Lifemiles is the frequent flyer program of AviancaTaca, and they’ve been getting quite a bit of attention due to their 100% bonus on purchased miles promotions they’ve been running since joining the Star Alliance.
I took advantage of the 100% bonus on purchased Lifemiles last month, and needed to make a change to a ticket I had booked. One of the many oddities of the Lifemiles program is that they charge $50 to redeposit an award while they charge $150 to make a change. Yeah, I don’t get it either.
Anyway, when calling they require both the member and the person whose credit card was used to be on the phone, and in this case those were two different people. Once they start to process your refund they need a credit card for the $50 cancellation fee. But you don’t actually give the agent your credit card information, but rather they forward you to an automated system where you enter all your card details. I figured this was kind of like Delta’s PIN authorization system, where they forward you to an automated system and the agent isn’t on the line, and once you’re “verified” the agent picks up again.
When he puts us through the system to enter our credit card information, I couldn’t help but make a remark to my friend over the phone (again, I assumed we were dealing with a fully automated system), about just how shady I found the agent and the whole operation, and a sarcastic comment about wondering why they don’t have us give the agents our credit card details directly. Then I heard the guy clear his throat. Oops.
So word of warning — when you think you’re dealing with an automated system with no human on the line, you’re wrong. The agent is there and listening.
No wonder the mileage refund still hasn’t posted even three days later, and when I called to follow up they claimed it was never processed…