I know – it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here, I have about 100 unfinished posts and about 100 more in my head. But this one is going to be posted and published.
The Back Story:
I’ve been an Aeroplan member for 13 years. That’s the mileage plan for Air Canada and since I live in Canada, it certainly seems like a logical choice.
Aeroplan is part of the “Star Alliance” network, which is comprised of a crazy number of airlines around the world, including Lufthansa amongst other major air carriers.
Whenever possible, I use Star Alliance to earn air miles for “free travel” (more on this later) on all my trips whether it’s business or pleasure. For the past 2 years I have been “just shy” of reaching a status level other than “You suck loser” level and I specifically would pay more for my flights (within reason) just so I can get those miles and maybe one day achieve those statuses. I have yet to make the elite title, but they sure do everything in their power to make sure that it won’t happen for me.
I’ve traveled on many of the different airlines in the Star Alliance Network and I never had problem with miles being accredited…until now.
In April, I took my first actual vacation in a long time, I traveled to Russia, Finland, Germany, France and the UK. Each flight segment I required, I paid a little more just so I could accumulate miles with Aeroplan that is in the Star Alliance Network. You would think that would be dedication enough, but the 2 transatlantic flights were also with the Star Alliance Network.
In the past I’ve flown to France, Germany, The Netherlands, Russia – No problems at all. This time however I apparently chose the wrong airline to cross the Atlantic with. That airline my friends is Swiss Air. Funny enough as the flight absolutely sucked and felt more like a cheap domestic flight than anything else I consoled myself and said “well at least I’ll get 3,500 miles from this.” Of course dreaming of a new status. Oh to be called Elite!
Flight suckage aside, I flew from Montreal to Zurich, then Zurich to St. Petersburg. Quite the journey on one of the worst airline I’ve ever flown with. Star Alliance quality? I think not. Swiss Air – I expected more of you, from the comfort of your seats to the quality of your food. Oh gee thanks for the mini bar of generic swiss chocolate – I mean that’s total class right?
Speaking of class – yes I traveled in Economy. Sorry, my bank account doesn’t allow for me to travel on such a journey in First Class. Yes, I am just a regular non-elite status member who goes out of their way to get miles? Oh hey, I also have the Aeroplan credit card to boot!
After Russia, I took flights with SAS from Finland to Germany and then Air Canada for the return journey.
Don’t get me wrong – the trip was fantastic. I enjoyed every minute of it especially when I wasn’t on the Swiss Air flights. I was happy to get home and see how long it would take for me to get all those happy air miles for such pain and suffering.
Air Miles from Air Canada: Check
Air Miles from SAS: Check
Air Miles from Swiss Air: Missing
Huh? It says to wait a couple of weeks before contacting them for mile credit to show up – and that I did. I forgot about it until I was pondering another trip and decided to check if I had the miles – nope. Still missing.
Alright so then I had to fill out the form for missing miles – seriously if booking and reference number wasn’t enough it required my seat number too? Cheap with miles much Aeroplan? So after I got all my flight stubs and filled out the form – TWICE one for each flight. I waited to see the miles appear.
Instead I get a message stating that they are sorry but I am not eligible for air miles for those flights because I was in the wrong booking class.
Le what? Seriously – what? Apparently there is some rule somewhere that mentions a booking class – maybe specific to Swiss Air? How am I to know, it’s not like they told me where this rule was located. I took a transcontinental flight that I paid more for to get miles – yet denied.
So I thought this has to be a mistake. So I wrote a letter to Star Alliance – they are clever they only allow a certain amount of characters on their form so I couldn’t bitch like I wanted to. I explained the situation and about a week later I get another response which is basically “Wrong booking class you lose.”
But AHA now I have their generic e-mail address I can write to them and say what I mean in as many letters as I want to. I didn’t use any harsh words and I even said I understand that it’s not the fault of whoever responded to me, but that I want this matter escalated.
No answer. They aren’t even bothering to escalate or respond to me now and to think I should of swore and used harsh language I was thinking in my head.
Star Alliance you are without a doubt a piece of crap – how is it possible for you to have airlines in your alliance that can deny air miles? What is the point of being in an alliance if every airline can make up their own rules? When I booked my flight it didn’t say I wasn’t eligible for air miles – it REQUESTED my frequent flyer number.
Last Rant – Using Air Miles:
Last year I had close to 200,000 air miles accumulated and decided it was time to use some. Do you know that if you try to use your miles that you have to pay airport taxes and fees as well as use those precious miles? Did you also know that after I did my research it was MORE EXPENSIVE cost wise (miles didn’t matter) to book a complimentary flight than to just go book a NEW flight? Let me guess – you have fees added on top of those airport tax fees?
In conclusion, I know that 3,500 miles is not a big deal to anyone in the grand scheme of things and in my head the proper thing to do would be to credit those miles to my account. I don’t expect that anymore. I don’t expect anything from such a crappy airline alliance. I don’t even expect them to respond to that one letter asking for escalation, because that would mean Customer Service – which is obviously not something this “Star Alliance” can handle.
Treating customers like this is just bad business.
All I can say now is stay away from Star Alliance – because it’s not an alliance it’s just a farce.Follow smashedkeys