airline mileage points deleted
July 29, 2009 2:15 PM   Subscribe

Do I have any recourse if an airline deletes my mileage points?

My wife and I have been collecting mileage points on American Airlines waiting for that special trip to come along With more than 350,000 miles saved we finally tried to redeem them only to discover that they'd all been canceled out as of June 29th, 2009! We had no idea there was a time limit. I there anything that we can do? Help!!
posted by tangyraspberry to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
Flyertalk's AA forum. These people KNOW.
posted by mdonley at 2:25 PM on July 29, 2009

Yeah, I thought that was common knowledge among airline miles. You could try writing snail mail to the president if you haven't called the AAdvantage people yet but I think you are essentially SOL. Sorry.
posted by JJ86 at 2:40 PM on July 29, 2009

Did you earn the mileage from a CREDIT CARD or from actual travel? AA would have more reason to possibly consider reinstating the miles if you are a frequent flyer (platinum level or higher) and if you could possibly promise to fly again in the near future - though if you let it lapse for 18 months, then it's pretty obvious you're not a frequent flyer.

If you earned most of the miles by using a cc though, you're pretty much SOL. You might offer to pay a "fee" to reinstate the miles. Seriously weigh how much you have to pay vs. the actual cost of the flights. May or may not be worth it.

Don't lose hope. I accidentally let my USAir miles lapse and lost 19,000 miles last year, and twice they came back to me and said we will reinstate the miles if 1) you pay $ xxx or 2) travel again within the next six months. Not sure if AA would do that though. I didn't follow through with USAir though because I pretty much fly exclusively AA now due to my departure and international arrival cities.

Ultimately, YOU are responsible for tracking YOUR miles.
posted by HeyAllie at 2:59 PM on July 29, 2009

From AA's FAQ page:

Can I reactivate all of the miles that expired from my account, even if they expired at different times?
A: As long as the miles expired on or after December 31, 2002, then there's no limit to the number of miles you can reactivate. It doesn't matter if your miles expired at different times. You can reactivate your entire expired mileage balance or just the portion you need. The cost to reactivate miles is $50 for every 5,000 miles (subject to 7.5% Federal excise tax), plus a $30 per transaction, per account processing fee.

Q: How long is this offer available?
A: Eligible expired miles can be reactivated through December 31, 2009. Once reactivated, the miles will be available for your use for at least 18 months.

At that rate, it would cost you at least $3,500 plus taxes to get your 350,000 miles back - is it worth it to you? So definitely cost out what your trip WOULD have cost you using miles vs. what it would cost you to reactivate the miles.
posted by HeyAllie at 3:06 PM on July 29, 2009

It could be worth it. The 125,000 mile F awards can be redeemed on partner airlines like Cathay which routinely sell first-class tickets for $10-30,000. (AA's F tickets are slightly cheaper, but not by much.)

Anyway, ask on Flyertalk, as suggested above.
posted by jrockway at 3:12 PM on July 29, 2009

Advice from a friend who had a similar problem:
I assume your mileage points expired because you had not flown on an American Airlines flight during the last 18 months. I had a similar problem with United. Upon consideration, I realized that while I hadn't flown on United in recent times, I had flown on one of their partner airlines (and not registered to receive any mileage credit for it at the time). After I submitted the details of that flight for retroactive mileage credit, all of my other, expired mileage points were reinstated as well. If you flew on any of American's partners in recent times, you can request credit for those flights and it might solve your problem for free. Good luck!
posted by RogerB at 5:47 PM on July 29, 2009

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