Reactivating Expired Miles

Q. I thought you might be able to help me with a problem I have with American Airlines. In October 2012, I booked a trip for myself and my family to take over the Christmas holiday. In late December, the day before our travel dates, I went to print out our tickets from the AA site and noticed that all of our miles had expired on November 30, leaving us with zero miles. None of us had been notified in any way that our miles were about to expire. I'd been very ill over the last year or two,  and thus we hadn't traveled at all. But now I was better, and we decided to travel over the holidays, and loyally we returned to AA.

My wife called AA and explained the situation to them (my illness) and asked them that since we made our reservations in October 2012, well before the November 30th expiration date, didn’t that “reset the expiration clock” in October 2012?  She was told no, “the clock wouldn’t reset” until we actually traveled at the end of December 2012. They did offer to re-instate the miles for $30.00 per person, in other words $120.00 total. We declined their offer to be nickeled & dimed some more! Isn't there something to be done?

A. First of all, there's no excuse for letting your miles expire! You can easily keep them active by making a purchase online. I do feel for you, and I wish American would make it clearer that you have to take the trip in order for the miles to "register". But honestly, American was doing you a favor by allowing you to reinstate the miles for just $30 each. The "normal" fee for reinstating that amount of miles would be $200 plus a 7.5% tax. I would have jumped at the chance.