Unjustified and possibility discriminatory frequent flyer charge

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Jan 22, 2019
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I’ve been a Gold frequent flyer with AA for many years. This year I flew the required 30 segments, but I fell $331 short of their new requirement that I spend $3000/year on tickets. In early December I was told I could buy a ticket for that amount and use it before 12/31/18 to renew my status. Because my wife had major surgery on December 4, that was impossible. I offered to pay AA $331 directly. No go. I would have to pay $515 to continue my Gold status.

Why $515? All I have been able to find out is that this "Boost/Renew" offer varies from customer to customer based on factors that AA is not willing to disclose. When I wrote to the VP of Customer Loyalty by certified mail, the email I received back from a representative stated: "This year our Boost/Renew product is truly individualized and based completely on your interactions with American Airlines.”

I find this very troubling not only because it's an unjustified increase but also because it implies that not all customers are treated equally. How do I know there is not discrimination that favors customers be gender, or by age? How do I know they are not simply gauging what they think each customer can afford, by, say, zip code? Or are there other discriminatory factors at work? How can I improve my “interactions” with the airline if I don’t know what that means? And most troubling, is this really legal?

I want the option of paying AA the amount I fell short—$331—to continue my Gold status rather than an unjustified higher amount.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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You did not meet the requirements for gold. AA has made you an offer — to buy up. The entire mileage requirement um requires one to actually travel on the plane.

I would think that every offer would be individual as every person’s situation is different in how the shortfall is — money or miles. One person may be miles and money short, others may have spent the money and have not enough miles. How many people are there that are exactly $331 short but have 30 segments?

You can write to the execs but be prepared for them to say no. They made you an offer which you can accept or decline. Yes it is legal. Would you prefer that they made no offer?

You can also look at flyertalk and see what sort of offers there are. Based on a quick review your offer does not seem out of line for a gold shortfall.

You have no basis to claim discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of certain defined criteria is a problem but there is zero proof and just baseless speculation.
 
Jan 22, 2019
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#4
We had the same thing happen with Delta. The rules are the rules and I am sure you aren’t the only on with this issue.

Think of it this way- if you had made all the requirements and AA made exceptions for others that didn’t make it- would you be angry?
That is my point. Because they will not reveal why my amount was set at $515, I have no way of knowing that they have not made exceptions and charged others less--or even more.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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That is my point. Because they will not reveal why my amount was set at $515, I have no way of knowing that they have not made exceptions and charged others less--or even more.

Again you can look at flyertalk and see offers.

As it is unlikely someone will have the exact same dollar shortage you will just have to extrapolate.

You $331 miles short and offer of $515 — 1.5 ratio ie paying 1.5 more than shortfall

Another report of $135 short for gold —offer of $235 — ratio of 1.7– so paying 1.7 more than shortfall.

So your offer seems to be better than others, perhaps you should be paying the 1.7 times — ie $562 to make it equal and there be no basis for claims of discrimination.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jan 22, 2019
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Again you can look at flyertalk and see offers.

As it is unlikely someone will have the exact same dollar shortage you will just have to extrapolate.

You $331 miles short and offer of $515 — 1.5 ratio ie paying 1.5 more than shortfall

Another report of $135 short for gold —offer of $235 — ratio of 1.7– so paying 1.7 more than shortfall.

So your offer seems to be better than others, perhaps you should be paying the 1.7 times — ie $562 to make it equal and there be no basis for claims of discrimination.
If AA is using a system based on % (and it could be scaled by the amount of the shortfall) why are they not willing to share it???
 
Sep 19, 2015
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If AA is using a system based on % (and it could be scaled by the amount of the shortfall) why are they not willing to share it???
Because it is not just a percentage — which is what I pointed out — it is the overall profitability— a person can have a lot of miles flown on really cheap fares — so not as profitable as someone who takes fewer high fare tickets.

You are asking for an apples to apples comparison — but find me another passenger who has the exact same spending and routes.

A public company needs to disclose overall profit and loss — they do not need to disclose what they think the cost versus value of someone buying up to Gold status is— and honestly it is not any of your business. The company is looking at profitability of offering the buy up — the data behind that is proprietary and not something the company wants floating out there for competitors.

Bottom line is you did not qualify and they made you an offer after examining the profitability of doing so based on your shortfall. Your miles and dollars spent and ticket fares are unique to you.

No one is going to give you their inside data and information — you are not entitled to it.
 
Jun 30, 2017
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#8
Airline FF programs are proprietary and their rules are their own. They have no governmental oversight of the programs and are not required to do anything by anyone with the programs. They could abolish the programs tomorrow if they so chose (there would be a lot of negative publicity) but likely no legal recourse.
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#10
@pdwmaine - - bottom line, either all this hoop-jumping is worth your time/trouble, or it isn’t.
Only you can decide.
ElliottDOTorg does not advocate for FF issues, as Chris just doesn’t buy into all ththe hullabaloo.
Write the executives and plead your case.
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
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#11
I'm going to close this thread as this is not something we advocate and @pdwmaine has been given advice on how to solve their problem. If you get what you consider a successful resolution and would like to update the thread, please let one of us know.
 
Likes: jsn55
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