Does American Airlines hate www.usingmiles.com?

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by ceieoc, Oct 27, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. ceieoc

    ceieoc Silver Member

    I got this e-mail today from www.usingmiles.com.

    Dear ceieoc,

    Hip hip hooray -- you are "grandfathered in" to the new UsingMiles.com because you are one of our valued early beta customers. Congratulations!

    Grandfathered in to what?
    Starting today, some unique features inside UsingMiles.com will be for "subscribers only." In a sense, you will become a subscriber (for free) to UsingMiles Premier Service. You will be grandfathered in -- still receiving all of the features that you enjoy today for free – forever. Those "Premier" level features are worth $29.99 per year. This is our way of saying thank you for coming on board early and helping us grow!

    Here’s the scoop on the subscription service. UsingMiles.com will now offer two tiers of service: Free and Premier. Take a quick look at the features associated with each tier:

    Free
    - Loyalty dashboard: manage all of your loyalty programs in one place!
    - Cash search: find the lowest-priced airline and hotel tickets
    - Monthly eStatements: get all your account information in one handy email!

    Premier
    - Expiring miles/points alerts: never let another mile expire again!
    - Search and book award travel: UsingMiles is the World’s First Search Engine for Award Travel!
    - Bonus award offers: find the best deals before you buy!

    Once again, as one of our early beta customers, you will never have to pay for the Premier features you use on UsingMiles.com today.

    We always want suggestions and feedback, so please tell us what's on your mind! Thank you for your continued support.

    Happy and Safe Travels,

    www.UsingMiles.com

    When I received this e-mail, I thought, this is way cool. I signed into the UsingMiles website and noticed my American Airline miles were not being tracked. Not cool. I clicked on "learn more". The UsingMiles website said:

    While we do help you manage 83 programs, unfortunately we removed the AAdvantage loyalty program because American no longer allows any third party to help you manage your AAdvantage miles. Please continue to enjoy managing all your other loyalty programs in a single dashboard. Stay tuned as we continue adding new programs to help you further manage your loyalty portfolio! Please send us comments and suggestions as our mission is to help simplify your busy life.

    Mike Reed, started a thread on milepoint.com to help bring to our attention his concern with American Airlines not wanting us to be informed by third parties when our earned miles will vaporize. The link to his investigation of this problem is below:
    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads...antage-re-mileage-aggregation-services.20222/

    I like companies such as GoMiles.com, UsingMiles.com and AwardWallet.com who help me to simplify my busy life by providing a full disclosure of my account information. I do not like loyalty programs who attempt to restrict my ability to assign an authorized third party agent of my choice, because I lose the the ability to conveniently find out my account balances from multiple travel vendors.

    I like the liberty to select a travel agent of my choice to make my travel arrangements. I also like the freedom to choose a mileage aggregation service for tracking my earned travel awards and benefits.
    When making travel plans, I think of the mileage aggregation service companies as my "travel agent".

    I'm not sure what can be done to restore our freedom to choose our travel agents. Do you fellow frequent flyers have an issue with losing your freedom to select who helps you with your future travel planning?
     
    LETTERBOY, JohnDeere19 and Espan like this.
  2. DestinationDavid
    • Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

    Don't think AA "hates" usingmiles.com, it's just doing what it thinks makes business sense. Now whether or not that "business sense" is solid is debatable. It's clearly an unpopular decision with many FFers.

    I think one of the problems we'd have combating this issue is similar to other topics that pop up: I would wager the majority of AA's customer base do not use these sites, making this decision (like LT status changes previously) easier for them to make. Is the benefit of shutting down access (driving traffic to AA.com or Points.com, making it easier for miles to expire, etc) greater than the small group of users they'd anger?

    I actually just burned through most of my UA and DL miles, so I only have AA to watch at the moment.

    On a "housekeeping" note though.... why is this a new thread if you know that there is an in-depth, on going discussion started by Mike Reed? Doesn't it make more sense to keep the conversation in one spot?
     
    JohnDeere19 likes this.
  3. UsingMiles

    UsingMiles Z Representative

    American Airlines has sent cease and desists out to every single mileage management site, including AwardWallet, GoMiles, etc. This is not an issue that is isolated to UsingMiles. In fact, the issue was featured in a WSJ article two weeks ago.

    We are the only company that has actually followed their instructions and taken AA off our site. We did this in the spirit of reaching a partnership with them moving forward, and we are currently in active talks.

    The issue of who owns your mileage data is an interesting one and we hope you will take it upon yourself to tell American Airlines how and where you want to manage your miles. In the meantime, we'll continue to work hard for you to get them back on the site.

    Thanks for your support.
    Krista, UsingMiles Founder
     
    tigers2007, edog22, ceieoc and 3 others like this.
  4. ceieoc

    ceieoc Silver Member

    I started a new thread as this is the first time in my life I have selected a 3rd party agent (www.usingmiles.com) to help me complete a routine task. Then, after making that choice, a travel common carrier, American Airlines, is ordering my seleted agent to refuse to act as my agent or to "talk" with American Airlines on my behalf because American Airlines apparently wants direct communications with me.
    This does not make any sense to me. You hire an agent such as an attorney, consierge or travel agent to work on your behalf for a consideration. In this case, I hire usingmiles.com as my agent to retrieve the information I request from my account for the consideration of paying for their services or instead, viewing their on-line advertisements.

    I thought a new thread was needed as this seems to be a new issue with an American airline attempting to restrict your ability to chose which person or company could work for you on your behalf. Mike Reed's issue was specifically with mileage aggreation services. My issue was, in America, having another American company restrain my ability to select a travel agent or any agent of my choice. I want to retain my option to have the freedom to choose.
     
    LETTERBOY and Espan like this.
  5. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

    Great to see the Using Miles rep here, and now I know why Award Wallet is still working.... (for now)
     
  6. newbluesea
    • Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

    Gee ...sort of bordering on a commercial plug(s) isnt all this?

    In any event AA set the rules for the American Airlines Advantage program just because you are a member doesnt automatically grant the right for you are other members to access program data.
     
  7. ceieoc

    ceieoc Silver Member

    I don't quite understand how discussing American Airlines in the American Airline forum is bordering on a commercial plug. Please explain.

    If I don't have the right to access my program data, I am unable to easily keep track of my mileage balance and elite status with multiple travel providers.
     
  8. DestinationDavid
    • Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

    I believe he means a plug for usingmiles.com ;)
    I also believe he means that AAdvantage and other airlines have T&Cs that allow them to drop the program/benefits/miles etc at their discretion. Here's an interesting link about a mileage ownership legal case: LINK.

    If you cannot do what you want with the miles, i.e. sell them, are they really yours?
     
    newbluesea likes this.
  9. ceieoc

    ceieoc Silver Member

    Thanks for the clairification DestinationDavid. I'm currently getting ready to jet to the Chicago DO tomorrow.

    I am unable to determine who owns my personal data and do not know the answer to your question. I would tend to think my personal data belongs to me. It seems that some people or organizations believe that they own my personal informatiion. When I'm at the Chicago DO, I'll ask other frequent flyers their thoughts about who owns my personal data.
     
  10. DestinationDavid
    • Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

    It's an interesting idea and based on the article seems like it's a bit up in the air.

    Enjoy the DO and bring a jacket and umbrella. It's cold and rainy today :)
     
  11. viguera
    • Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    I think at the end of the day the account / data / miles are obviously yours, but the problem is the way these third party sites are scrubbing the data off AA's website. Whether or not there's any inherent value (to AA) by you coming to the site yourself rather than checking your mileage elsewhere remains to be seeing though... I know personally that I RARELY visit AA.com for anything unless I can help it, and even airfare searches start elsewhere (hipmunk, kayak, whatever) and might eventually end up at AA.com, if the price is right.

    If the airline was offering some sort of API to access your data then that'd be another story, but right now (as far as I can tell) sites like usingmiles and awardwallet are just impersonating you and grabbing the mileage balance / activity from the AA site (and elsewhere) and that's apparently what AA has a problem with.

    It begs the question... what would happen if there was a desktop / mobile app that did the same thing, rather than being a third party site that connects to AA.
     
  12. DestinationDavid
    • Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

    I don't think it's obvious at all actually.

    At the end of the day, in a perfect situation the use of the miles are for the individual to decide. But I'd assert that the ownership of the miles and data really exists in a quasi-state where both AA and the individual retain rights. AA's program T&Cs clearly state that they retain the ability to make decision related to the account (cancel awards, cancel accounts, etc....), and it also outlines how the individual can use the miles. Both parties have access and use of the miles in some shape or form, and if that's the case, which party actually "owns" it?

    Do you actually own your car if the bank can reposses it at their discretion after you've paid it off?

    It'd say it's not clear at all.
     

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