Old Feb 23, 2018, 11:52 AM
weatherbain weatherbain is offline
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 3
Default Etihad deceiving and cheating guests

I have been a loyal customer with Etihad since their foundation many years ago, and a Gold Guest member for almost 8 years, indicative of my loyalty and custom. I have been accruing Guest miles for many years, and I was wanting to use these to make two bookings, one from Abu Dhabi to Beirut (Business) and another from Abu Dhabi to Sydney (economy), whereby the flights would link. I had the details ready online and I decided to finalise these bookings, so on the evening of January 14 (at around 9.30pm) I opened two separate pages to make and confirm these miles redemption bookings. The Beirut leg was to cost 25000 miles each way (business), while the Sydney leg was to cost 51000 miles each way (with additional taxes to pay). A total of 152 000 miles for the two complete bookings. Whilst both pages were open, the system refreshed after a while and when I tried to access either booking I noticed that the amount of miles required had suddenly increased significantly for both bookings. Thinking there was an error from my side, I tried over and over again to access the same miles bookings but with no success. Within minutes, the miles required to Beirut was now 37000 each way, and to Sydney was now 61000 each way- A TOTAL INCREASE OF 44000 miles, for the same class and category of seats as before!!! I kept thinking that something was wrong with the system and so I kept trying well into that night and next day, but to no avail. I called and spoke with 3 Etihad agents from the contact centres in Europe and in Abu Dhabi, and all of them were apologetic and understanding, and suggested that I should email [email protected]. One of the agents did then mention that there was to be a change in Miles required for many destinations, but that this was supposed to start on January 15 (THE NEXT DAY!). He told me there was nothing he could do from his side and was very apologetic. Another of the agents was adamant that feedback would assist and undoubtedly resolve my miles issues since it was clear that the system had updated to the new miles a day before it should have. He even told me that others had contacted the call centre complaining of the same issue.
On the advice of the agents, I emailed Etihad feedback with my concerns, and clarified that I was holding off making the bookings until I heard back with a resolution. I anticipated this would be resolved quite simply and quickly. However, it took 15 days for someone to respond, and the response was a generic text not even addressing my issues, and not making any specific reference to my concerns, but with a classic line stating “I am sorry that you are not happy with the changes.”. I was completely unsatisfied with this response and emailed back asking for an escalation and a respectful response addressing my issues. It was then that an agent from the complaints centre called me. I explained to her my concerns and that the system seemed to have changed on January 14, and not January 15 as was supposed to happen. She told me she would investigate and get back to me, and also suggested I should complete the bookings on the premise that the seats may become unavailable if I waited longer, and that she would resolve the issue in due time.
The final insult came today, more than one month later, and after many back and forth emails and calls. Rather than resolve this simple issue, the agent responded that after her investigation, she could only find a call I made to the contact centre and in that call I was heard making the exact same claims I detailed in my emails and by phone to her. Her simple response was that I should have known that the system was changing on January 15 since apparently this information was sent to Guest members in December (I checked and found nothing from Etihad- but ironically Etihad sent out an email on January 15 informing us of a reduction in miles to some destinations, BUT WITH NO MENTION THAT IN FACT MOST DESTINATIONS HAD ACTUALLY INCREASED IN MILES REQUIRED! Which was the case in my bookings. Clever marketing, yet very deceptive and misleading information.), and that it was not possible that the system changed one day early, even though I explained so many times the exact details, times, the exact miles required, the exact changes that happened and the exact details of my conversations with agents. It is being implied that I am making up this story and that I was in the wrong, and so Etihad refuse to allow me the miles bookings that should have been rightfully made in the first place.
I pride myself on my honesty and integrity, and this can be verified by anyone who knows me. I am both a gold guest member as well as a member of the government employee scheme, and I will not have my honesty and integrity questioned by an airline that clearly has no customer loyalty. I will not be made to look as if I made this whole story up. That Etihad would push so hard to try and disprove me shows from the outset that they had no intention of resolving my issues or allowing me to make the booking with the original amount of miles. A greedy and money hungry grab consistent with their recent cost cutting policies.

I find it an absolute disgrace that Etihad would want to rob one of its loyal gold members of 44000 miles- when it has taken me so much time (and money!) to earn these miles by making paid flights and payments using my Visa card- this is money I spent to earn these miles rightfully. I did not get these for free to give away because Etihad decided to update its system one day early, even though they deny this! To what extent will Etihad stoop to deny customers their rightful earnings? Isn’t it enough that cost cutting has made the services, food and quality of the airline on par with many sub-standard budget airlines? I could easily fly with any other airline with better services, better food, and better treatment for a much lower cost than provided by Etihad. Yet I have maintained my loyalty. I question now what the value of this loyalty is, if this is how Etihad treat their customers.

The agents I spoke with agreed with me when I made the claim of the system changing one day early (surely this is on the voice recordings also!), yet I have no way of proving this other than my word and from the details I provide. There is now way known that I would be so persistent had my claims not been true and had the system not updated one day early. I fully acknowledge that Etihad has the right to change its miles and its programs as it pleases, yet in this case, the miles were changed one day before they should have (if the information from the agents is true that the system should have updated on January 15), and only for this reason am I pursuing this so vehemently. I will not stop pursuing this until my miles are rightly given back to me. These miles are of great value to me, I earned them. Etihad should not be trying to steal them back in a money hungry grab to prove me wrong. What an embarrassment- from an enterprise that is trying to promote itself globally- yet trying to cheat their loyal customers! I hope others who have experienced similar issues will also write here, and that someone from Etihad will actually respond and resolve my issues in a just manner. I am only asking for what is rightfully mine, nothing more. Very simple.

I posted this also on Facebook and one agent responded simply to tell me that an agent had already contacted me and finalised the case. So, the final outcome from 5 weeks of back and forth contact and pleading to be heard is that this is my fault, and that I made up this story and that they will not acknowledge their system was at fault, and they will not at all resolve my issue or even compromise in any way. A great airline? You be the judge...
cheated, etihad deceives guests

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