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Your Take: Be Careful Selling Airlines Miles

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American Airlines planeAt least on Craigslist anyway.

I just read a somewhat sad story on Fatwallet about a user who will probably be losing all of his American Airlines AAdvantage miles because Craiglist sold him out to American Airlines. It appears that Craigslist notified American Airlines of his ad to sell airline miles, which is usually against the terms of service, and they were able to match up emails and names to find his AAdvantage account. He had 200,000 miles in his account and most believe he’s going to lose them unless he gets some special intervention.

On one hand, I feel for the guy because 200,000 miles is a ton of miles but he is breaking the rules. The problem is that a lot of people break the rules. I know a lot of people who buy a few miles from friends, or strangers on the internet, so they can get the extra thousand miles to get a free flight. When I was in college, I used to sell Southwest Rapid Reward vouchers to other students or to small businesses on Craiglists and other bulletin boards (back when they still did vouchers). I know that it’s all against the program’s terms of service and I had no ethical qualms about it (maybe I should!).

Now if he were to instead sell magazine subscriptions, which he would set up using those miles, would that have been more legit? Same end result, just a less efficient methodology… I don’t really know.

How do you feel about this? Did he get what he deserved? Did he only get what he deserved because he was sloppy?

(Photo: lrargerich)

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12 Responses to “Your Take: Be Careful Selling Airlines Miles”

  1. Scott says:

    After looking at what was said in that FatWallet forum, I think AA is going to lose this case. He says he posted that he was selling BA miles, and I doubt AA has any clause about selling their partner’s miles.

    Either way, I think it’s perfectly legit for people to sell their miles (even if the terms and conditions say you can’t). All of the airlines have essentially changed their miles into currency over the last decade and if I can buy miles directly from them and use those miles to buy things other than flights (magazines, luggage, etc.) then why can’t someone pay me for my miles?

    Still, he should have been more careful and worded his post along the lines of “free miles with purchase of very expensive pen” ;-)

    • saladdin says:

      Regardless of the terms you agreed upon?
      I hope you don’t have kids and if you do that you aren’t teaching them to lie and steal like you.

      • Mike says:

        Nice guys finish last.

      • Scott says:

        Sorry, what I was trying to say in my second statement above was that the terms are crap. In my opinion, the big old airlines (especially Delta, USAirways, and AA) are walking a fine line between legit business and defrauding the consumer with their miles.

      • TimD says:

        Saladdin, I can’t stand people like you. Telling someone you hope they don’t have kids. Nobody ever fallows all the rules all the time, Not even a discusting pompas jerk like you. We are ALL guided by our perceptions of what is fair and or just and act accordingly. Regardless if it was a rule included in the 10 page 200,000 word rules and conditions we all have to agree to for us to be permitted the luxery to participate. Is it fair? Should we really have to fallow every stupid unrealistic and unjust rule to be allowed to participate? In this case, this rule is unfair. He earned the miles. They are HIS property. I’ll say that again so hopefully even the self ritous, judgemental arrogant jerks can understand. HE EARNED these points, one way or the other. They are HIS. Regardless what the fine print says. He should be allowed to do whatever he wants with HIS points/miles. For someone to say that they hope this man doesn’t have children is so disgustingly erigant and uncalled for. You make me sick!!!

    • mike d says:

      “free miles with purchase of very expensive pen”

      I am surprised people haven’t tried that with the “erotic services” section. “Ohhh, baby, I hear you got a really big pen. I wwaaaannnntttt your pen. I’ll buy it from you for $150, and I can lend you my shaft for free”.

  2. mike d says:

    Screw you Craigslist. The airlines are not the government, last time I’ve checked, much less have a warrant or supeana. You don’t work for the airlines last time I’ve checked. Why is Craigslist helping the airlines by ratting out its own customers? Damn rat. If they’re going to cave in over this, how can I trust them to not cave in when some years down the line the government will want to expand its power and get my IP for no reason.

    • mike d says:

      I mean seriously, whats next. Craigslist will find out who you work for and contact your employer because you’re wasting time posting on CL instead of working?

    • TimD says:

      Here here. I agree with you 100% I think I will not use Craigslist after this. I have totally lost any respect for them. If it wasn’t Craigslist per say but probably some erigant jerk (like Saladdin) employee just wanting to screw someone over then I think Craigslist should fire him on the spot!

  3. Husker Avid says:

    American is probably the most uptight about its mileage program. They will take those miles and cancel the account. Are you going to fight AA in Dallas–assuming you live in Chicago? Think of your lawyer’s costs. You would have to fly down there on Southwest. I don’t think so.

    I am puzzled why Craigslist felt it had to intervene. Really, I don’t get that part of the whole scenario. I assume that they felt it was a transaction like someone selling sex on CL.

    There are multiple companies that buy and sell miles. You can move miles to other mileage accounts. This is an interesting problem.

  4. Husker Avid says:

    Oh, also Scott– AA doesn’t lose many cases. The airline is embroiled in a battle with the computer system (Sabre) which they started. AA is unhappy with the way its flights are displayed in Sabre. The lawsuit has been simmering for months.

  5. Vienna says:

    Just be carefull and not show your account numbers on forums and boards and their internal mail systems


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