17 Responses

  1. Dave
    Dave at |

    FatWallet and its ilk are probably a better time investment. You just put a bookmarklet on your bookmark bar and just push it while on a merchant’s site before you make a purchase. It will tell you the percent you get back and you push ok or something. Some number of weeks (generally after the return period) your money gets deposited in your fatwallet account.

    Dave

  2. worldtraveller2
    worldtraveller2 at |

    great article! maybe they are listening!

  3. HikerT
    HikerT at |

    Actually, when things go south it really isn’t the consumer stuck in the middle. Pick the merchant, affiliate, airline, or all 3! Shopping portals work well until the consumer tries to game the system, whether that be use of a coupon that invalidates the referral or the consumer seeking errors or weaknesses to exploit. Did anyone doing a $1.50 purchase at Easy CGI think the odds were 99.99% it would net them 8,325 miles? Sure, shopping portals could do better at listing exclusions and minimizing errors, but those type of problems will always exist. The solution for that starts with the consumer not the airline. How many consumers attempted to contact AA shopping about the 83K error? How many consumers contacted the portal or Easy CGI to verify that a $1.50 purchase would net them all those miles? The reality here is this so called “problem” does not apply to the vast majority of shopping portal transactions. I would rather see a discussion of real issues and real solutions. What are the real issues? Those of us who do our fair share of shopping through these portals know some are far more reliable and consistent than others. I’d put sites like fatwallet and ebates at the top of the list and airline portals at the bottom of the list. More than anything I’d like to see the airlines require their portals to implement tracking tickets like the cash back sites so that consumers can verify waht purchases were reported by the merchant and the amounts that are pending.

  4. beaubo
    beaubo at |

    The AA/Verizon and US/HA-EasyCGI scenarios are vastly different.

    1. Ubiquity of mileage offers
    Many mileage malls had many webhosting company mileage earning offers in the mid four figures, including EasyCGI parent subsidiaries.

    The EasyCGI offer itself was materially different on US (4757) and HA (7269), so there was clearly a deliberate methodology to each offer. BTW, the 8300+ only kicks in if you qualify for separate 75% DM online shopping bonus for PLats thru July 31).

    2. Clarity of T/Cs
    Both HA and US offers had clear no restrictions offers, which was indeed intriguing, but certainly not unprecedented…..the US mileage mall deal for TrackItBack in Dec 09, which I participated over 4.6 million miles and Gary Leff placed surrogate orders for 15 million miles, had the same lack of quantity purchase caps.

    3. Purchasing conduct
    There was no attempt to obsfucate my purchasing conduct by ‘flying under radar’- buying in small quantities over a longer period of time or opening up many different accounts for friends and family and using different credit cards to mask any unusually large purchase patterns, hoping the deal would be preserved. The offer was so well-vetted for its legitimacy, that made scaleable purchases in an obvious and transparent manner using ONE account, credit card and name. It would have been easy for FreeCause to identify our purchasing patterns and alert about any issues they might have with the structure and execution of the EasyCGI offer.

    4. Vendor/Affiliate FollowUp
    I personally have no interest in holding anyone hostage for mistake fares/rates. In fact, any mistake rate where the other party recognized an error in a reasonable period of time and contacted me directly, I was more than happy to relent, with no expectation of any consideration.

    Cartera apparently contacted the bulk of participants within 48 hours with a clear explanation. For me, that would have been sufficient, no appeals, no legal threats, no internet petitions. FWIW, I did not participate in the AA/Verizon deal because of the seeming obviousness of the mitake.

    In the case of EasyCGI, for 8 weeks, there has been no proactive contact by the mileage mall (FreeCause) advising that there was a mistake in either the mileage mall offer amount or T/C. And the vendor originally cancelled the purchases I made NOT because of anything mileage mall related, but rather they suspected credit card fraud. Only AFTER it was proven to EasyCGI that the purchases were all legit, did they conjure up that a ‘rogue’ affiliate had made an unauthorized offer in principle, not that any content of the offer, was in question. Neither US or HA have ever made any overtures that a mistake in the mileage mall offer earning amount or T/C happened.

    FWIW, EasyCGI never contacted us to advise that there was credit card fraud and give us a chance to clear our names and maintain the accounts we had purchased. They unilaterally and without any notification cancelled the purchases. Only by chance did a colleague of mine check his EasyCGI webhosting account and notice it was canceled. Otherwise, we would not have found out about the cancelations until our next credit card billing cycle.

  5. beaubo
    beaubo at |

    As of June 29, webhosting offers of EasyCGI and other parent company (Endurance) subsidiary offers:

    cross reference webhosting mileage mall offers:
    http://www.webflyer.com/deals/mileage_mall/search.php?submit=s&cat_key=35

    easy CGI
    US 4757
    HA 7227

    ipowerweb
    Amtrak 7141 pts,
    Virgin Atlantic 5320
    US 3171

    dot5hosting
    Hawaiian 1550
    US 1014

    powweb
    Hawaiian 4603

  6. marathon man
    marathon man at |

    Great article. Best I’ve seen in fact!

    Call me bad guy everyone but sometimes I think that if I’ve ever considered gaming the system, it was because the legitimate way never worked for me first. Lol.

    That said… I think the loser here is everyone.

    A frustrated consumer who read the rules and timed it well in advance and bought online hoping to get some needed miles…

    An airline who once again looks bad for having their name and product associated with failure…

    An affiliate or manager in-fighting and squabbling over commissions..

    And even the stores who ‘sold out’ to the above business factions and later probably have to raise prices to make up for over all loses when things mount against their sales. They look less competitive in the end and the consumer, like this write, throws his or her hands up and walks away.

    No sale. No soup for you!

    And you wonder what’s up with the economy?

    ;MM

  7. JohnnieD
    JohnnieD at |

    Apparently anyone involved the transaction chain can cancel a mileage earning transaction EXCEPT the origional purchaser. Sounds very much to me like an airline canceling a ticket because the fare was a ‘mistake’ BUT if I bought a ticket for Oct 8th when i meant to buy it for Nov 8th, well, sorry that will be an extra $150 fee……

  8. Deltahater
    Deltahater at |

    Gary:

    While you don’t have the energy to fight the AA/Verizon/Cartera mess, there are plenty of folks who do. The situation is not quite how you described it, but it is close. If you want to follow our battle, email me and I keep you in the loop. I guess YOU can see my email address posted above.

    Cheers

    Deltahater

  9. HikerT
    HikerT at |

    Ditto what Seth said. All you have to do is add up the miles and compare to the purchase. $1.50 at easy CGI for thousands of miles? Sorry, doesn’t pass the sniff test! How about a month of hosting at easy CGI for thousands of miles? Getting closer, but still doesn’t pass. How about a paid year of hosting at easy CGI for thousands of miles. Sure, that might make sense. Wait, but they are paying out for just 1 month of hosting! Sounds too good to be true. How about signing up multiple times a easy CGI? Gee, I wonder if they’ll catch on. Duh!

    Website hosting referrals are usually only paid for UNIQUE NEW CUSTOMERS. You can see this in Easy CGI’s affiliate T&C:

    http://www.easycgi.com/affiliate/affiliateagreement.bml

    These T&C are not much different than the T&C you can google for other web hosts paying referrals so I have no reason to assume the T&C were changed after the fact. The problem here is FreeCause didn’t put all of these in the T&C and yes they share some blame but so does the consumer that tried to take advantage of this and is now told santa claus really didn’t exist.

  10. Benny
    Benny at |

    You really should fight it. That nasty attitude of yours should come in handy. Give it some thought.

  11. marathon man
    marathon man at |

    Taken from above… i gotta laugh:

    “The problem here is FreeCause didn’t put all of these in the T&C and yes they share some blame but so does the consumer that tried to take advantage of this and is now told santa claus really didn’t exist.”

    Well, firstly, if we DO get those mega miles then Santa does indeed exist! I mean, merry effing xmass right?

    but that said, my main issue–regardless of whether I get miles or not, is that these companies actually employee people who get paid to put offers together and they have no idea how to manage them, control them, be honest and forthright, be thorough, be clear, seem less tricky, honor things, promote things, put the right miles with the right products, do timeframes, have good customer service, own up to problems, and shall I go on?

    I can think of people who are out of work and have nothing better than a high school degree who could do a far better job than most of the jokers who run this stuff. And yet they DO in fact con most regular users into buying through their spotty portals! HOW, WHY?

    if anyone is scamming anyone, it is them.

    As for the mega offers offering so much that it cannot be nor should not even be believed, well, that’s all relative. It’s all about value and WE here obviously know the value of what these miles are all about.

    But heck, for many people I know who do not fly, miles are worthless, so who cares about 1 million US AIR? To them, ya cant redeem them any time they want to fly anyway, so they would rather buy a ticket or drive.

  12. Million Mile Secrets
    Million Mile Secrets at |

    A very nice summary and charts. Are you a consultant?

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