United Airlines Mileage Error, Asking for Partial Reimbursement

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Apr 26, 2020
In early March, I needed to book a flight (return) from San Francisco to Buenos Aries. Last year United Airlines told me that I would need 60,000 miles for a “free” flight. So, around March 1, I checked the United Airlines Wed site and noted that 30,000 miles were listed first. Next level needed was 70,000 miles and then 120,000 miles. I was surprised to not see 60,000 miles. (At that time, I have just a little over 60,000 miles in my mileage account.) Before doing anything, I thought I should call United on this. For the following week, I tried numerous times to get through, each time being told the wait time was close to 3 h. (The recording blamed the coronavirus.) Since I did not want to risk losing the flight, on March 14 I decided to buy 9,000 miles, which added to 1,000 more from expenditures would give me over 70,000 miles. The cost for the 9,000 miles was $338.63. Over the following week, I tried again to call United but again wait times of at least 3 h. On March 23 I finally was able to connect with United on the telephone! They helped me book my flight (conf. number Ixxxxx) but told me that it only needed 60,000 miles. That means I did not need to purchase the additional 9,000 miles. The agent told me to contact United Airlines customer service to see if I could obtain a refund or other form of credit. I did that and United Airlines replied that I should continue by going to United Customer Service Center (exactly what I had done earlier). In my text to United Airlines, I said that instead of a refund of $338.63, I would be happy if United Airlines would use my excess 10,000 miles to cover the second check bag fee of $65 each leg for a total of $195 for the 3 legs of the flights. I thought that would be good for me as well as for United Airlines. I tried again using the telephone but the agent was not able to help. I feel that this incident was not my fault. There would have been no problem if I had been able to talk to an agent in early March or if the United Airlines Web site had had the 60,000 option easily accessible. Chris, perhaps you would have better luck on my behalf. Thanking you in advance . . .

Note: Edited by a moderator to remove confirmation number
Last edited by a moderator:


May 30, 2019
UA uses dynamic pricing for mileage tickets, similar to what they do for airfare. Just as an airfare can decrease after you purchase a flight, the mileage 'fare' can decrease. It appears from your description that in the time you took to purchase and receive your miles, the mileage fare decreased. I had a similar experience with AAdvantage last year.

I'd suggest writing to customer service, but I'm not optimistic.
Sep 19, 2015
As Skippy said UA changed the mileage award chart to dynamic pricing versus a set amount of miles— the change was on November 15 2019.

I think you misread the reservations —30k is one way to EZE in economy but 70K is the one way price on certain 2 stop itineraries.

If you saw 30K you could have reserved that one way and chose another 30K return flight for a total of 60K.

You can write to executives but I am not highly optimistic.


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