United Manually Cancelling 4 Mile First Class Awards To Asia

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A reader wrote in today to let me know he’s seeing a cancellation message from United for his 4 Mile First Class awards to Asia.

Message From United Is Showing Cancelled 4 Mile Award Ticket

Your itinerary cannot be retrieved because it has been cancelled. You may use the portion of your ticket that has not been flown towards a new trip by selecting Reissue Ticket. A change flight fee may apply.
This reservation has been cancelled.

This is interesting. Not only because the ticket was cancelled. But because another reader chatted with me about their reservations still showing the following messages.

Message From United For 4 Mile First Class Award Ticket

This reservation was ticketed and confirmed on Sun., Jul. 15, 2012 at 12:45 p.m. Central Time.

Interesting approach United is taking here.

My initial thought was that United’s announcement on Flyertalk was just legal positioning. But it now appears they are moving forward with their intent to cancel the obvious mistake awards that priced out First Class awards to Asia for as little as 4 miles.

What are your 4 mile award reservations showing?

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The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. Cancelled. I didn’t really expect to go. But, the way they just cancelled the ticket without contacting us is lame.

  2. Mine was cancelled as well! United you could of at least called or emailed and told me! At least provide some type of customer service!

  3. Cancelled. Interesting that there is no email that followed this. Does this mean United theoretically could cancel all/any award tickets without notifying you? I guess they’re trying to go under the PR radar.

  4. They cancelled mine and I don’t see any pending refunds on my credit card that they charged.

  5. Cancelled without even an email or call. Why they write that they would give us an option and now making the decision for us?! Don’t we at least get, ‘hey, sorry we mess up but we are going to take easy route and cancel your tickets’?

  6. I had two tickets one which they deducted the full miles, because my account had a lot and the other which I didn’t have enough for.

    They only cancelled the second one. The first one is still confirmed. What are people planning on doing for these tickets?

  7. My reservations are gone as well. Guess they aren’t bothering to wait to see what the DOT does with this. Disappointing.

  8. Oh give me a break. People are “disappointed” at how it was handled? I’d be disappointed if they gave the leeches anything, and I hope those who fight it get their just deserts.

  9. I looked at my account via iPhone United app and the flight was still listed. About 45 minutes later, it was gone.

    How sad. 🙁

  10. It is probably more cost effective for UA to pay any fine doled out by the DOT than honoring these tickets. I also think that anyone who booking these 4 mile award tickets and makes any fuss whatsoever should have their accounts shut down by UA. I am not definitely not a fan of UA or any airline for that matter, but in my opinion the people who took “advantage” of this mistake when they knew it was a mistake and knew the correct mileage amounts, truly disgust me. You ruin these programs for all of us. I hope that when you make a “mistake” in your profession that everyone takes advantage of you.

  11. The DOT should have nothing to do with it. You either paid in full (in which case they shouldn’t cancel, but may have), or you didn’t pay a mile, so the new rules don’t apply. The refunds are not instant, it will take up to a few days. I’ve had refunds come through in minutes, but others have taken days.
    The only disappointing part about this is that they waited so long to say they were canceling them. Should’ve had that post out there within hours of the error.

  12. @Jason @mark: You will get the taxes back, it takes a few days to process refunds.
    @Chris: Any judge would throw that out, and hopefully fine you for a frivolous lawsuit. You have no ground to stand on, and any reasonable lawyer would tell you the same exact thing.

  13. official response from UA on FlyerTalk
    Lucky for people who travel before 7/21
    Hi Everyone, I want to provide you with a further update on our Hong Kong award programming error from this past weekend. Specifically here’s how we are proceeding with these reservations:

    •For those customers who had sufficient mileage in their account for the correct award amount, the correct amount of miles were deducted at the time of redemption. Any customers who do not intend to use the published number of miles for their ticket may cancel their reservation without paying a fee and we will refund all miles, taxes and fees.

    •For those customers who did not have sufficient mileage in their account for the correct award amount, the correct amount of miles could not be deducted at the time of redemption. These tickets have been canceled for non-payment and all taxes and fees have been refunded.

    •For those customers who have already begun travel, or are ticketed to begin travel on or before July 21, we will not cancel these tickets and will allow travel to be completed in full. This is intended as an accommodation to those customers whose travel is already underway or the departure date to begin travel is imminent.
    We hope you’ll agree this was a unique circumstance. Unlike other widely reported “mistake fares,” the number of miles required for these awards – the correct purchase price – was clearly disclosed to customers throughout the MileagePlus award redemption process and is also available on our MileagePlus travel award chart.

    We are in the process of communicating with affected customers at this time. Once again, we appreciate your understanding.

    Shannon Kelly
    Director, Customer Insights
    United Airlines

  14. lesson I’ve learned from this experience is if there’s every a crazy award redemption amount loaded by an airline, fly IMMEDIATELY

  15. “Update regarding award itinerary
    that includes Hong Kong

    Dear Grant Thomas,

    You recently requested the ticketing of MileagePlus award travel to, from or through Hong Kong (confirmation XXXXX). Because your account does not have enough miles to complete the purchase, we have canceled the ticket for non-payment and refunded all taxes and fees. The number of miles required for this award was provided during your transaction and is published on the MileagePlus travel award chart on our website.

    If you have already canceled the ticket, please disregard this email.

    We appreciate your understanding and look forward to serving you in the future.”

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