Woman sees frequent flyer miles disappear

December 10, 2010 7:27:30 PM PST
With the holiday travel season now in full swing, customers may be planning to use their frequent flyer miles to visit family and friends. One Bay Area woman made a shocking discovery when she tried to use her free miles.

You save and save your miles and then splurge on a big trip. Well, one woman had a special plan for how to use thousands of airline miles only to find out, once she wanted to use them, they were gone.

Ann Marks produced a documentary film claiming the gluten from grains undetected cause of many health problems. Her next goal was to take her film and her message around the world.

"I was getting ready to take a trip and I thought this would be a good time to use the miles," says Marks.

Marks had accumulated more than 61,000 frequent flyer miles on Delta Airlines. She decided to use them to travel around, showing her film. However, when she went to book a flight to Florida, she found her 61,000 miles had disappeared.

"I checked online and it said zero and I went, 'Wait a minute!'" says Marks.

Marks says she had opened a Delta Sky Miles account back in the 1990s, during a promotion promising her the miles would never expire, yet they just did.

"Your frequent flyer sky miles will last forever and they honored that until just recently," says Marks.

Her account statement showed Delta deleted the miles in January of 2009. Marks says she kept calling the airline to find out why, but the only answer she received was, 'your miles are gone,' which she already knew. So Ann contacted 7 On Your Side.

"And I'm very happy I did because I got the miles back in my account," says Marks.

Weeks after we called, Delta put all the miles back into her account. The airline said the miles were deleted because of a clerical error. Delta said miles should never expire as long as there is activity on an account at least once every two years and said, "We extended our sincere apologies to the customer."

Now Marks and her film are ready to take off.

"It allows me to show my documentary film in small places, that couldn't afford to have me come otherwise and I couldn't manage to do that alone without 7 On Your Side's help," says Marks.

If you save up your frequent flyer miles, keep in mind that many airlines do require that you use the account every so often or your miles will expire. Renting a car, booking a hotel, even giving away mileage may qualify you for "account activity," so check the terms before you book.


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