“I’d like to turn my miles in for a free flight, and possibly free hotel if I have enough points,” I smiled through the phone line, giddy in the knowledge that I would be going to Paris next week or (worst case scenario) the week after.
“Certainly, madam, and just how many miles have you accrued?” cooed the customer service rep in his lovely exotic Indian accent. He identified himself as “Mr. Patel.”“Yes, Mr. Patel, let me see here, on the document that you all sent me, it says here I have 832.”
The silence on the phone told me that this was a LOT of miles. He would most likely have to get a supervisor and a calculator to complete such a complicated transaction.“Did you say, 832 million miles?” queried Mr. Patel hopefully.
“No.”“832 thousand?” he inquired politely.
“Just 832,” I corrected him, “eight-thirty-two.”“Oh, okay.”
“Does this mean I can upgrade to first class?”
He paused, and then I heard a weird noise that sounded suspiciously like a head banging against a computer keyboard.
“Madam, 832 miles is not going to get you a flight to Boston. From Boston. You have enough miles to convert to one free magazine subscription.” His formerly delightful accent was beginning to lose its appeal.“I don’t live in Boston.”
“Would you be interested in, perhaps, Car and Driver magazine? Or Essence?” His accent was now grating on my nerves.I took a deep breath, trying to regain my patience. “You’ll need to put your manager on the phone, Mr. Patel. I won’t tolerate this type of withholding of prizes. I’m not sure about how things are where you live, but here in America, that is illegal.”
I waited a really long time on hold while Mr. Patel and his pals most likely laughed and threw darts at a map of America.
In the end, I did speak with a supervisor. She was much nicer and much more professional than Mr. Patel had been, and her accent was easier to understand. Her name was Nimisha and she was willing to work with me. She kindly let me know that I could easily upgrade my existing mile balance for that trip to Paris by merely paying a few dollars difference. Like $14,972. This seemed reasonable.
Right about then, The Husband (who I thought was watching sports on TV) snatched my cell phone out of my hand and clicked it shut.
“Were you talking to those mileage people again, MOV? I told you to stop calling them. And you got another one of those ‘Cease and Desist’ legal mumbo jumbo letters today, so it’s not just me.”
“Fine,” I pouted.
I called the mileage reward customer service people back the very next day. Oh, how they had changed their tune! I may not be able to fly from Boston to Boston (roundtrip), but I have earned enough points to get two free magazines.
(“Magazines Or Vacations”)