A few months ago there were some United promotions that many readers registered for that would allegedly award 5,000 bonus United miles after spending $1,000 on a co-branded United credit card. Shortly after many folks registered, the terms of the deal were changed to say it was only for residents of certain countries (not the US), and it turns out it probably wasn’t supposed to be a widely available promo.
Nevertheless, many people were able to successfully register before the terms changed. I did say at the time that:
“…I have been able to register for United promos before that I wasn’t targeted for (and they didn’t end up working). I say that since just because you can register for a United promo, doesn’t always mean that it will work for you in the end.”
However a couple months later there were many reports of people getting the 5,000 mile bonus. I never actually got mine, but I was excited for everyone that did. I got concerned when I started hearing more and more reports of people getting the 5,000 mile bonus without even meeting the spending requirements as it was clear there was a glitch with the promo, and it looked more and more likely to me that United would figure that out sooner or later.
Sure enough, yesterday I started reading reports of the 5,000 mile bonuses getting “clawed back” from United accounts with the coding of “incorrect bonus”. United has done this before with other promotions that didn’t play out the way they wanted. I have seen reports of claw-backs both from people who did and did not meet the spending requirements.
This was one of those things that was worth trying for, but that was a bit questionable from the beginning. I never got any miles from it in the first place, so I didn’t lose anything. I would be a bit annoyed if miles were taken out of my account that had been there for a while, but that is the risk with these sorts of things – especially with United who doesn’t like to let you keep miles that they feel aren’t rightfully yours. In this case, United giveth and United taketh away. I wish they would just suck it up and send an email that said something along the lines of “it appears you were incorrectly able to register for a promotion for which you were not eligible. We will go ahead and award you the miles this one time as a goodwill gesture,” but that isn’t how they play the game. They play hardball with their miles and aren’t shy about digging them back out of your account.
Feel free to weigh in with your experiences and sorry to those for whom it didn’t work out.