Thursday, August 11, 2011

83,871 AAdvantage Miles for $2.97?

In probably one of the funniest threads I've ever read on Flyertalk, member mc4bbs posted about an (obvious) error on the AAdvantage eShopping portal. Initially, he described a $59.99 MOTOROKR bluetooth headphone that apparently gave you 83,871 bonus AAdvantage miles for your purchase through the Verizon website. Soon, Flyertalk members were discovering cheaper and cheaper Verizon products for sale also offering the same 83,871 miles. A Touchstone inductive charger popped up for $4.96, then a $2.97 cell phone car mount, and finally, perhaps the most impressive/ridiculous of all, a pink glitter cell phone screen cover for $2.97.

Well, as expected, the thread exploded. Within hours, it had tens of thousands of views and hundreds of posts, some of which literally made me laugh out loud at work. Someone labeled this debacle "Glitter-gate", and soon threats of mass protests and class-action lawsuits ensued from angry members who predicted AA and/or Verizon would withhold their bonus miles. Fortunately, AA pulled all the products offering the enormous bonuses off their eShopping website last night, and the thread has finally quieted down (slightly).

My take on all of this madness? AA/Verizon will never ever hand out the 83,871 bonus miles for any of the purchases made. There is just no way they will be willing to bleed literally millions of dollars worth of miles for a simple typo. At the very best, they will probably issue full refunds for the purchases as a gesture of goodwill. Bonus miles for using the AAdvantage eShopping portal typically don't post until weeks after the transaction, so nobody knows what is going to happen at this point in time.

I'm embarrassed to say that greed got the better of me and I jump into the fray by purchasing 2 car mounts and 2 chargers. So for $16 plus tax and shipping, I suppose I'm buying insurance in case something miraculous does come of all this. In the meantime, there are probably a few thousand people out there waiting with bated breath :)

I'll end this with probably my favorite post in the massive thread (excuse the salty language):
"Everyone seems to think this Verizon 83K fiasco is a mistake. Perhaps it was by design. Consider this:

The last few years the credit card companies have been FF whores by offering 50K miles, 75K miles, and even 100K miles JUST for signing up for their credit cards, knowing full well, that many will cancel their cards after a year. So, who are we to question why Verizon wants to offer 83K miles for buying some of their trinkets? If Verizon wants to be a mileage Whore just like the big banks, then why not take AAdvantage of the skanky ho? Buy the items with a good conscience, and enjoy the miles."

- Git-er-dun
(EDIT: And it looks like they will not be honoring the bonus. Many people have already received an email apologizing for the mistake and offering a no-strings-attached 2,500 miles bonus for the trouble, and an additional 2,500 miles if you make another purchase on the eShopping website within 30 days. They are also issuing full refunds for the items purchased even if you accept the 2,500 miles offer.)

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