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United Mileage Plus program complaint

New Orleans, LA
posts: 4
reviews: 2
United Mileage Plus program complaint

I wanted to share with the forum a recent negative experience that I had with United's Mileage Plus program. I travel work some what frequently. (~50,000 miles a year). I recently went to Nairobi from New Orleans via Brussels. I flew United from New Orleans to Newark and on to Brussels. From Brussels I flew Brussels Airlines to Nairobi (a Star Alliance Member). I bought the tickets for the whole trip through United. Apparently the Star Alliance Members will only award frequent flyer miles for certain classes of ticket. This wasn't clear to me when I brought the ticket. Brussels Airlines will not award the miles for "L" class tickets. On the Brussels to Nairobi leg of the trip I did not receive any of the 4000+ miles. I called Milleage Plus and emailed with them several times and Inited would not do anything about this situation. It was very frustrating and disappointing.

19 replies to this topic
Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 17,100
reviews: 5
1. Re: United Mileage Plus program complaint

It's your responsibility to check as to which fare classes earn miles. Here's where you should have looked.

united.com/CMS/…

Lufthansa Group carriers (Austrian, Swiss, Brussels) are a bit stingy with miles for their lower fare classes.

Edited: 8:53 pm, November 11, 2013
Sydney, Australia
posts: 1,071
reviews: 6
2. Re: United Mileage Plus program complaint

This situation is not unique to United and Star Alliance. I am a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer programme and there are similar conditions about flights with its OneWorld partners. However USBusinessTraveller is correct. It is up to us to check the conditions which are constantly changing depending on the business relationships between the airlines. However if the flight which you failed to get points on was a cheap fare, then my attitude is that saving money is better than gaining points.

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 1,722
reviews: 35
3. Re: United Mileage Plus program complaint

Agree with the previous poster - it is your responsibility to check. The reward programs that I am on all have different policies. Some zero mileage accrual on tickets, others only have 50% mileage accrual for certain tickets, while others have 150%.

For those not familiar, even though you have an economy class ticket, there are a number of different ticket classes within economy. These are different due to what the ticket offers - eg. Full refund, change of dates free, etc, right down to fully discounted with no change of name/date, etc. So, some ticket classes don't offer frequent flyer miles - which is normally the discounted tickets. If you buy the ticket, read the terms and conditions on the ticket as they do vary.

New Orleans, LA
posts: 4
reviews: 2
4. Re: United Mileage Plus program complaint

I now understand this policy. But I find it a bad policy. I think it is ridiculous that I flew over 4000+ On a Star Alliance carrier and will not receive credit. This makes me rethink my choice of frequent flyer mile program.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 6,175
reviews: 75
5. Re: United Mileage Plus program complaint

The other alliances are no different. I learned the same lesson with American and One World a few years ago. Not much you can do about it.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 17,100
reviews: 5
6. Re: United Mileage Plus program complaint

jjhembling,

"This makes me rethink my choice of frequent flyer mile program."

Did you read post #2? This happens across all frequent flyer programs and alliances. It's not unique to MileagePlus. You'll encounter it whichever program you're in.

It's the operating carrier (SN in your example) that awards the miles, and they don't usually award any more miles than they do to pax in their own FF program, and often less.

Edited: 10:24 pm, November 11, 2013
New Orleans, LA
posts: 4
reviews: 2
7. Re: United Mileage Plus program complaint

I believe that many of the other alliances probably do the same, but I have had a few other issues with United's Mileage Plus and the Star Alliance and this issue adds to the frustration with the program. I'll be looking for a new one.

London, United...
posts: 16,425
reviews: 23
8. Re: United Mileage Plus program complaint

You are not reading the posts really are you, as you did not enquire about mileage entitlement. As such, expect to encounter the exact same issue again.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 17,100
reviews: 5
9. Re: United Mileage Plus program complaint

If the OP has other problems with MP then fair enough. Though I'd caution him about whether or not the grass is greener on the other side.

As he flies 50,000 miles a year that's Gold status on United (free E+) and Delta and Platinum on American, and that gets benefits.

Be aware of Delta's devaluation of elite qualifying miles on partner airlines (including Kenya Airways if he needs to fly to Nairobi again) - crankyflier.com/2013/…

There's been no changes on American, yet, but the general consensus is that they'll probably follow suit once the merger with US is sorted (one way or the other) with a revenue requirement for elite status, as both United and Delta have instigated starting next year (for US residents).

United does have warts, but I'm personally not convinced that any US based alternative would be better or even equal. American maybe, it wouldn't suit me but may suit OP, but I'd wait another year at least.

Dubai, United Arab...
posts: 2,618
reviews: 12
10. Re: United Mileage Plus program complaint

I think there are two issues.

First, the rules are the rules. If every traveler who has not read the rules would expect an exception there would be chaos. Just think not only mile programs but conditions, changes, cancellation etc.

Second you might re-think your priority when booking a flight. Personally the loyalty program is lower priority for me than airline quality, schedule and pricing.

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