of carriage provision that attempts to relieve a carrier of the prohibition against post-purchase price increase to be an unfair and deceptive practice in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 41712.



To argue that this is definitively against us with regard to miles purchases is, in my opinion, asinine. If anything, it is strongly titled in favor of the consumer, and suggests that their intention is to resolve ambiguities in favor of the consumer. It is clear DOT does not care how bad the mistake is on revenue flights. A flight for one cent would be a slam dunk based on the above. So why are they somehow going to rule that an award flight is not a "purchase"? How'd we get it? Why'd they issue a confirmation number? Just out of the kindness of their heart? No, it's because we paid the "agreed upon price" which in this case was MILES because the fare cost listed in my breakdown was ZERO and I paid the taxes and fees, thus I have 100% paid the "agreed upon price".

Last edited by davidbridgman; Jul 16, 12 at 4:17 pm
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:15 pm
  #575  
 
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Originally Posted by GMUJD06 View Post
But you're assuming my reservation is actually costing UA thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Granted, I've never flown to HKG on a 747, but other FTers indicate that the GF/BF cabins are rarely, if ever full.
Who said that? I thought that ORD-HKG was a tough SWU upgrade.....
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:19 pm
  #576  
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Originally Posted by davidbridgman View Post
To argue that this is definitively against us with regard to miles purchases is, in my opinion, asinine. If anything, it is strongly titled in favor of the consumer, and suggests that their intention is to resolve ambiguities in favor of the consumer. It is clear DOT does not care how bad the mistake is on revenue flights. A flight for one cent would be a slam dunk based on the above. So why are they somehow going to rule that an award flight is not a "purchase"? How'd we get it? Why'd they issue a confirmation number? Just out of the kindness of their heart? No, it's because we paid the "agreed upon price" which in this case was MILES because the fare cost listed in my breakdown was ZERO and I paid the taxes and fees, thus I have 100% paid the "agreed upon price".
I don't think that they can argue that an award flight is not a purchase. But with both rates listed on the site I do believe they can argue that the full amount agreed upon price was not tendered.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:23 pm
  #577  
 
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Originally Posted by hobo13 View Post
Who said that? I thought that ORD-HKG was a tough SWU upgrade.....
Isn't that because there are different status requirements to get an upgrade for transpacific flights? I thought they did not want people with high status just knowing they can buy a $2000 coach seat and likely get upgraded while someone else pays $6000 or more for business/first. Please correct me if I am wrong, my status is low, so I do not know this stuff.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:24 pm
  #578  
 
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Originally Posted by hobo13 View Post
Who said that? I thought that ORD-HKG was a tough SWU upgrade.....
Yes that's true. In my opinion this has got to be one of the worst possible routes for this to happen to United, since they do sell a significant number of F/J seats at full price.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:25 pm
  #579  
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Someone posted on Milepoint that their ticket was cancelled last night by an agent (Why were they calling???)

But today a supervisor reinstated the booking.

http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/...5#post-1484807
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:26 pm
  #580  
 
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Originally Posted by davidbridgman View Post
Isn't that because there are different status requirements to get an upgrade for transpacific flights? I thought they did not want people with high status just knowing they can buy a $2000 coach seat and likely get upgraded while someone else pays $6000 or more for business/first. Please correct me if I am wrong, my status is low, so I do not know this stuff.
No, it's usually because HKG flights do get a lot of paid C traffic.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:26 pm
  #581  
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Originally Posted by davidbridgman View Post
I agree. And here's the full text of the rule:

It is an unfair and deceptive practice within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 41712 for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, or of a tour (i.e., a combination of air transportation and ground or cruise accommodations), or tour component (e.g., a hotel stay) that includes scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation, tour or tour component to a consumer, including but not limited to an increase in the price of the seat, an increase in the price for the carriage of passenger baggage, or an increase in an applicable fuel surcharge, after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of an increase in a government-imposed tax or fee. A purchase is deemed to have occurred when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer.

And the DOT answer to a specific question about mistakes:

Does the prohibition on post-purchase price increases in section 399.88(a) apply in the situation where a carrier mistakenly offers an airfare due to a computer problem or human error and a consumer purchases the ticket at that fare before the carrier is able to fix the mistake?

Section 399.88(a) states that it is an unfair and deceptive practice for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to, or from the United States, or of a tour or tour component that includes scheduled air transportation within, to, or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation to a consumer after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of a government-imposed tax or fee and only if the passenger is advised of a possible increase before purchasing a ticket. [B]A purchase occurs when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer. Therefore, if a consumer purchases a fare and that consumer receives confirmation (such as a confirmation email and/or the purchase appears on their credit card statement or online account summary) of their purchase, then the seller of air transportation cannot increase the price of that air transportation to that consumer, even when the fare is a “mistake.”

A contract of carriage provision that reserves the right to cancel such ticketed purchases or reserves the right to raise the fare cannot legalize the practice described above. The Enforcement Office would consider any contract of carriage provision that attempts to relieve a carrier of the prohibition against post-purchase price increase to be an unfair and deceptive practice in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 41712.



To argue that this is definitively against us with regard to miles purchases is, in my opinion, asinine. If anything, it is strongly titled in favor of the consumer, and suggests that their intention is to resolve ambiguities in favor of the consumer. It is clear DOT does not care how bad the mistake is on revenue flights. A flight for one cent would be a slam dunk based on the above. So why are they somehow going to rule that an award flight is not a "purchase"? How'd we get it? Why'd they issue a confirmation number? Just out of the kindness of their heart? No, it's because we paid the "agreed upon price" which in this case was MILES because the fare cost listed in my breakdown was ZERO and I paid the taxes and fees, thus I have 100% paid the "agreed upon price".
Have the miles been deducted from your account? If not, UA could claim that you haven't paid "the full amount".
No matter what the receipt says, the system will try to deduct the "normal" mileage (successful in the case where the passenger had enough miles in the account).
According to previous posts here, the booking page showed the correct mile "price" at the top, but the wrong amount further down, which could be enough for UA to argue that customers should have realized that the 4 mile fare is a computer screw-up and not consistent with the published award charts.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:29 pm
  #582  
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
I don't think that they can argue that an award flight is not a purchase. But with both rates listed on the site I do believe they can argue that the full amount agreed upon price was not tendered.
The problem with that argument is that if the airline can refuse to take the miles out of your account to delay ticketing, what's stopping them from holding off from ticketing to the very last moment.

At the point the system accepts your offer a contract has been formed whether or not both parties have fully performed.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:33 pm
  #583  
 
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
I don't think that they can argue that an award flight is not a purchase. But with both rates listed on the site I do believe they can argue that the full amount agreed upon price was not tendered.
But this part says if you get a confirmation you've done the purchase:

Therefore, if a consumer purchases a fare and that consumer receives confirmation (such as a confirmation email and/or the purchase appears on their credit card statement or online account summary) of their purchase, then the seller of air transportation cannot increase the price of that air transportation to that consumer, even when the fare is a “mistake.”


I see your point, but it's up to them to collect the agreed upon amount before issuing the ticket. And, when two prices are listed, and one is paid, and they issue the ticket, it's really hard for them to say it was not the "agreed upon price". I mean, clearly it is a mistake, but they could have it plastered all over their site "We never sell a flight to Timbuktu for less than $1000" but if you get to a screen that says your your flight is 1 cent and buy it and get your ticket, the airline can't say "but the customer knew that flight was supposed to be at least $1000". That's the whole point of the rule to me.

When we got to the end it said straight up it was going to cost me 8 miles and $137 to continue, notwithstanding another amount on the screen above it. The price to book was listed as 8 miles, and I relied on that and clicked it.

Originally Posted by Vunder31 View Post
Have the miles been deducted from your account? If not, UA could claim that you haven't paid "the full amount".
No matter what the receipt says, the system will try to deduct the "normal" mileage (successful in the case where the passenger had enough miles in the account).
According to previous posts here, the booking page showed the correct mile "price" at the top, but the wrong amount further down, which could be enough for UA to argue that customers should have realized that the 4 mile fare is a computer screw-up and not consistent with the published award charts.

Right, but I have a receipt that says I paid 8 miles. That's what a receipt is. They're the ones with access to the accounts, it's impossible for me to pull out 8 miles and hand it to them, so they can't not take it out and say I didn't pay after giving me a receipt. That would be the legal equivalent of me leaving $500 on the counter at a store, them giving me a $500 receipt, then saying I didn't pay because they never put it in the register. DOT should not let them benefit from their own nonfeasance with regard to pulling the miles.

ETA: I do see the point, and that's why I think they have not taken them out of anyone's account. These technical arguments are all they have, and they're not going to mess any of them up.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Jul 16, 12 at 4:52 pm Reason: merge
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:35 pm
  #584  
 
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Originally Posted by leonidas View Post
Apparently <10 people have booked successful US-China tickets this way, insider info.
Can you clarify what you meant by "successful" and "this way"? Because I would say I have four of these tickets myself, so my definition is probably different from your insider's definition.
Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
And for those looking to buy cheap UA miles, MP AwardAccelerator is being offered on each of my 4 mile rez... 30,000 miles for about $0.02 per mile for each HKG round trip. Accepting and buying the extra miles would certainly add another element.
So that UA can deduct them? I would think the last thing you want right now is to accrue a bunch of miles...
Originally Posted by 787fan View Post
A few hundred thousand TODs should make up the difference.
This is why I <3 the UA forum.
Originally Posted by jmk2135 View Post
Just spitballin' here...
That thought crossed my mind, because AA had a similar solution for a First-Class error fare last year. But I thought the consensus was we are not supposed to give UA ideas for how to settle this.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:35 pm
  #585  
 
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Originally Posted by chewy3 View Post
Yes that's true. In my opinion this has got to be one of the worst possible routes for this to happen to United, since they do sell a significant number of F/J seats at full price.
Thanks. We are in agreement. ORD-HKG and SFO-HKG are big money.

Let's see, the last major screw-up for UA was SYD/LAX-SYD, which at the time were allegedly the BIGGEST money routes in their whole network. (That was when it was an oligopoly with QF.)

Do I see a pattern here?

Originally Posted by davidbridgman View Post
Isn't that because there are different status requirements to get an upgrade for transpacific flights? I thought they did not want people with high status just knowing they can buy a $2000 coach seat and likely get upgraded while someone else pays $6000 or more for business/first. Please correct me if I am wrong, my status is low, so I do not know this stuff.
The bottom line is that if people pay for a >W fare, and apply an SWU, they either get UG'ed or the C cabin goes out full. There is no other option. (Assuming that SHARES works, of course, but that's the subject of at least a dozen other threads, and not this one.)

Last edited by iluv2fly; Jul 16, 12 at 4:51 pm Reason: merge
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