Sharing frequent traveler miles

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Jun 9, 2018
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#1
I have been a member of the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent traveler program since 2016. I have been extremely happy with the program as American Airlines maintains a large travel presence in my home city of Philadelphia and I can earn miles through the use of my American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum Elite MasterCard. My daughter and her husband are also members of the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent traveler program.

Earlier this year my daughter and her family traveled to Fort Myers, Florida. I "shared" 40,000 miles with my daughter so that they could rent a car. My daughter confirmed that the miles were quickly transferred into her American Airlines AAdvantage frequent traveler program account and I noted that the 40,000 miles I shared were quickly debited from my frequent traveler program account. I also noted that, as expected, I was charged a reasonable fee to transfer the 40,000 points within the frequent traveler program. All of this made complete business sense to me. Later I noted that in addition to debiting the 40,000 miles and being charged a reasonable fee for the transfer, my credit card was also charged $365 for sharing the miles with my daughter. This made no sense to me. I believe that $365 is the approximate cost of the 40,000 miles. Why wouldn't I just give my daughter $365 and keep my miles?

I contacted the American Airline AAdvantage frequent traveler program customer service by email and received a reply indicating that the program complied with their policy, that the cost for the transfer was made known to me when I authorized the transfer and that this was my opportunity to cancel the transfer. I acknowledge that I was probably told about the full cost of the transfer but this was not totally clear to me at the time and who would believe that a frequent traveler program would consider an extra $365 charge would be considered a benefit for its members. Do all frequent traveler programs charge their members twice for miles shared with other miles.

Jim D
coldxxxxx@xxxxx.com
6xx-xxx-xxxx

edited to remove: email address and telephone number
 
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Sep 19, 2015
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#2
I just checked the AA site — to buy 40,000 miles it would be $1,180 dollars. 354 dollars will get someone 12,000 miles. I did not sign in so these may be the most expensive miles.

But on the mobile site it shows sharing 40,000 costs $500.

Sharing miles is expensive on a lot of FF programs and does not make financial sense.

Did you not see the cost when you chose the amount of miles— the transfer fee is shown.
 
Jun 9, 2018
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#3
Christina,

Thank you for your response. You have exposed me as a luddite - certainly not someone who should be using a smart phone to make potentially expensive transfers. It just did not, and does not, make sense that in transferring 40,000 miles between two accounts WITHIN the American AAdvantage program that I lost the 40,000 miles, the reasonable transfer fee AND $365. I don't know how American Airlines can justify the $365 charge. I didn't buy the miles - I previously earned them and had them in my account when I gifted them to my daughter. Maybe my mistake will save others from making this same mistake.

Jim D
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
Jim sharing miles is horribly expensive and I am not sure why. I have used AA miles for tickets for family — just a gift as I was not using them and did not want them to expire. AA does not have the routes that I fly — my miles are old TWA! But the share miles cost being so high is something I have never understood.
 
Jun 9, 2018
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#6
Thank you for all of the responses. I would feel better about American Airlines AAdvantage if I understood their justification for the high fee.

Jim D
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#7
Why? Because they can. I believe they really don’t want to do this so they make the fee exhorbitant so you will decide not to do it and just buy the tickets. They will tell you it’s their administrative fee but it’s really a fee to make it inconvenient and discourage you from doing it.

You just need to be vigilant about reading everything before you ever click the OK button and read terms and conditions before doing anything.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
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#9
Frequent flyer programs or loyalty programs are developed not for the benefit of the consumer, but for the company. It is a way they can influence your consumer buying decisions to provide the company a way of making additional revenue. Chris has written many stories warning consumers of these programs.

With that said, you need to comb through the terms and conditions of the program to ensure they are charging you correctly. If not, use our company contacts to appeal your case to the company executives.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#10
You ask why they do this? To increase bottom-line revenue, there's no other reason. They certainly don't care about their customers. Airlines are on a tear to extract as much income from their passengers as possible. They charge outrageous fees to do everything. Until legislation is developed (not holding my breath), it will continue. And why not? Airlines are in business to make money. I happen to agree with you that nearly $400 is an insane fee to transfer 40K miles. So is a $200 fee to correct one wrong letter in a name. The corporate bean-counters have become the new rock stars and they're constantly looking for more ways to gouge us.

But yes, the blame lies with you not researching this before you did the transfer. But you are not alone, we see a constant stream of issues from people who don't know how incredibly changed the airlines have become just in a few years. Nothing about them these days makes much sense, except that they are making money hand over fist. Reading the fine print is vital with every transaction. I have flown United and Virgin Atlantic 95% of the time for a hundred years. As familiar as I am with their websites, I still double and triple-check everything, every time. I assume that the airline wants to extract more money from me, so I approach any transaction from that mindset.

ADVOCATE ADVICE
Resist the temptation to "do deals" like this on your phone. It's vital that you take the time to totally understand what you're doing and what the costs are. The internet is NOT your friend, it is merely a slick communication device. Sit down, take your time on your computer and pay close attention to all the details before wasting your hard-earned money.
 
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