Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Should I be hesitant to book an award or upgrades for family / friends?

Should I be hesitant to book an award or upgrades for family / friends?

    Hide Wikipost
Old Mar 26, 21, 10:46 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
Wiki Link
Print Wikipost

Old Dec 2, 15, 10:03 am
  #1  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: PDX
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott Plat
Posts: 11,487
Should I be hesitant to book an award or upgrades for family / friends?

I am helping some friends plan a service trip to India and was going to purchase a few coach tickets for them using my miles, but reading some of the recent threads about accounts being closed has me worried.

I am not receiving any compensation and I know everyone personally. Should I be hesitant to do this? Originally I was going to be making the trip with them but the dates changed and I can't make them work.
Hartmann is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 10:08 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: London & Sonoma CA
Programs: UA 1K(until 2022), MM *G for life, Hertz PC, BAEC Silver
Posts: 9,107
I principally use my miles to book trips for family, rather than for myself. So far, the only problems I have had have been when I have booked for myself - with SAA and with COPA. Never had a problem with family bookings on UA, but I am worried about a booking for my son on Air China.
lhrsfo is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 10:26 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: LHR (sometimes CLE, SFO, BOS, LAX, SEA)
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 5,815
The only concern you should have is that you'll want to contact United and the operating carrier every week to ensure that the itinerary has not been canceled. And you'll need to ramp that up to "once a day" in the week before travel.

This is mostly good practice anyway you really ought to reconfirm reservations about once a week to check for schedule changes, seat changes, or equipment swaps. The part which is a little dicey is the recent reports of UA cancelling third-party award bookings with short notice (within 24 hrs in the case of a CM award reported recently).

But as long as you're willing to not only (1) book the trip for someone but also (2) babysit the reservation for them and act as a travel agent in watching out for them, it's fine to book an award for friends. If you just do (1) and not (2) it's kind of like giving someone a slightly unhealthy animal as a gift uh, gee, thanks, but now I gotta take care of this forever? I guess I'm happy but, uh, jeez.
perkele likes this.
mherdeg is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 11:18 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: PDX
Programs: DL Plat, UA Plat 1MM, AS MVP, Hyatt Discoverist, Avis Presidents Club, Hertz President's Circle
Posts: 3,742
There is *nothing* prohibiting you from booking tickets for friends or family provided you aren't selling the miles. I do it 10x a year. I would not hesitate.
noah is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 11:25 am
  #5  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.85MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Gold
Posts: 54,667
Originally Posted by Hartmann View Post
I am helping some friends plan a service trip to India and was going to purchase a few coach tickets for them using my miles, but reading some of the recent threads about accounts being closed has me worried. ....
I would have zero concern. One, if this was a common issue we would be seeing dozens of these everyday. Two, the occasional case we do hear about always seems to have some extra twist.

If you wish, something I do in what could have been considered problematic, is call or at an airport have an agent place a comment in the PNR concern the nature of the trip.

I do family members with a different ethnicity last name multiple times a time. I have done complete unrelated individuals, that was to support a charitable clause -- a few times.

Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
The only concern you should have is that you'll want to contact United and the operating carrier every week to ensure that the itinerary has not been canceled. And you'll need to ramp that up to "once a day" in the week before travel......
This caution is probably unneeded but if it makes you feel better ... its your choice / time.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 11:26 am
  #6  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX/SFO
Programs: AA EXP; AS 75K; WN A List; UA 1K 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott AMB; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 46,548
Originally Posted by noah View Post
There is *nothing* prohibiting you from booking tickets for friends or family provided you aren't selling the miles. I do it 10x a year. I would not hesitate.
Agree.

I would stay away from Coupon Connection, but would not hesitate to legitimately book awards or give upgrades to friends and family.
Kacee is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 11:27 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: PDX
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott Plat
Posts: 11,487
Thanks for the opinions!

Since I know everyone who will be traveling personally and hang out with them on a regular basis, I feel a little more comfortable.
Hartmann is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 11:34 am
  #8  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.85MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Gold
Posts: 54,667
Originally Posted by Hartmann View Post
... Since I know everyone who will be traveling personally and hang out with them on a regular basis, I feel a little more comfortable.
The one other thing you could do is provide a letter for the travelers with your name, contact info and permission -- and clearly state this was gifted. In at least one recent case, the traveler probably had no idea who was supporting the travel. If an agent gets an odd comment from the traveler, that can trigger an investigation.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 11:51 am
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: SFO/SJC
Programs: UA Silver
Posts: 12,203
Go ahead and book. I've booked for other family members, some with different last names and have never had an issue.

The threads you have read about account closing are nothing more than drama from folks doing shady things. They share a similar theme - they start with only part of the story and often explicitly saying that there is no reason they have to close the account. Then, as questions are asked and answered, it becomes increasingly clear that the situations involved breaking T&Cs of the program and that there is indeed evidence of this.

If his is really "family" that happens to have bought "advice" or your promise to provide them with tickets on eBay, Craig's list, etc., then yes, you should definitely worry about having your account closed. If you are booking for actual family and friends and not selling the tickets to them, forget about those threads.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Dec 3, 15 at 11:15 am Reason: Discuss the issues, not the posters
emcampbe is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 12:03 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,645
Originally Posted by Hartmann View Post
I am helping some friends plan a service trip to India and was going to purchase a few coach tickets for them using my miles, but reading some of the recent threads about accounts being closed has me worried.

I am not receiving any compensation and I know everyone personally. Should I be hesitant to do this? Originally I was going to be making the trip with them but the dates changed and I can't make them work.
The recent reports of MP accounts being closed and miles being confiscated from people who claim to have not violated any MP T&Cs and who claim that UA refuses to even so much as provide an explanation, who claim that UA won't answer the phone, won't call back, won't respond to written correspondence, who claim that accounts are summarily closed w/o warning, w/o discussion, w/o any adjudication, w/o any conversation, and w/o any dispute process - this has made me very nervous about gifting miles to in a fully compliant manner to anyone, even family.

Your case doesn't sound dissimilar to one case in particular where the poster also claimed to be donating miles for use in a charitable endeavor.

If I were you, I'd be very hesitant to do this. In fact, given recent posts, I wouldn't do it.

If this is something you really want to do, I wonder if it would be a good strategy to write to MP and ask for pre-clearance. Perhaps that might be an appropriate CYA measure to protect against these alleged unilateral confiscations.

Last edited by FlyWorld; Dec 2, 15 at 12:51 pm
FlyWorld is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 1:43 pm
  #11  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Up in the Air
Programs: UA GS, EK, BA, SQ, CX, Marriot LP
Posts: 4,044
OP - yes you should be worried as the recent aggressive activity by UA justifies it - but since it's clear that your activity is within the rules I wouldn't worry too much... For example - I just submitted some requests for upgrades for friends with no familial relationships - I was called immediately and confirmed it was me - this is new but when asked how I know the people traveling I simply said its none of their business - and they was fine.... Bottom line is don't worry - you are fine....
bmwe92fan is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 2:29 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NYC
Programs: AA DULtArer
Posts: 5,525
Originally Posted by FlyWorld View Post
The recent reports of MP accounts being closed and miles being confiscated from people who claim to have not violated any MP T&Cs and who claim that UA refuses to even so much as provide an explanation, who claim that UA won't answer the phone, won't call back, won't respond to written correspondence, who claim that accounts are summarily closed w/o warning, w/o discussion, w/o any adjudication, w/o any conversation, and w/o any dispute process - this has made me very nervous about gifting miles to in a fully compliant manner to anyone, even family.

Your case doesn't sound dissimilar to one case in particular where the poster also claimed to be donating miles for use in a charitable endeavor.

If I were you, I'd be very hesitant to do this. In fact, given recent posts, I wouldn't do it.

If this is something you really want to do, I wonder if it would be a good strategy to write to MP and ask for pre-clearance. Perhaps that might be an appropriate CYA measure to protect against these alleged unilateral confiscations.
The reaction I had to these same threads was that grifters got caught. Read the AA forum versions,,, invariablely these threads have untold details
LaserSailor is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 2:41 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,645
Originally Posted by LaserSailor View Post
The reaction I had to these same threads was that grifters got caught. Read the AA forum versions,,, invariablely these threads have untold details
Is gifting considered cause for confiscation of miles?

I thought gifting was OK, only selling was a problem.

Perhaps there are untold details. I agree. But, we don't know.
FlyWorld is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 2:55 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: ORD
Programs: UA Silver, Marriott Platinum/LT Platinum, Hilton Gold
Posts: 5,318
Originally Posted by LaserSailor View Post
The reaction I had to these same threads was that grifters got caught. Read the AA forum versions,,, invariablely these threads have untold details
+1, they're may be some honest mistakes but I don't trust any of these stories.

I gifted around 10 separate tickets to family members, including 3 with a different last name, during 2015. No problems at all.
JBord is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 2:57 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 393
Originally Posted by FlyWorld View Post
The recent reports of MP accounts being closed and miles being confiscated from people who claim to have not violated any MP T&Cs and who claim that UA refuses to even so much as provide an explanation, who claim that UA won't answer the phone, won't call back, won't respond to written correspondence, who claim that accounts are summarily closed w/o warning, w/o discussion, w/o any adjudication, w/o any conversation, and w/o any dispute process
I thought this was complete tongue and cheek given that its absolutely incredulous that this would happen as stated in those postings, and with no response whatsoever. It doesn't make sense. Until you said the following:

Originally Posted by FlyWorld View Post
If I were you, I'd be very hesitant to do this. In fact, given recent posts, I wouldn't do it.
What? MP has something like 30 Million members earning and bring millions of miles per day for friends and family on airlines around the world. No issue at all. Two unconfirmed reports on a whining website doesn't really substantiate the hysteria in my opinion.
airzim is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: