United Giveth, United Taketh Away 5,000 Bonus Miles

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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.

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  1. My miles was removed yesterday dated back for Dec.01.12 the original posting day I send them an email am now in a negative balance because of this, will see what happens

  2. So far, mine 5K are still in my account. If they take them away, I would feel very deceived, since this is something they would post and let me register for.

  3. I signed up for this never got bonus …. I see this as being wrong as terms were changed after people signed up … That’s why when we can get more than we are suppose to from the airlines we should take them to the cleaners …

  4. This is hardly a surprise. Just another example of United’s trainwreck IT. I’m sure yet another example is just around the corner.

  5. Miles are still there for me, however I met the spending requirements of 1K. Bonus miles taken away might have to do with not meeting the spending requirements or not having the MP Explorer card…

  6. Mine are gone. I sent an email instructing them to return “My Miles” back to my account, as the promotion terms were met 🙂 I’m sure that’ll go over well.

  7. Mine are still there. Had me worried for a moment. However, I did meet the spend on the card to earn the bonus.

  8. Has anyone who met the spend requirements had the miles clawed back? I met the spend requirement and my miles are still there.

  9. Just checked my husbands account ( both of us were registered and met the requirements)— my bonus miles disappeared but his are still there…..hmmmm.

  10. I registered for the promo before all the changes and restrictions were made by Chase-United Mileage Plus. I also went well beyond the minimum spend within the promo timeframe and disappointingly never received the 5K bonus miles. What is really annoying is that the promo registration screen said I had successfully registered. I wish I had a screen shot of that web page to e-mail to Mileage Plus.

  11. I didn’t meet the spending requirement. In fact I was so sure this wasn’t a real offer, I canceled the card to avoid an annual fee. They gave me the miles, then took them back. No big deal. I wasn’t entitled to them.

  12. yup mine are gone too. ironically, I looked here yesterday to see if you had posted about it yesterday, as i figured a post was in the works.

  13. My wife got her’s taken away and now has a negative balance of -4,956. As she has no status anyhow with United I may as well just open another United account for her — so in theory I’ve kept the miles.

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