I was walking into a meeting when my cell phone rang. It was someone in the auditing department at US Airawys.
“This is XXXX from US Airways. I see you have an upcoming trip with [my wife]. Are you still planning on taking that trip?”
“Umm, which trip is that?” I do have more than one upcoming itinerary, so really didn’t know what she was talking about.
“Departing on XXXXX.” Oh, my India trip! Now I was scared, I’m being called by an auditor about an award redemption. And I thought she might do something unpleasant. Like cancel my award.
“Yes, of course. What seems to be the matter?”
“Well, you don’t have enough miles in the account for that.”
“The miles were taken out of my wife’s and my accounts separately for this. And I certainly do have plenty of miles still in my account!”
“Well, the miles were taken from your wife’s account but there’s no other mileage number in the reservation. And she didn’t have enough miles.” Now I was really concerned that she might do something unpleasant. Like cancel my award.
Leave it to US Airways to issue tickets, and not even have an audit travel of the miles tied to a reservation. The tickets were queued up for auditing, flagged somehow, because miles were pulled for only one ticket instead of two. The auditor looked at the account, saw there were enough miles to support the second ticket, and was ready to cancel my trip. Glad that I answered the phone, though I like to think they’d have left a message with a number to call them back and would have given me the chance to do so.
In fact, the miles were pulled out of my account for my ticket and my wife’s account for hers. But apparently because the reservation was initially set up as two passengers on a single record locator when I held it, and only split later when they pulled both of our miles, both reservations appeared as though they were being support by my wife’s account. My miles were taken, but that deduction wasn’t in any way tied to my reservation!
Once the auditor looked up my account, saw the miles were pulled from it, she entered my Dividend Miles number into the reservation (had no idea it wasn’t already in their, the US Airways website isn’t especially reliable…), and assured me that I was all good.
Here I thought I was already good when I could see all of my flights with ticket numbers on the operating carriers’ websites. And indeed I still can, so fortunately US AIrways hasn’t done anything unpleasant. Like cancelling my award.
In the end all was fine, but it points out how US AIrways’ systems don’t speak well with each other, how processes are manual, how small glitches on the part of an agent can trigger problems, and how US Airways has gotten much more aggressive these last few months in their auditing.