Northwest Airlines Complaint - Elite Status Request
TOELDO, OHIO -- I have been traveling Northwest Airlines almost exclusively for 8 years. I have earned elite status in almost every year, 1 year traveling enough to earn platinum status. By all definitions, I have been a loyal customer. For two years (2005 and 2006), I had a job that did not require me to travel often. I travelled approximately 12,000 to 14,000 miles in those years. In April of 2007, my job changed and I logged 46,500 miles on Northwest from the last week in March until the end of December. In order to be considered for gold elite status, you must travel 50,000 miles in a calendar year.
Because the airline recognized my history by awarding silver elite status in the years I travelled infrequently, I didn't think I would have any problem making a case for gold status in 2008. After all, in 9 months, I travelled at a level that was very consistent with a gold traveler.
I made my request, mentioned the two trips that I have already purchased tickets for in January, and informed Northwest that these two trips would put me in excess of 50,000 miles in a 10 month time frame.
To their credit, Northwest responded quickly. The first response informed me about an exciting opportunity to earn gold status by flying 5 round trips in certain fare classes in the first 90 days of 2008. Of course that would be great if I ever flew in those fare classes. When I responded that would not help me and that my company would not be willing to pay more for a ticket so I could have a particular fare class, I got a "we make no exceptions" response. I was told that the only way to earn gold elite status is to fly the right number of miles in a CALENDAR year, not just in a 12 month timeframe. This seems crazy to me and their "no exceptions" response is insulting. I know they must get many requests and I wouldn't expect them to grant all of them. I certainly didn't expect (or request) the silver status they gave me in the years I didn't travel much.
My final response to them has been sent. In that response I pointed out that they were willing to make exceptions when I didn't travel often and didn't request it but wouldn't consider a request when I was actually giving them a lot of business. That seems backwards to me. I also have made two offers to discuss this and my other concerns about Northwest customer service with anyone who is interested. I included my phone number each time.
After the last response from Northwest, I contacted another airline that flies the routes that I travel most frequently. If they are willing to grant me status in their frequent traveler program, I will be switching my business.
My husband is also a gold level traveler (was platinum last year) and he is also considering making a switch based on Northwest customer service.
Northwest has disappointed me for some time with the level of service they provide in flight and the nickel and dime approach to amenities. When I have had to travel other airlines this year, I have been impressed by how much better the service is. If Northwest doesn't reconsider, I have very little reason to stay.
I am amazed by how little the airlines seem to care about their customers. Clearly the airlines that have figured this out (Southwest, JetBlue) are the only ones doing well. Why are the large carriers having such a hard time understanding such simple concepts. This is EASY stuff to fix and they just seem unwilling to address a growing problem.
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