Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Flying the unfriendly skies...

I am proud to announce I have not flown United in three years as of Mar 31, 2007. Yay! I would be happier if they just went under and let an airline who cares server their routes, but I take the victories in whatever form I can get them.

As a result of my “I would rather hitchhike than rely on United rule” My air miles are expiring. The question is, what do I do with the 39705 miles? I wanted to use them somehow. Preferably every single one. I can’t use them for anything on Air Canada even though they are supposed to be in the same network – the Star Alliance. Not even upgrades. Next.

Their online store looks good and I spend some time browsing the products. Lots of brand name stores. I am surprised it is so well done for a United endeavor. On checkout I was informed it is only useable by preferred members. Definitely not me. Next.

They have a mileage transfer system. Cool. I get Brent’s United number. Then at the end of that process, I was informed there is a just a small convenience fee for transferring the miles. In my case, $180. Next.

They have a deal with Sony to buy albums in the Sony Connect store. 10,000 miles for 10 albums or 100 singles. Seems reasonable. I buy 20 albums and 100 singles. I get the coupon codes in an email. I log into Sony Connect. The coupons don’t work on the Canadian site. They do work on the US site. So I log in there using my US mailing address. I pick a few albums I have been meaning to get and put them in my basket. When I try to download, I was informed that I can’t download from the US site because I am physically in Canada at the time. Emails to support give generic, useless advice. I try a few anonymizer type tools. Anonymizer works very well for web stuff but doesn’t fool the Sony SoundStage software.

I give up and just bittorrent the albums I wanted. Whatever.

Then I get an e-updste from United. My 9705 miles expire in 2010 now. Apparently any kind of transaction is enough to reset the timer. I did not need to spend them all after all.

I donate the rest to Ronald McDonald house. At least that was free.

I am still downloading albums from the internet…it’s just easier than trying to pay for them!

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