A Bad Experience about Redeeming American Airline miles for Magazines

Magazine choices
Originally, I was thinking about using the subject "Beware" or "Fraud" for this post.  But the loss would be only at most 2000 AAdvantage miles.  I should just take it easy.  Maybe my experience would bring you some laughter.

My mother had about 5000 AAdvantage miles remained in her account.  She does not seem to be interested to earn additional AAdvantage miles.  I have been interested in Barrons and The Economists magazine, so thought it would be a good time to use up her AA miles to redeem free magazine (not newspaper).

In October 2013, I used her 1900 AAdvantage miles to redeem Barron magazine.

In January 2014, I received first Barron newspaper, black and white, and is not a magazine.

This is the third Barron newspaper, a color one
1st call: Early last week, I called Magazine for Miles customer care number 1-800-961-8669 about receiving newspaper not magazine.  The customer care asked me to wait 5 days for a call from Barron after she submitted the order update request.  She initially claimed my redemption is for Barron newspaper.  I simply responded my email confirmation says "magazine subscription".

2nd call: One week went by, no call was received from Barron.  I called Magazine for Miles again.  The customer care gave a different story, saying that Barron magazine really meant newspaper according to their inventory order system.  He would not admit anything wrong on the AA side, until I explicitly said that is false advertising practice, posting product A photo and selling product B, and current AA website still shows that photo.  He asked me to call Barron to correct this, and call him for a possible refund if Barron declines.

3rd call: The call became quite ludicrous, as the Barron customer care tried to redefine what magazine means, simply saying Barron magazine is newspaper.  One option they offer is to cancel my order without refund of American AAdvantage miles.  (It recalled those times when ex-President Bill Clinton trying to re-define what sex is.)  I decided to make one last call to Magazine for Miles, for the sake of completeness.

4th call:  This is the worst experience.  I repeated product A&B idea to the customer care.  The customer care repeated several times that I have accepted AA Terms and Conditions that "Your magazine purchase with AAdvantage miles is non-refundable".  I mentioned AA possible violating consumer rights.  Finally he backed down, willing to file a request to American Airline customer care to request miles refund, without guarantee.  At this time, I decided to forget this 1900 AA miles.  Enough fun, time to move on.

This experience may not be an epitome of American Airline customer care service quality.  Two days ago, I received a voicemail from American Airline that they are looking into my request.  I prefer to forget this magazine order, and just read the Barron newspaper.  Somehow I feel that AA will refund the AA miles.  I am fine with newspaper, but not really fine with false advertisement from a large company which claims awards and recognitions.

If you try to redeem magazine using AA miles, maybe you want to check if there is a newspaper version, and you will be fine with it.  For example, The Economist has a paper version also.

Update February 24, 2014
American Airline called today to inform me that they will refund the 1900 American Airlines miles.

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