Middle Age Miles has had an ongoing issue with AAdvantage eShopping and Marriott that is now finally resolved – we’re happy to report that we finally received our missing 6,511 AA miles for booking a Marriott stay through the AAdvantage eShopping portal!
We’ve posted this series of articles in hopes of providing some direction to Middle Age Miles readers who might find themselves in the same situation and encourage you to follow up. For us, the AA miles at issue are worth about $80 (at our baseline value of 1.25 cents per AA mile). So, although the numbers at issue weren’t life-changing, they weren’t trivial either.
* Where Are My AA Miles from AAdvantage eShopping for My Marriott Stay? (posted 2/15/2019)
We were also concerned because we had tweeted out this particular promo to earn 10x AA miles when making a Marriott booking through AA eShopping and had been excited about it. We certainly don’t want to be supporting vendors or methods that don’t pay off, so we felt like we had some obligation to pursue this and report back.
For what it’s worth, our impression of the problem is that it was caused on the Marriott side, not the AA eShopping side. Throughout the process, AA eShopping agents responded in a timely manner, and they seemed to be helpful and persistent in successfully resolving our issue. Their responses indicated that Marriott was not validating our purchase. We don’t truly know whether this is exactly accurate; however, it certainly rings true in light of the many, many recent data points of problems with Marriott IT, customer service and responsiveness in recent months.
The set-up here is pretty simple. On January 14, 2019, we booked a 3-night stay at the Westin Seattle with a base room rate of $651.16. On that day, AA eShopping was running a promotion with Marriott Rewards (now Bonvoy) to earn 10x AA miles per dollar on Marriott bookings. We clicked through the AA eShopping portal to make our Westin Seattle reservation with Marriott. The stay occurred on February 3-6.
After the stay, we checked our AA eShopping account. We could see that AA eShopping had tracked and logged our Marriott visits. But it hadn’t tracked any orders or order amounts from our click-throughs. This raised a red flag.
On February 14, I used the AA eShopping “Contact us” portal (available by clicking the “Contact us” link at the bottom of the AA eShopping home page) to send an inquiry. I selected “Order inquiry/missing miles” as the reason for my inquiry and wrote a message containing my details and asking for credit for the AA miles. Note that, for AA mileage issues, they include a bullet-point list of the details you should provide. You can see the full text of my message below, embedded in the response I received from AA eShopping.
I received an email response from AAdvantage eShopping immediately, confirming that they had received my inquiry and telling me that they would review it and respond “as soon as possible.”
And much to my surprise, 3 hours later I received another email from AAdvantage eShopping with a response. The gist of the response was that miles from Marriott stays will be credited after 15 days from the date our stay ended.
Here is the complete response, which includes the full text of my original message to them:
The AA miles did not post by 02/21/2019, so I followed up with AA eShopping on February 22. Again, an AA eShopping agent responded promptly and same-day. She said that AA eShopping would investigate with the merchant, and we should wait 4-8 weeks for resolution.
Here is the full response we received from AA eShopping customer service on February 22:
Follow-Up and Eventual Resolution
February turned to March, and I actually received 2 more emails from AA eShopping agents telling me that they had not been able to resolve things with Marriott but they were still working on the issue. I truly appreciated their follow-up.
Yesterday, I finally received an email from AA eShopping confirming that they had resolved the issue, and 6,511 AA miles had been credited to my AAdvantage account. Hooray!
Here’s the email from AA eShopping:
Interestingly, although I didn’t receive this message from AA eShopping until yesterday (April 16), the AA miles had actually been added to my AAdvantage account sometime between March 18 and March 24. (I can tell from checking my account history on Award Wallet; if I’d been watching Award Wallet more closely, I would have been able to see exactly when the miles posted and known weeks ago that the issue was resolved.)
Oddly, in my AAdvantage account, the AA miles from this transaction are dated as of January 13:
Given how I’ve seen AA mile-posting work in the past, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see the miles dated as of January 14 (when I actually clicked through the AA eShopping portal and made the reservation). I can’t quite explain why it would say January 13 instead, but I suppose it really doesn’t matter.
So bottom line – yes, we got the miles. We’re very glad for that. But I don’t believe we would have gotten them without diligent follow-up on our part. This shouldn’t be necessary, and I’m sure a lot of these situations fall through the cracks so that people don’t get what they were promised.
Take-Aways and Tips from This Experience
One thing we want to do is learn whatever lessons we can from experiences like this. Here are a few take-aways and tips:
- We still support using AA eShopping-Marriott promos and encourage you to use them to pick up bonus miles when they give the best portal offer
- As always, be sure to check Cashback Monitor to make sure you’re getting the best portal rate. And remember that there have been semi-regular 10%/10x promos on portals for Marriott recently, most notably on Ebates but also from AA and United.
- When you’re ready to make a reservation or purchase through a shopping portal: (1) close out of your browser completely; (2) open a fresh browser; (3) go straight to the portal; (4) click through to the merchant; and (5) make your reservation/purchase without doing any other browser activity.
- This is always a “best practice” and will maximize the chance that your order tracks correctly through the portal so that you get paid.
- Be sure to track all purchases you make through portals so that you know what you should be receiving points/miles on.
- Be sure to save your confirmation email of your order or reservation.
- In this case, we had to provide AA eShopping with a copy of our email confirmation of the Marriott reservation that we’d made through the AA eShopping portal.
- If you don’t get the points/miles that you should have received through your portal, don’t hesitate to follow up with the portal.
- As we mentioned above, AA eShopping has a “Contact us” link at the bottom of the AA eShopping home page where you can then select “Order inquiry/missing miles.”
- We’ve also successfully worked through Top Cashback recently to receive cash back that was missing for 2 significant purchases from Raise.
We hope this is helpful. Shopping portals offer incredible opportunities to earn points, miles and cash back to help us all live our travel dreams, so we certainly want to help you make the most of them!
Do you have other relevant data points or experiences with AA eShopping-Marriott purchases or with shopping portals in general that would be helpful to share with Middle Age Miles readers? If so, please let us know in the Comments! Thank you!
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