Letter to United Airlines Customer Relations Regarding Mileage Plus Program – Easy to Earn, Nearly Impossible to Redeem.

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We wrote the following letter to United and received the corporate response below. The relevance to a golf course owner is that if you are offering a customer loyalty program is that it has to be fairly earned by the golfer and easily redeemed when the targets have been reached. United’s program only meets one of those benchmarks.

Am I being unreasonable? Please comment below after reading the correspondence. Thank you.

February 20, 2018

United Airlines, Inc.
PO Box 06649
Chicago, IL 60606-0649
United States

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

Revenue management is a very important software application to ensure that income is maximized for the benefit of United’s shareholders and employees. Positive earnings ensure that dividends are paid, salaries are fair for the 86,000 employees, and that capital is available to continue flying the 748 mainline aircraft and the 475 regional aircraft serving 342 destinations.

There is a third component to have a highly successful company: loyal passengers. Since merging with Continental in 2012, finding Business/First saver awards have been near impossible. The talented agents at DEN comment as to increasing frustration of frequent flyers, like myself.

When traveling personally to Hawaii or Internationally, I prefer to buy a saver award for my wife and purchase a full fare coach ticket and upgrade to business. With 2.803 million miles flown on United, my goal is to reach 3.0 million.

From March 31 through July 7, 2017, I searched daily for a SAVER award from Denver (DEN) to Kahului (OGG) for a departure around February 28, 2018, with a return around March 13, 2018. Nada, Zilch, Nil, Zero, Diddly Squat. Finally, in frustration, I purchased On July 7, 2017, for $3,852 business/first class tickets only with great chagrin to learn that within the last 72 hours there were SAVER award seats available to Kahului on flights that would have been acceptable. Yikes! I am frustrated from the hours spent looking for seats unrewarded in a program that promises great rewards.

In two weeks, I am going to face the same exasperating battle. We are seeking to fly from Denver to arrive in Bangkok (BKK) on February 2, 2019, via Hong Kong (HKG) and departing on February 19, 2019, from Nội Bài International Airport (HAN) returning to Denver. It is with great angst that I have March 6, 2018, marked on my calendar to again begin the fruitless search to find seats on the flights detailed above on a United trans-pacific flight.

Would you be so kind as to have a reservation agent book those flights charging my accrued mileage balance of 638,604 miles and my credit card on file with United for those flights? We are flexible in arriving a few days early or departing a few days late. Thank you for your kind consideration.

Appreciatively,

James J. Keegan (UK688433)
UK688433

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February 22, 2018 (via email)

Dear Mr. Keegan:

Thank you for being a Premier Platinum, we appreciate your business.

I am sorry to learn you had trouble using your MileagePlus miles. While MileagePlus award seats are capacity-controlled and will not be available on every flight, most MileagePlus members are successful in redeeming miles for free award travel to the destinations of their choice.

Our Revenue Management Department closely monitors the number of seats used for award travel versus the number of seats used for revenue opportunities. The availability of MileagePlus seats changes continuously as reservations are made and cancelled (sic), but our system will automatically quote the lowest MileagePlus Award available that you qualify for at the time of your request based on your specific reservation. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer Saver awards if they are not available.

As we are committed to excellent customer service, we make every effort to accommodate our customers. I regret I am unable to change or make reservations in response to e-mail requests because of the complexity of some routings, the frequent changes in fares and availability, and the lag time in communicating via e-mail. Therefore, I ask that you contact the Premier Priority Desk at 1-800-225-8900. They are available 24 hours a day to assist you.

We appreciate your business and look froward (sic) to welcoming you on board a future United Airlines flight.

Regards,

Name Redacted
United Airlines

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