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So my wife and I booked an American Airlines flight to Europe using our hard earned AA Miles for out 20th Wedding Anniversary. In order to even get a ticket we had to book 11 months in advance.

We carefully looked over all our options so not to waste mileage or fly on an airlines other than American as I have been a loyal customer with AA since they absorbed TWA near 20 years ago.

Although over the years I have had minor issues with AA like plane delays and cancellations I have never complained to them before. In the past when I have flown with United Airlines and Delta they were quick to respond to any issues no matter how minor. In fact United in 1998 refunded all our miles when they had a cancellation that made us lose a day of travel going to the UK and leaving us stranded to 11 hours in an airport.

When we booked our flight there was no way to use AA on the return as they did not offer flights out of Portugal that got us home in a timely manner so we looked at using one of AA’s partners to get us what we needed. We were surprised to see that through the AA web site if we flew British Airways (BA) using our AA miles (Still using it cost us 52,500 LESS than if we flew on an AA aircraft. Again all booking was done via using AA mileage. Having no real other choice we booked the outbound flight on AA (which cost us 52,500 miles more than if we flew on BA) and on the return flight we went with BA and that saved us 52,500 miles and got us home faster than any AA flight would have, which was the only reason we choose that option. We did this all on and used miles to get Business Class Tickets for all flights. We never went to BA’s web site.

I never thought to ask why would AA take 52,500 miles X 2 less from our accounts if we flew on BA. Maybe I should have… But that is AA’s clearly stated policy so we were happy to save the 105,000 miles total.

On the day of the outbound flight we got a notice that the AA flight was delayed and then canceled from Sand Diego to Dallas. So we would be missing our AA Dallas to Paris connection. We frantically called AA and managed to get Business class Seats on a British Airways flight leaving 11 hours later than our original flight so we lost an entire day in Paris because of this. The only available AA flight with 2 business class seats was 2 days later, so that was not an option.

So we flew on BA and I have to say… While the service of the staff was very nice, the equipment they use is very, very tired. The 747 we were on had not been updated since 2001 or so and reminded me of what the planes were like with TWA in the 90’s. Monitor screens were small and scratched as was most of the interior from decades of use and the seats were narrow and very uncomfortable about what you find in coach classes on a modern jet.

Clearly this is the reason why offers BA seats for 52,500 miles less that if you flew with AA. Being a loyal customer of AA for so many years I can attest to the superior quality of the AA equipment / planes. My guess is that so many AA customers complained about BA’s planes when they compared them to what they were accustom to with AA that AA had no choice, but to offer a mileage discount when using AA Mileage on BA instead of AA via their web site.

Even American Airlines could see the difference in value to the customer.

Anyway we lost an entire day of our short time in Paris and when I returned home I wrote an email to AA explaining what had happened and asked for some sort of compensation as we had be actually financially damaged by their flight cancellation in terms UBER fees, Food, etc. as well as loss of mileage (52,500 per person) because AA did not fulfill their end of the contract, by booking us on a substandard BA flight. Again a flight that had we chosen would have saved us the 105,000 miles.

AA’s response shocked me… They gave us 10,000 miles for the delay, which was fine, but they refused to even acknowledge the issue with the 52,500 miles we never used because of their canceling our original flight!

AA’s position is that “We are only obligated to get you one the next available flight.” When I explained that in fact they contracted with us for a particular lever of service that we in fact had paid an extra 52,500 miles per person for, their response was… “Sorry you feel that way…”.

I even made the example that what if I paid for a business class ticket and the same thing happened and they flew me in coach instead. Would I get the price difference refunded then? They had no response for that, especially when I asked them how is that any different to what I was talking about?

In the end AA told me to go pound sand and refused to refund the un-used 104,000 miles that we gave them for a service they NEVER provided.

Does the story end here???

Not on your life… Facebook and Twitter are next…

I refuse to be taken advantage of and would expect any business to honor not only the letter of the agreement that we entered into, but also because it is the right thing to do. I have only asked them to be FAIR about this.

It really makes one wonder… If they are willing to do this to someone who has flown with them for 20+ years, what are they willing to do to you and your family?

Lastly… What is the big deal? I am not asking for CASH or more miles or an upgrade! I just want the small portion of miles that did not get used in the first place.

My goal…

  1. Educate and WARN others of this very UNFAIR practice of AA.
  2. Make this issue as public as possible and have it cost AA far more in real $$$ than the actual 105,000 miles they stole from us.

Lesson learned… Do NOT trust American Airlines to ever do the RIGHT or FAIR thing as they do NOT care about their customers.

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