July 16th, 2012
United Refuses To Honor 4 Mile (Hong Kong) Island Awards; At Least 1 DansDeals Forum Member Already Has Flown!
Sorry folks, no party in Hong Kong will be happening like there was in Las Vegas and in the Bahamas in the past when hundreds of DansDeals members nabbed price mistakes for all expenses paid vacations.
“Hi Everyone, over the weekend, we discovered a united.com programming error that allowed customers to obtain Mileage Plus travel awards to and from Hong Kong for as little as four miles roundtrip per person, substantially below published levels, which we disclose to customers. We have since corrected the error and will be in contact with customers who have tickets issued at the incorrect award amounts. Customers will be given the choice to redeem at the correct mileage amount or re-deposit their award with all fees waived. We regret any inconvenience this has caused you, and appreciate your understanding.
Director, Customer Insights
In other words: Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.
I’m not going to advise anyone what to do if anything at all, but if you do feel like taking some action I will be happy to inform you of your options. It’s definitely within your rights to file a complaint to the US DOT. These complaints are big black marks for the airlines and are your way of fighting back should you so desire. The DOT enforces penalties of up to $27,000 per incident, and says that mistake fares must be honored. United obviously thinks that they will not be found liable under the circumstances for these awards or else they would have honored the tickets. And of course you can always file a complaint with your state’s attorney general, worst that can happen is that United may throw you a bone to go away.
I’m sure some folks will want to take this nuclear and file a claim in small claims court or maybe even try to create a class-action out of this. I wish you luck and lots of time to burn as you’ll need both!
So long to my 3 free first class trips we had booked all over the world…I hardly knew ‘ye. Now I’ll just have to go back to good ole’ reliable card churning to fly around the world in first class for free!
In the “darn it, I wish I was able to just jump on a plane at the drop of a hat” department, a longtime trusted DDF member, “E” (who was the 30th DDF member out of 4,500 members to signup for a free DDF account and whom I had the pleasure of having dinner with at the sadly closed Clubhouse Cafe at a DDF meetup last year) has posted multiple updates from his trip to Hong Kong to DDF. Sensing opportunity he used an account with just 1,000 miles in it to book a first class flight that left yesterday on Lufthansa via Frankfurt that left with just 3 first class passengers on it (gotta love the First Class Terminal there and the Panamera ride to the plane!) and he is now in Hong Kong and even has his return boarding passes already in hand!