I had been a loyal customer to a certain airline (cough, cough United) for a number of years. I was even given a trophy for flying over a million miles on their program. It was not always the least expensive or the most convenient, but their frequent flyer program and the perks that came with it kept me coming back. I received free upgrades, extra miles, extra allowance for baggage, priority stand by, etc. I was treated alright by the staff.
Last year it was announced that they were changing their mileage program to be based from actual miles flown to dollars. It was also changing the calculation how different tiers were achieved. Lets just say it was quite confusing.
So when February rolled around and my status changed from their highest to mid level, I was a bit confused.
I was at the airport checking in, when I discovered this. I immediately called their designated priority flyer customer service line and inquired what happened. What occurred next is the basis for this post.
I was informed that I had just missed the next tier, even though I had flown enough miles to qualify for a much higher level. I was then informed if I paid a certain amount of money, $750, I could move up one level. I stated that I had no idea that the change was that drastic, that I would have taken another flight at the end of the year. (I would rather fly somewhere then just give the money to the airline for status). I then stated that I found the new system quite confusing, and as a million miles flyer with the airline, I was not happy.
Now usually on this customer service line, they are quite polite. Not today. She informed me that she would not upgrade me to the next level. See here is the kicker. I never asked to be upgraded a level. I just expressed my displeasure with the new system. I even stated that to her. I was not asking to be upgraded. She then went on a tirade of how it was posted online, etc. I just said, I am not asking to be moved up, (especially with her), just please inform the airline I will not be using them.
Was I upset by the way I was treated? Yes, but I know that there are always options. I fly over 100,000 miles per year. There are other airlines who will want my business. I contacted two of their competitors and got matching status to try out their program. So now I am at an elite level trying to find an airline who will respect my loyalty.
Even if you don’t fly that much, there are plenty of options for travel. You can always improve your travel experience.