A couple of questions have risen in the past week from readers and friends of mine about what happened to FlyerTalk’s Coupon Connection that has now been shut down for more than a month.
Coupon Connection on FlyerTalk was only available for established forum members and the access requirements have changed couple of times over the time. There was number of months requirement as a member and you needed to have certain number of real posts (no posting runs).
The purpose of the forum was give the members to ability to exchange vouchers and miles. Cash like transactions were prohibited. You might have needed some United miles for some award ticket but only had American Airlines ones. You could have put up a post and likely found a partner that was looking American Airlines miles for United ones.
FlyerTalk Community Directors decided to shut down the Coupon Connection temporarily because American Airlines fraud department had gone after members that had posted some AA upgrade instruments available for trade.
The AA fraud department had closed/questioned account members that hadn’t even traded any of them. Merely posting to have upgrade instrument available for trade on a private forum was enough for the fraud department to go after the members.
This is a good time to remind that you should not use identifiable usernames across number of different online websites and you should preferably also have different email address on file with each one of them.
FlyerTalk had not given any information about the posters to AA (according to FT). AA’s fraud department must have been able to connect the username with real name/email address using simple internet searches.
It was certainly against the “rules” of the FlyerTalk terms and conditions for AA fraud team to use their personal accounts to start a fishing expedition on Coupon Connection to go after those that may have violated the terms and conditions of the AAdvantage program.
You have to remind that all the loyalty program terms and conditions are very lopsided and completely written in the favor of the program. Trading instruments is probably against the T&C’s but it is not illegal.
Many give advice that you should co-operate and come clean if AA’s fraud department freezes your account.
I disagree. If you know that you have something against the program terms and condition, why would you start ratting out other people and give them (AA) ammunition to go after more members?
My personal opinion is that FlyerTalk’s Coupon Connection was a worthwhile forum that I had personally used few times, but not in the recent past. At some point, it seemed that there were more “professional” brokers around than what would have been healthy. Not to mention, some of the trade ratios being fished by people began bordering on the ridiculous.