Even if your problem occurs on an airline you’ll likely never ever fly again, you may still be able to receive meaningful compensation. That’s right- you don’t have to settle for meaningless miles from a program which you have no future use for. You can likely do much better, scoring your preferred mileage currency. Cool? We think so.
The key here is utilizing airline partners and networks. If your issue occurs on a SkyTeam airline, you can likely persuade the offending airline to compensate you with miles from one of their partner airlines. Same goes for Star Alliance, OneWorld and so forth. LoyaltyLobby recently encountered an issue on Thai Airways, which later agreed to compensate in Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles rather than Thai Airways loyalty program. Moral of the story: you don’t always have to settle for meaningless compensation in a points currency you’ll never be able to use.
I encountered a deceptive practice involving checked bags on a codeshare flight between Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia. The tickets were booked through Virgin Australia for travel on Air New Zealand. I took up my issue with Virgin Australia, which proceeded to offer a $100 Virgin Australia voucher, or 10,000 Virgin Australia Velocity Points. As a person living in the Northern Hemisphere, unlikely to ever earn more Virgin Velocity Points, the gestures seemed fairly useless. That is – until it occurred to me that I could instantly transfer the useless Virgin Australia Points into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles. These points can also instantly be created using Amex, Citi or Chase points and are therefore very valuable to me. Result!
First off – don’t ever assume that the first compensation offer you receive will be the best you my potentially receive. Airlines are notorious for lowballing almost every customer on their first pass, knowing that many will simply drop the issue out of laziness. Be direct about the issue you faced, wait to see what’s offered and then address why it’s insufficient or not of use. If you’re offered a set number of miles with the offending airline, and they are not of use to you, go ahead and ask about that same compensation offer in a currency which would be more appreciated in your future travels. They can always say no, but you can always ask for them to reconsider – and there’s no doubt in the world that these requests are granted. The more you know!