As you probably know if you’ve clicked into this article, AA terminated my AAdvantage account last Friday. We recounted the details here and provided some initial thoughts on how we might proceed in order to get my account reinstated or, failing that, to pursue complaints and potential litigation against AA:
- Middle Age Miles: Terminated by AA – Initial Thoughts on Next Steps (February 28, 2020)
This article and our previous articles during the time when my account was “locked” by AA have generated substantial interest. For that reason, we’ll continue to post updates as we move forward in attempting to communicate with AA and, if necessary, pursuing litigation against AA.
Before we start the article, though, I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me to express condolences and provide support. I truly appreciate it.
Also, we’d much rather be writing content on Middle Age Miles that’s focused on the more positive aspects of travel and points-and-miles. We’ll continue to do that as much as possible, in parallel with reporting on my AA situation. We want to continue to bring you best-in-class content and analysis that will help you live your dreams through travel and points!
General Thoughts on Approach
As much as we’re outraged at AA’s actions in terminating my account when I’ve done nothing to violate any terms or conditions of the AAdvantage program or any credit card offer from Citi and AA, we’re going to try to suppress the urge to go from zero-to-100 immediately, in favor of a methodical approach:
- First, contact AA to:
- (a) let them know that their reason for termination and allegations against me are not correct;
- (b) explain and offer to discuss with them and provide additional information; and
- (c) ask them to reinstate my AAdvantage account.
- Second, if the first step generates no response or fails, then escalate the matter higher in the AA corporate chain.
- Third, file one or more administrative complaints (including at least a complaint against AA to the Department of Transportation (DoT)), while preparing for potential litigation and taking the preliminary steps necessary to assert claims in the strongest manner possible.
- Fourth, initiate litigation against AA.
At this point, we don’t want to reveal any additional details, given that someone at AA may well be reading our articles. But as things unfold, we’ll do our best to provide information and details on Middle Age Miles, as we’re doing with today’s Update #1.
Initial Communications to AA
Today, I made 2 initial communications to AA:
- 1 – Sent a reply email to AA Corporate Security, in response to AA’s termination email; and
- 2 – Called the AA Executive Platinum line to try to get connected to a person or department who would talk to me
Reply Email to AA Corporate Security
As a reminder, here is the termination email that AA Corporate Security sent to me on Friday (February 28, 2020):
The key portion of the email is that AA terminated my AAdvantage account, based on allegations (which are incorrect, as explained in our previous articles) of “abuse of the AAdvantage Program through gaming behavior, used to circumvent the Citibank/AAdvantage card enrollment bonus eligibility restrictions.”
I have not received any further communications from AA. As I expected, I can no longer log in to my AAdvantage account, and as best I can tell, all of the mileage, status and benefits associated with my account are gone. I did not have any ticketed award flights at the time AA terminated my account, so I don’t have any firsthand data point to report on AA’s cancellation of future award tickets.
I replied to AA Corporate Security via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) this afternoon (Monday, March 2, 2020), as follows:
Dear AAdvantage Corporate Security,
I received the email below from Mr. Patton on Friday. I understand that AA has terminated my AAdvantage account.
The reason given by AA for the termination is not correct. I have not abused the AAdvantage Program through gaming behavior. Specifically, I have not circumvented any Citibank/AAdvantage card enrollment bonus eligibility restrictions. AA’s termination email doesn’t say what terms AA alleges that I violated, but I can assure you that I have not violated any terms.
To make sure that I address the concern stated in the email, I can provide these facts: I was approved by Citi for 4 AA co-branded credit cards in total during 2018-19. In each instance, I applied under my own name, my own Social Security Number, and my own other account details. In each instance, AA’s co-brand partner Citi vetted and approved my application. In each instance, I legitimately spent the amount required to earn the bonus for the card; Citi agreed, and Citi and AA credited my AAdvantage account with AA bonus miles.
I’m happy to provide you with further information and documentation to confirm what I’ve stated above. I’m also happy to discuss the matter with you to clarify this situation. I’m surprised that AA would take this severe action against me without giving me an opportunity to be heard. No one from AA, including the AA Corporate Security group, reached out to me to let me know that my account was under investigation, that AA had any question about anything I had done, or to talk to me at all. There was also no warning from AA or Citi that there was any problem. Instead, Citi had approved my applications and confirmed the bonuses, and AA had posted the miles to my AAdvantage account.
If necessary to reinstate my AAdvantage account and benefits, please let me know if you are willing to talk to me and consider the information and documentation that I’m offering to provide.
I’m also surprised that AA decided to terminate my account and take all of the miles, status and benefits that I had earned through AAdvantage, when the allegations relate only to credit card bonuses from Citi. The vast majority of miles and benefits in my AAdvantage account had nothing whatsoever to do with credit card bonuses. At the time AA terminated my AAdvantage account on Friday, I had more than 1.23 million miles in my account (of which at least 950,000 had nothing to do with any promotional bonuses from Citi). In addition, AA took these benefits that had nothing at all to do with any promotional bonuses from Citi: Executive Platinum status, 4 systemwide upgrades, 78 500-mile upgrades, Lifetime Gold status, and more than 1.86 million “Million Miler” miles.
I have been a good and loyal customer of AA for many, many years, having spent tens of thousands of dollars with AA. In the last 3 years in particular, I have earned Executive Platinum status, which means that I have flown at least 100,000 Elite Qualifying Miles each year and spent at least 12,000 (in 2017-18) or at least 15,000 (in 2019) Elite Qualifying Dollars. I had also already booked more than $10,000 in flights with AA during 2020. My own loyalty to AA should mean something to AA now.
I ask that you please reinstate my AAdvantage account in full, including all of my redeemable AA miles, all of my lifetime miles and status, and my Executive Platinum status and related benefits. I ask that this be completed and confirmed in writing within 7 days of this email message (by Monday, March 9, 2020). I will assume that AA will act in good faith here and restore my account, status and benefits in full so that no legal action against AA will become necessary.
You can reach me via reply email or by phone at the number associated with my AAdvantage account. I look forward to hearing back from you.
Charles Craig Tadlock
The intent here was to be polite, as pleasant as possible under the circumstances, and cooperative – yet firm in my request. The email includes a short-but-reasonable time for AA to make things right.
Call to the AA Executive Platinum Line
Shortly after I sent the reply email, I also called the AA Executive Platinum line to try to talk with anyone who might be able to help me. I called from my regular number, the same number that is attached to my AAdvantage account. The call went as follows:
- First, an automated attendant answered my call. It asked for my AAdvantage number, which I gave. The auto attendant then asked me to please hold while it got someone to help me.
- The call was then re-routed to AA Customer Service
- This was basically the same process that had happened when I called the AA Executive Platinum line during the time when my account was locked but not yet shut down.
- After a couple of minutes of hold time, an AA Customer Service agent picked up the call. She was polite and pleasant throughout our call. I explained my situation and asked if she could help connect me with Corporate Security or someone else at AA who could talk to me about the termination and email.
- She said she’d look into it and placed me on hold for about 5 minutes.
- Before she put me on hold, though, she made an interesting comment. She said that she was seeing something unusual. She said that when she’s taken similar calls recently, she couldn’t see any information about the caller’s AAdvantage account – but on my account she could see “partial information.”
- We’re not sure what to make of this, if anything.
- When the agent came back on the line, she said that she could not give me any information other than to reply to the email from Corporate Security. She said that Corporate Security will respond to me.
- I was surprised that the agent said that Corporate Security will respond. So, I re-confirmed – Reply to the email and they’ll respond? She said yes, that’s correct, I should hear back from Corporate Security.
- I thanked her and told her that I had sent a reply email to Corporate Security, just before I made the call that resulted in me being connected to her.
- The agent then re-confirmed that nothing else can be done by AA Customer Service.
Wrap-Up from Today
Well, the post-termination process with AA has started. I sure wish I didn’t need to spend time and effort on this, but I think it’s worth pursuing. I feel good about the initial email reply.
I wonder about whether it means anything that the Customer Service agent could still see “partial information” about my account. Maybe my account is in some different “bucket” than earlier terminations of other accounts. After all, I did receive a different form of termination email than others had received earlier. Or maybe (more likely?) it doesn’t mean a thing.
I was also quite surprised that the AA Customer Service agent seemed so definitive that Corporate Security would respond to my reply email. I believe that the data points so far have been that people have not received responses from Corporate Security. On this, time will tell.
Again, we appreciate your interest and support, and we’ll continue to report as things develop.
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