US Airways backs off their free miles giveaway


I’ve written a few good things about US Airways this week, both related to their Dividend Miles loyalty program and their in-flight product. Indeed, it seems that the folks out in Tempe are finally starting to regroup and do what they can to build their company back up into a top-notch travel experience provider. At least that’s what I thought at the time. It turns out maybe that isn’t really the case.

Apparently they have decided that the 1,000 miles they promised folks on Monday – with the tag "They’re waiting in your account!" – was an error. The miles were not actually in the accounts. That part we already knew. The somewhat surprising part, however, is that they apparently never will be.

A number of Dividend Miles members are receiving follow-up emails today with this text:

Earlier this week, we inadvertently delivered an email message to many of our Dividend Miles members’ email accounts. Unfortunately, one of those accounts was yours. Worse, this email incorrectly stated that we posted 1,000 Dividend Miles into your account. This was not accurate and the email message was sent in error.

We apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused you and appreciate your understanding.

Whoopsie.

I know that the miles are a liability on the books and it would suck to bear that. But this is not the way you attract customers. It definitely is not the way to make folks loyal to your brand.

I have no idea if my account is one that was a mistake or not. I guess I’ll just have to wait to see if the miles ever show up. Easy come, easy go. Both with the miles and loyalty these days it would seem.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

11 Comments

  1. 1000 miles is not a lot. Really, how awful could it be to just stick 1000 miles in each account that got the e-mail and be done with it?

  2. as many miles as US Airways doles out via promotions, I don’t think it would have hurt them too much to post these miles to people’s accounts. I received both e-mails and while I am not in any way upset that I didn’t get the miles, it does seem a bit tacky/cheap to say, oh whoops, no miles after all!

  3. I guess the original email was mistaken in my case, too. Seriously, how hard would it be to give everyone the 1,000 miles? They’re not going a long way to improve their image, which here in Philadelphia is abysmal already.

  4. What’s weird is that I didn’t get the initial email saying I would receive 1,000 miles but my husband DID receive it. However, 1k miles were actually deposited into MY account as “CUSTOMER APPRECIATION BONUS” and my husband got that denial message. Not a confidence builder in the program.

  5. I just opened my account and one of the first messages I got was this one. Off to a great start US Airways.

  6. A few years ago we tried to get a credit for a car rental in Vegas for my wife’s Dividend Miles account. After phone calls and written letters (not emails) with the rental contract and Visa billing attached both to the car rental company and USAir we got nowhere. It was critical to get the credit to keep her account alive and retain the miles. In the end her miles were deleted. We finally said screw it and gave up. Lots of airlines out there with loyalty programs including Star Alliance partners.

  7. I got the emails on both my husband’s and my accounts. Since we both have miles that were expiring soon I was hoping that the 1,000 miles would extend the expiration dates. Now I have to take the time to do something else to extend the expiration date (buy magazines, etc). US Air should just honor their promise.

    1. @Calypso- I downloaded their search toolbar to keep my miles active. It is horribly intrusive and I’d never keep it installed for longer than necessary to get the miles, but they did post the 1 mile I earned from using it and my account is now active. There are many other ways to keep miles active for very little time/money investment and better than the Magazines deal. One of my favorite resources for advice in such matters is http://www.GoMiles.com. You can track all your accounts in one place and they have expiry-avoidance alerts and advice. Give it a try!

      @Don- Sadly, the partner thing isn’t too surprising. I know at least one person who used small claims court (or the threat thereof) to fight and get their miles reinstated when they did have qualifying activity (though not with US), but probably not worth it unless you’ve got a pile of miles.

  8. companies make mistakes. If a bank deposited extra $ in your account, you wouldn’t be able to keep it. Miles incur costs for loyalty programs. Keep it real. give them a break.

  9. @Roger. Points are NOT cash. Ask the IRS. Not to us as users anyway! Most would never ever use the 1k points or just dump them off with points.com (i never fly scareways!). This was a bone-head move IMO.

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