DoT Forces JAL To Return Transferred Miles To Starwood After They Added Fuel Surcharges For Emirates Shower Class Without Warning

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When things go wrong with the airlines I’ve turned to the DoT to complain and have had good results. They have a convenient online complaint form here if you ever need it.

When American had the nerve to cancel our flight to London, strand us overnight in JFK, lose our baggage, and refuse to cooperate in providing a refund, the DoT stepped in and took care of business. It took a good amount of time, but it was resolved in the end.

The DoT also helped me cancel an American award ticket for free after the electronics ban went into effect, as that materially changed the flight.

When Emirates cancelled $65 tickets from the Maldives, people filed DoT complaints and Emirates reversed course and honored the tickets.

I recommended filing DoT complaints against Southwest when they changed their terms overnight to stop allowing hotel mileage transfers to count toward companion pass. And sure enough, Southwest relented and honored the deal for another 3 months.

After Delta’s epic $50 first class tickets to anywhere in the US, including Alaska and Hawaii, some people with reservations that weren’t ticketed were able to get them honored thanks to the DoT.

Alitalia offered a coupon that made tickets from JFK to Israel under $400 round-trip and then cancelled the tickets by adding terms to the coupon used. I recommended contacting the DoT and Alitalia decided to honor them in the end.

JAL offered the cheapest option to fly Emirates Shower Class, but in November they stealthily added $1,700 in fuel surcharges without warning to that redemption option.

People who transferred Starpoints to JAL were left holding miles that were effectively devalued without notice. JAL refused to waive the fuel surcharges or return their Starpoints. Generally speaking, once you transfer points to an airline, they are stuck there.

I recommended that people complain to the DoT.

DDF member “rileywiles23” wrote to the DoT back in November. It took 2 months, but JAL responded that they will indeed refund his miles back into Starwood Starpoints.

Have you filed a DoT complaint? Share your results in the comments!

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14 Comments On "DoT Forces JAL To Return Transferred Miles To Starwood After They Added Fuel Surcharges For Emirates Shower Class Without Warning"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

Ed Travel

I just sent a complain due to the fact that they cancelled our last week flights to Auckland. Any change they will make them honor them?


Dan, did you notice that there are basically no domestic seats available now in the 7500 category on American for most routes using BA and even AA points straight? Any imput? Thanks


I have transferred points from spg to jal how do i get it back to my spg account?


read the post ?


Shouldn’t someone challenge the whole idea of adding “fuel surcharges” to award ticket? Effectively they are advertising “free” and “award” ticket when in fact it’s only discounted tickets. Why are they allowed to do that?

Chay Loong

Same here. Filed complained in early December and received an email few days ago from JAL US office to return miles to SPG. In the email JAL ask to acknowledge if this is what I hope for. Acknowledged and waiting the process to complete.


Now that JAL added fuel charges what is the best option for the first class seat?


as per your advice i filed a complaint with DoT.
they responded that they would return the miles.


I complained to DOT about Alitalia having a mistake on their check in system showing 2 checked bags in Y instead of 1. At the airport I was charged 100$ for the bag. All they did was escalate the complaint to Alitalia twice, who claimed they weren’t responsible for the mistake.

A European


Air Berlin lost my stroller and just didn’t respond to my request for over 2 month, I complained to DoT and got almost the full amount of the stroller (approx. 800€)


I have a DOT complaint going with NZ over the Sept cancelled biz class “sale”.

NZ tried to say it’s not reasonable to expect such a low fare. I countered that there are all sorts of super low cost plane flights in todays climate, that the whole idea of a sale is a good price, that many businesses offer loss leaders, that Ford sells trucks $6K below MSRP.

Waiting for the next round of nonsense.


No luck complaining to the DOT about the Virgin Australia business class sale cancellation. Bummer….

Rephael Chaim Simcha Binyomin

I missed a flight a year ago. Called up the airline and asked them if I can get a refund or credit since I never flew with them. They told me this kind of claim has to be processed through their email claims which I did repeatedly with never having gotten an answer back from them. Called them up and told them I never got a response after following their instructions and got no help.
Do you think this would help?