The UX of Claiming Airline Points

In my recent holiday I flew with affiliate airlines of one of the flying programs I am a member of. This was not an element in my decision making, but why not claim the points if I can. 

I went on to the airline website, and it's not possible to claim the points through the website, you have to email with your flight details and attach your itinerary. I did this, and 7 to 10 business days later I received an email from them that they had processed half of the flights, but I had to re-email them about the other flights after a certain date (apparently you cannot claim before 2 weeks have passed from the date of travel - perhaps this should have been on the website). 

2 weeks later I emailed them about several flights with one airline, let's call them airline D. 

Despite the fact I had already claimed some flights with airline D this was apparently not possible if I did not provide a copy of a boarding pass to them. This isn't 1995 nor my first international trip; I didn't keep boarding passes to paste in my scrap book when I got home. So I contacted airline D asking if I could get a boarding pass, but due to security reasons they will not give out past boarding passes but for $20 they can send me a copy of the ticket. I still have the e-tickets which is what I sent the partner airline and they would not accept. 

What followed was an annoying process of back and forth:

  • I re-emailed the partner airline the above
  • Partner airline says that I have to give them the boarding pass
  • I try explain it to them again, smaller words. 
  • The email bounces back
  • I complain to them on twitter 
  • Public complaining seems to get their A into gear and process my points. 

The moral of the story? Complaining on twitter improves customer service. This is a reminder that UX isn't just about my interaction with your web products, but with your whole company to achieve my goal, which in this case was frustrating, convoluted and unnecessary.