Senator Charles Schumer and the airline industry have been going back and forth in a “frequent-flyer fracas” this past week over possible deceptive business practices in regard to loyalty programs. Schumer is unhappy with how the airlines do not alert customers in advance before canceling accounts or miles.
The New York Democratic Senator believes that when a consumer accumulates hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of valuable miles, the airline should give them plenty of warning before they are set to expire. Schumer wants a new set of rules written that set limits on when miles can be canceled and to further protect customers.
Here are some stunning facts about airline miles that were brought up by the Senator:
• An estimated 10 trillion (yes trillion!) unused frequent-flyer miles are in circulation.
• The value of those unused miles is roughly $165 billion.
• About 20% may never be redeemed.
The airlines have told Schumer and the government to butt out and mind their own business. James May of the Air Transport Association stated “frequent flyer reward programs are innovations for consumers that Congress envisioned when it deregulated the industry.” He continued by saying contracts with frequent-flyer programs fluctuate with the market. Schumer stands by what he believes are a collection of confusing contracts and want the airline biz to be held accountable.
Source: The Associated Press& picture courtesy of Flickr member cliff1o66