Can an airline just deduct more miles for an award?
I had an interesting encounter with Delta SkyMiles customer service as a result of my last award trip on Delta. I went over the booking & redemption process in my last post – Booking complex awards. As I mentioned I redeemed 50,000 miles for that award. I had major problems on the return trip. The Air Jamaica flight from Kingston (KIN) to Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) was delayed by 3 hours! This messed up my connections: FLL-ATL-IAD. I called Delta and explained my situation to them. The agent on the phone was very helpful and found me alternate flights. She did want to charge me a $150 change fee, though. When I explained to her that I was missing the flight due to Air Jamaica’s delay, she waived the fee after confirming with the Air Jamaica gate agent that their flight was indeed delayed. I was very thankful of the Air Jamaica agent who took the time to speak to Delta. I flew back home, a bit delayed and thought I was all set.
On checking my mileage balance a couple of days later, I saw that SkyMiles had deducted an additional 10,000 miles from my account, for the new itinerary! I actually have no problem with paying the extra miles. If it cost extra miles to rebook, so be it. My problem was that they withdrew the miles from my account without my permission. When I called Delta SkyMiles Customer service, they had the audacity to tell me that as I had given them access to my SkyMiles account at the time of the initial booking, they could deduct more miles, as needed, if the trip was rebooked! I asked to speak to a supervisor. The case I was making was that I never gave permission to have the miles deducted. I would have, only if I had been asked. The supervisor never even came on the phone, the agent came back and said that they were giving me my 10,000 miles back. MIles were back in my account within minutes.
I am happy that this encounter with Delta SkyMiles turned out fine in the end. But, it really had me concerned. My miles are my property. I own them, legally. When I redeem miles, what kind of access am I giving the airline? Am I giving them permission to deduct more miles, if they deem fit, without my permission? Or was what Delta did really wrong?
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