How I Upgraded To First Class for 7500 Miles

Yesterday I shared some details about our upcoming trip to Japan. I mentioned that we were flying from NYC to Japan on American Airlines. We booked using some of our miles.

However, I didn’t mention how many miles it cost us because it’s a bit of a long story.

Our flight was originally booked back in December. The flight from JFK- Tokyo in business class cost us 100,000 AAdvantage miles per person. We each received a Citi 10% award redemption bonus for having Citi AA credit cards. This came out to 10,000 miles being returned to each of us so now our flight was costing only 90,000 miles.

In February I called the AAdvantage Awards Desk looking for a flight with a later return date. If seats were available we would have two extra days in Japan. After some searching I was told that seats were available for the date I had requested in First Class for 7,500 miles more than the business class seats.

7,500 miles sounded like a strange number for an award redemption upgrade from business to first. I thought about it briefly and decided to change the reservation and extend our trip.

I checked my account a day or two later and noticed that 12,500 miles were taken from each of our accounts not the additional 7,500 like I was told. This was a difference of a combined 10,000 valuable AAdvantage miles that I wanted back.

I decided to call American and explain the situation. The representative and supervisor were both very rude and seemed annoyed that I called. I was also told that no reward of 7,500 miles existed. I then asked if phone calls are recorded and could be pulled up.

This didn’t get me very far so I turned to one of my favorite tools- Twitter!
I’ve always been impressed by the speedy responses from the AA Twitter team: @AmericanAir.

I started contact with a tweet:

@AmericanAir responded 10 minutes later:
We then had a conversation through the (private) Direct Message feature on Twitter.
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I explained the situation about how I was told incorrect information before making a change to my award flight etc… I asked if phone calls are recorded and can be pulled up and was told sometimes they can. I was also told that the AAdvantage expert would be working in the morning and would look into this matter.
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The following day I was told that the call was recorded and they were waiting to receive a copy of it. Soon after I was told that there was an issue and they would not be able to listen to my phone call, but they’ve been advised that the agent did tell me that I would be charged 7,500 miles not 12,500 miles. (I’m not sure how they confirmed this without listening to the tape)
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@AmericanAir then said that as a gesture of goodwill, they had made arrangements to have 5K miles deposited back into each of our accounts! (The points showed in our accounts the following day.)
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We got our flight from NYC- Tokyo in business class, returning in first class for 107,500 miles. We also received the Citi 10% award redemption bonus again since the changes were made in a new calendar year. We again got the maximum 10,000 mile bonus.
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So in the end we spent 87,500 miles per person for our flight!
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Just a bit of advice- be sure to listen carefully when booking over the phone. If you have an issue don’t hesitate to call or better yet, use social media to inquire about your problem. I’ve had other things happen in the past where Twitter became an invaluable tool. American Airlines and Delta are extremely responsive on Twitter while I’ve found United and Southwest to be more or less nonexistent when it comes to dealing with customer service.

4 thoughts on “How I Upgraded To First Class for 7500 Miles

  1. I had a similar problem with US Airways – I was quoted the wrong number of miles for a trip and told exactly how many miles I needed to buy to top off the accounts we’d be using. Since the promotion to buy miles was graduated and included a fee, buying more would be more expensive than buying the right amount in the first place. US Air ultimately honored the mistaken quote. It never occurred to me to ask if the call had been recorded. Good point, should this happen again.

    1. I am glad that US Air honored your quote. It sounds like it was the right thing for them to do.

      This is the second incident in about a year where a call recording came into play. The first time it was related to a car rental booking.

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