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

Bag Allowance when using reward miles for someone else

Bag Allowance when using reward miles for someone else

Old Feb 3, 21, 4:09 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Programs: United; Delta, Korean Air
Posts: 3
Bag Allowance when using reward miles for someone else

I am Premier 1K status and booked reward travel for a family member. On his return (SEA-TAC), the counter agents wouldn't allow two baggage and 70 pounds. Confirmation email clearly states he has two bags at 70 pounds. Counter agents insist that only the Premier 1K member gets that benefit. I don't think this is true. Anyone know why agent would not allow two bags or 70 pounds?
nctaitingfong is offline  
Old Feb 3, 21, 7:08 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: EWR
Programs: UA Premier Platinum
Posts: 190
If it was a premium cabin ticket it should have been allowed. However, I know that status related perks only apply to the status holder and guests when traveling together with the number of guests receiving benefits capped based on level. So if you were not traveling, your family member would not entitled to your benefits. Years ago (you can probably search the threads) the booking person’s status used to apply in some cases

As for the confirmation email indicating they were eligible, that is a mystery, but worth contacting United to hopefully get the expenses refunded!
Repooc17 and Dublin_rfk like this.
Micp3208 is offline  
Old Feb 3, 21, 7:59 am
  #3  
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: 45,777
Originally Posted by nctaitingfong View Post
Confirmation email clearly states he has two bags at 70 pounds.
What cabin was the family member booked in? If economy, the email confirm was wrong. Nonetheless, the passenger should be allowed to rely on that email, so I would complain to UA either way.
Originally Posted by nctaitingfong View Post
Counter agents insist that only the Premier 1K member gets that benefit. I don't think this is true. Anyone know why agent would not allow two bags or 70 pounds?
Premium cabin pax get two bags @70 lbs. Additionally, the 1K allowance is actually 3 bags @70 lbs.
narvik likes this.
Kacee is offline  
Old Feb 3, 21, 9:19 am
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,588
Originally Posted by nctaitingfong View Post
Confirmation email clearly states he has two bags at 70 pounds.
UA's policy is clear: assuming this was an economy class ticket, the passenger was not entitled to your luggage allowance just because the miles came from your account. There is fine print on the receipt that says that the traveler needs status in order to get the baggage charges waived. That said, DOT regulations require that UA print the correct information on the receipt. While the old receipt format was probably technically compliant -- the correct value was printed on the receipt, crossed out, and replaced with $0 and then disclaimer -- the new receipt format does not comply with the law. The correct baggage charges are not listed, even in a misleading way; you'd have to go to the website to find them.

I suggest asking UA for a refund based upon the receipt. When they decline, file a consumer complaint with the DOT here: https://www.transportation.gov/airco...umer-complaint . It only takes a few minutes, and (a) it will get the complaint sent to someone at UA who's specifically tasked with regulatory compliance, and (b) it'll help get this issue on the DOT's radar.
Kacee, SPN Lifer, Nihon_Ni and 1 others like this.

Last edited by jsloan; Feb 3, 21 at 11:15 am Reason: typo: technicality -> technically
jsloan is offline  
Old Feb 3, 21, 9:29 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 6,428
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
What cabin was the family member booked in? If economy, the email confirm was wrong. Nonetheless, the passenger should be allowed to rely on that email, so I would complain to UA either way.
Premium cabin pax get two bags @70 lbs. Additionally, the 1K allowance is actually 3 bags @70 lbs.
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
UA's policy is clear: assuming this was an economy class ticket, the passenger was not entitled to your luggage allowance just because the miles came from your account. There is fine print on the receipt that says that the traveler needs status in order to get the baggage charges waived. That said, DOT regulations require that UA print the correct information on the receipt. While the old receipt format was probably technicality compliant -- the correct value was printed on the receipt, crossed out, and replaced with $0 and then disclaimer -- the new receipt format does not comply with the law. The correct baggage charges are not listed, even in a misleading way; you'd have to go to the website to find them.

I suggest asking UA for a refund based upon the receipt. When they decline, file a consumer complaint with the DOT here: https://www.transportation.gov/airco...umer-complaint . It only takes a few minutes, and (a) it will get the complaint sent to someone at UA who's specifically tasked with regulatory compliance, and (b) it'll help get this issue on the DOT's radar.
For me, the new receipt seems to have a get-out-of-jail footnote for UA that says 1K membership needed, even if the ticket includes only a passenger without 1K status.

(MP award booked by 1K account for non-1K account)

That said, I still think it's unclear. It could mean that the 1K member just has to go to the airport with the traveller.

Last edited by fumje; Feb 3, 21 at 9:35 am Reason: add screenshot
fumje is offline  
Old Feb 3, 21, 9:38 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,588
Originally Posted by fumje View Post
For me, the new receipt seems to have a get-out-of-jail footnote for UA that says 1K membership needed, even if the ticket includes only a passenger without 1K status.
Sorry, no.

Here's a link to a previous thread when this came up: Is an "eTicket Itinerary and Receipt" a legally binding document?

(This is the same thread when I realized that UA had changed their receipt in a format that is not compliant with the regulation). You can find the actual text in the last couple of posts.

The problem is, the correct number isn't on the receipt. That's illegal, even though the footnote is present to indicate that the table shouldn't apply.
jsloan is offline  
Old Feb 3, 21, 9:46 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 6,428
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Sorry, no.

Here's a link to a previous thread when this came up: Is an "eTicket Itinerary and Receipt" a legally binding document?

(This is the same thread when I realized that UA had changed their receipt in a format that is not compliant with the regulation). You can find the actual text in the last couple of posts.

The problem is, the correct number isn't on the receipt. That's illegal, even though the footnote is present to indicate that the table shouldn't apply.
Thanks for the link and reference, hadn't seen that discussion. Seems clear-cut in the regulation.

For the record, I didn't mean I would let UA 'out of jail' with that footnote, but rather that I think UA is hoping it serves as an adequate fig leaf when they can't figure out how to make a proper receipt. But even so, it is still unclear what that footnote means.
SPN Lifer and jsloan like this.
fumje is offline  
Old Feb 3, 21, 10:03 am
  #8  
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: 45,777
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The problem is, the correct number isn't on the receipt. That's illegal, even though the footnote is present to indicate that the table shouldn't apply.
Originally Posted by fumje View Post
For the record, I didn't mean I would let UA 'out of jail' with that footnote, but rather that I think UA is hoping it serves as an adequate fig leaf when they can't figure out how to make a proper receipt. But even so, it is still unclear what that footnote means.
It's a reasonable bet this is indeed a weak effort by UA to loophole itself out of the reg.

Given the nifty things UA is able to accomplish with its IT when it actually tries, it's really not excusable this hasn't been properly fixed.
jsloan likes this.
Kacee is offline  
Old Feb 3, 21, 11:14 am
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,588
Originally Posted by fumje View Post
For the record, I didn't mean I would let UA 'out of jail' with that footnote, but rather that I think UA is hoping it serves as an adequate fig leaf when they can't figure out how to make a proper receipt. But even so, it is still unclear what that footnote means.
Fair enough. I guess that may be what they're hoping.

As for the meaning of the footnote: heck, in this case, I could easily read that as meaning "as long as you (the redeemer) still have 1K status at the time of check-in, the traveler is entitled to these allowances, even if you're not traveling together." I don't even think that's much of a stretch, in context: since UA knows the traveler's status, and knows that the 1K isn't on the reservation, you could easily deduce that the footnote actually applies to the status of person who booked the travel. OP certainly appears to have believed that, and I honestly can't point to anything in that receipt that would say otherwise.
narvik and SPN Lifer like this.
jsloan is offline  
Old Feb 3, 21, 12:37 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 6,428
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
It's a reasonable bet this is indeed a weak effort by UA to loophole itself out of the reg.

Given the nifty things UA is able to accomplish with its IT when it actually tries, it's really not excusable this hasn't been properly fixed.
Indeed, for example I think they have made themselves a big, fully functional 'PZ=0 systemwide this instant' button!

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Fair enough. I guess that may be what they're hoping.

As for the meaning of the footnote: heck, in this case, I could easily read that as meaning "as long as you (the redeemer) still have 1K status at the time of check-in, the traveler is entitled to these allowances, even if you're not traveling together." I don't even think that's much of a stretch, in context: since UA knows the traveler's status, and knows that the 1K isn't on the reservation, you could easily deduce that the footnote actually applies to the status of person who booked the travel. OP certainly appears to have believed that, and I honestly can't point to anything in that receipt that would say otherwise.
That interpretation seems to me totally valid as well. Bringing it back to the case at hand, I agree with the suggestion that nctaitingfong request a refund for any fees paid. And let us know what happens, please, nctaitingfong!
Kacee and SPN Lifer like this.
fumje is offline  
Old Feb 3, 21, 1:00 pm
  #11  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 49,968
UA may well respond that it's e-ticket receipt complies with a strict reading of the applicable rule, 14 CFR Sec. 399.85(c)

On all e-ticket confirmations for air transportation within, to or from the United States, including the summary page at the completion of an online purchase and a post-purchase email confirmation, a U.S. carrier....The fee information provided for a carry-on bag and the first and second checked bag must be expressed as specific charges taking into account any factors (e.g., frequent flyer status, early purchase, and so forth) that affect those charges.

In OP's situation, the e-ticket receipt specifies the fees, e.g. $0, but then explains that those take into account a FF status.

I would still try the refund route and might complain to DOT, but would not spend the refund until it is in hand (which might never happen).
Often1 is online now  
Old Feb 3, 21, 1:04 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 14,588
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
In OP's situation, the e-ticket receipt specifies the fees, e.g. $0, but then explains that those take into account a FF status.
OK, but in this case, they take into account factors that never applied.

That would be like putting a statement on there saying "No charge for unlimited bags of any weight" with a footnote saying that it only applies if you happen to be Scott Kirby. It's not a reasonable interpretation of that regulation.

Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I would still try the refund route and might complain to DOT, but would not spend the refund until it is in hand (which might never happen).
This is doubtlessly good advice, however.
SPN Lifer likes this.
jsloan is offline  
Old Feb 3, 21, 4:36 pm
  #13  
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: 45,777
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
In OP's situation, the e-ticket receipt specifies the fees, e.g. $0, but then explains that those take into account a FF status.
Except it doesn't specify the fee that was actually charged at the airport. That's noncompliant.

If it said, "without 1K status, the charge will be $xx," that would probably suffice. But it did not.
SPN Lifer and jsloan like this.
Kacee is offline  
Old Feb 3, 21, 9:08 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Houston
Programs: UA 1K and Million Miler, *A Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium, Hertz Five Star,
Posts: 996
If you dont have status it is all about class of service. No need to overcomplicate this
Collierkr is offline  
Old Feb 4, 21, 7:23 am
  #15  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 49,968
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Except it doesn't specify the fee that was actually charged at the airport. That's noncompliant.

If it said, "without 1K status, the charge will be $xx," that would probably suffice. But it did not.
The Rule does not require that. It simply says that the fee "may take into account ... status" The UA e-ticket receipt in question specifies $ fees and then contains a note "taking into account status."

That may not be what one would like or what DOT intended, but it is what they wrote.
Often1 is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: