“I have basically been ignored”

If you’re a United Airlines or Continental Airlines frequent flier, chances are you’re a little nervous about the impending corporate marriage that will create the world’s largest airline. Rightfully so.

Mergers are messy. Loyalty programs are complex things, and combining them is never easy. Just ask Delta Air Lines, which hooked up with Northwest Airlines last year and had to put the WorldPerks and SkyMiles programs together.

Actually, I was just up in Atlanta visiting Delta. Although my meetings were largely “off the record” I can tell you that people seemed traumatized by the complex task of combining the loyalty programs. It will be no different when United and Continental merge.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso. The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit Virtuoso.com.

Here’s an example, which comes to us by way of Kerneth Hall of Bloomington, Minn. His mileage transfer didn’t go as he expected. Actually, it didn’t go — at all.

I have been having communication and receiving no help in regards to converting my Northwest WorldPerks miles into the Delta SkyMiles program.

I did the electronic transfer in late 2009 and the transfer said “complete.” My WorldPerks miles did not transfer. I called Delta SkyMiles account support in 2010 and was guided in making the transfer of miles.

The transfer was completed and the Delta rep said I should see the 125,169 miles on my Delta SkyMiles account in about a week. It is now the end of April and after making several calls to Delta I have basically been ignored.

I was a platinum WorldPerks member. I would appreciate if you would express my frustrations with Delta SkyMiles in your syndicated newsletter.

I contacted Delta to see if they could get this mileage program sorted out. A few days later, I heard back from him.

Thank you very much for you contacting Delta in regards to the merger of WorldPerks and SkyMiles points. I received a confirmation email from Delta today and my total miles have been corrected.

It was very kind of you to help me with this problem. It seems since my retirement and lack of flying I have lost any clout I may have had.

I’m not sure if that’s true — I certainly hope Hall hasn’t lost his clout — but I’m glad Delta could fix this problem.

Sometimes, merging mileage accounts takes a personal touch. United and Continental will know this soon enough.

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