No agreement on award miles

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Jul 3, 2018
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#1
I followed the pattern I used for years in order to make an on-line purchase from a retailer in order to receive airline award miles. This time it was from a Black Friday ad from Staples to receive American Airlines award miles. After waiting for a couple of months, and not receiving any award miles, I contacted American Airlines.

American Airlines, who was very responsive, said that they could not find the order. “Because AAdvantage miles for partner activity are awarded directly from our partners, most partners choose to resolve their own issues directly.” In addition, “...we respectfully ask that you contact them with your concerns.” I notified American Airlines that I had copies of the order I placed in case they wanted to look more. I received a more detailed response from AA, including the Staples terms and conditions exceptions. Apparently, because I picked the order up in the store, it appears I wasn’t eligible to receive rewards. In the times of ordering online and picking it up at the store, and also not leaving the order on my stoop, how ridiculous! I have picked up many an order at other stores, and never had a problem getting my awards. According to American Airlines, the exceptions would not allow American Airlines to make my awards credit.

I wrote a letter to the Staples CEO, after not receiving any response from the Staples Help Center, and received a response from his representative. She told me the terms and conditions are posted on the Staples.com site. Our responses went back-and-forth for the next couple of weeks. I asked her to explain why I could not find the terms and conditions (unless I skipped over it). She responded, “We do not specifically state anything in our terms and conditions for the American Airline reward program as it is not our program.” I could not understand what she was saying. In addition, I noted I made years of purchases with retailers through the airlines and never had a problem getting my airline awards. Lastly, I have not received a response to my last email to Staples.

American, said it was Staples who prevented me from getting the awards due as had been expected. I contacted Staples, but received little satisfaction, followed by the fact that Staples stated the American Airlines is not our program. Is the program Staples or American Airlines? Again, I have not had this happen before, not getting award points when I thought I would get them.

I do not accumulate airline awards very often, so each one I can get, I cherish. If Staples appears to be not allowing the simple store pickup, when all the others do, shame on them.

I purchased: 11/24/2017, $370 (without taxes) and was supposed to get 3 miles/dollar award.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,789
12,762
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
Do you have any screen prints of the offer? Generally there are terms and conditions listed when these offers are made. Without them, we can’t tell you if your purchase was applicable to the terms or not.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
379
485
63
St. Louis
#3
Karl,

Do you still have the Ad? You can still pull up the Staples Black Friday Ad from last year online. I don't see any mention on it of the American Airlines AAdvantage.

In most cases to get these types of mileage credits, you have to make start by using the rewards program portal. This is the portal for American Airlines AAdvantage shopping for Staples: https://www.aadvantageeshopping.com/me____.htm?gmid=1589

If this is how the transaction was processed, the current terms do note that pickup in-store purchases are not eligible.

"Not eligible on downloadable software; business services; auctions; postage stamps; Discount reward certificates; Staples Promotional Products; Copy and Print shop orders; Staples Business Advantage; Phone orders; and reserve online, pick up in store purchases "

This specific site is owned by American, and administered by Cartera Commerce, Inc.
 
Jul 3, 2018
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#4
Other than the routine Sunday ads by Staples, I have a Staples link, from CEO representative: Thank you for taking the time to write Staples concerning you American Airline rewards. The terms and Conditions of our order and rewards is posted on Staples.com.

This is what American Airlines sent to me regarding Staples restrictions:

Not eligible on items placed in the Staples shopping cart prior to clicking through from site. Not eligible on downloadable software; business services; auctions; postage stamps; Discount reward certificates; Staples Promotional Products; Copy and Print shop orders; Staples Business Advantage; Phone orders; and reserve online, pick up in store purchases. Contact with Staples for price matching, sales assistance, etc. will likely cancel eligibility. Any return, exchange or other adjustment made at a physical store location for an on-line purchase may result in your purchase being deemed ineligible. Not eligible on taxes, shipping, handling, credit card fees, returns or third-party gift cards sold by Staples.com. Not eligible on purchases made with coupon or discount codes that are not found on this site. Not eligible on gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalents.
*******
 
Jul 3, 2018
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#5
Dwayne, I have never lost airline award credits for picking up the online purchase from the store. It appears for picking it up from the store, I would not get my awards. Which I am writing to you about. They should be aware of the fact that Staples may be the only one doing that----and if I will not get my awards, I surmised that---unfortunately.
 
Jul 3, 2018
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#6
Dwayne, I forgot, that I always go through the airline portal and it directs me to the retailer. If I do not do that, it will not work. If I forget, it will not work. I have a copy of the AA to Staples transfer--I assume it worked. But it makes me curious when the first response from AA that I received, they could not find the order.
Karl
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,789
12,762
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
Unfortunately- if the ad did have the restrictions- there is really nothing else we can do.

Loyaltypoints are one of the few consumer issues we don’t get involved with.

From our main page:

Are there any cases you don’t mediate?

Yes. Here’s a partial list:

Airfares that go up after selecting a flight option (caching).
Airline seat comfort issues, including in-flight entertainment systems that don’t work.
Any case involving legal action against a company or customer.
Asking a company to honor an obvious price error.
Car rental damage cases.
Cases submitted on behalf of a third party.
Compensation for delays that resulted in lost vacation or work days.
Getting a refund for a nonrefundable airline ticket or hotel room.
Missing or expired loyalty points.
Recently lost or misplaced luggage.
Visa/passport problems that led to denied boarding.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
379
485
63
St. Louis
#8
Dwayne, I have never lost airline award credits for picking up the online purchase from the store. It appears for picking it up from the store, I would not get my awards. Which I am writing to you about. They should be aware of the fact that Staples may be the only one doing that----and if I will not get my awards, I surmised that---unfortunately.
Karl,

Basically what happens here is that the merchant pays AA a commission for referrals to their sites based on the conditions they (the merchant) provide. AA, in turn, awards you mileage points for those transactions that meet the merchant's conditions. As one of their conditions for Staples does states that in-store pickups are not eligible, AA wouldn't receive a commision, so they will not award any points.

If you review various merchant pages on the shopping portal you will see each will have terms tailored to the specific merchant. Staples isn't the only one with this specific requirement, for example, a quick look at the trending merchants on the site shows that Bed, Bath, and Beyond has a similar eligibility requirement.

The take away on this is that each merchant provides what is eligible for a commission to be paid, so the consumer will need to read those before shopping through the link. Unfortunately, as the terms were disclosed, I don't think you are going to get a satisfactory resolution from either AA or the merchant.
 
Jul 3, 2018
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#9
Dwayne and Neil,
This is the first time it happened to me, that I didn't get award points. Seems I must review the terms and conditions of whatever site. Meanwhile, it was a good learning curve for which I must thank you. It took me a little time to get used to the site, but I got sort-of used to it.
Thank you
Karl
 
Likes: AMA

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,789
12,762
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
I just posted on a thread about the airlines getting nastier about awarding mileage on their own promotions. It's despicable, but it's reality. They look for any excuse to renig on their committments and constantly change their rules. What worked just fine last month no longer is valid. When dealing with an airline, you have to expect to be cheated. You have to minutely research every transaction before you make it. It's an awful commentary on business in this country..
But this was a Staples promo, not AA’s.