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  • AP11 21 posts

    Hello

    I am reaching out to seek urgent assistance regarding the recent suspension of my Virgin Flying Club account.

    I received a notification stating that my account has been suspended due to alleged fraudulent activity, breaching the Flying Club Terms and Conditions. I am quite concerned about this and would appreciate any guidance or insights from the community on how to address this issue.

    To provide some context, the points transferred into my account are legitimately earned through my American Express Card in the United States. I recently moved the points from 2 of my Amex card to Virgin and booked flight for my spouse and myself. After couple of days I saw a credit on my Amex from Virgin for the tax and decided to call them. Its around that time I was notified that my bookings were cancelled and I need to email the loyalty fraud dept.

    I emailed them asking if they can assist but all they did was copy paste the guidelines of fraud. I am not aware as to what could cause this and have no way to get in touch with Virgin other than email which takes 5 days for response. I need to rebook my flight for Dec 20th and they have a substantial amount of my points.

    I find it perplexing that my account has been flagged for fraudulent activity without clear evidence, and I am seeking advice on how to navigate this situation. Additionally, I am open to suggestions on how to work with Virgin Flying Club to reinstate my account or, alternatively, transfer my points back to the American Express card from which they were originally transferred.

    If anyone in the community has experienced a similar situation or has insights into the resolution process, I would greatly appreciate your guidance. Moreover, if there are specific steps or documents that could expedite the resolution, please share your knowledge.

    I am actively looking for a solution and would appreciate any support or advice the community can offer. If you prefer to communicate privately, please feel free to message me directly.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance, and I look forward to your insights.

    Rob
    HfP Staff
    2,229 posts

    Hi

    If you transferred the Amex points from a card which was not in your name then Virgin will treat it as a clear case of you ‘buying’ points via a mileage broker. Your account will not be reinstated.

    (Virgin also knows something you don’t know – whether the same Amex account, if it isn’t yours, has been used in the past to send points to other Flying Club accounts. This is very easy for them to spot.)

    There is nothing else I can see which would have caused this. Virgin is very ‘hands off’ with account closures compared to many airlines.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,052 posts

    I find it perplexing that my account has been flagged for fraudulent activity without clear evidence,

    Oh they’ll have clear evidence – which will have been reviewed several times – otherwise they wouldn’t have done it.

    I am not aware as to what could cause this

    In every fraud case I’ve read on here and e.g. flyer talk the person knows exactly what they have done. What you might consider as non problematic behaviour isn’t the same as the definition VS uses.

    So have you made bookings for anyone else? If so how were you connected to them?

    AP11 21 posts

    Both of the Amex are in my name with the only variance being that Amex has my middle name on it. If the name didn’t match I think Virgin wouldn’t accept the transfer thats what the Amex rep told me.

    I have had amex points sitting in my account for almost a year before I transferred another 150,000 points in it this month. So if that was an issue they would have closed the account long time ago.

    I have only made 2 separate bookings on the same day and paid for them via my Amex. One is for me and the other one is for my wife.

    Do you think Virgin will give me the exact reason or can I provide proof that the account where the points came from belong to me.

    meta 1,426 posts

    Do the addresses match between your Amex and Virgin accounts?

    supergraeme 126 posts

    Regardless of any wrongdoing or wrongnotdoing, I do think it’s wrong they don’t tell you what they’re accusing you of. Amex banned me forever some years ago and wouldn’t tell me a thing. I was certain I’d been wronged and argued and argued, and eventually while I was on the phone one day a chap spotted something on my account that changed everything. He wouldn’t tell me what as my mum wasn’t there (data protection) as it all had something to do with me being her supp (nothing dodgy – she’d been spending, I’d done some but not loads), but I was back.

    The upshot is that I’d been stressed for days because I had no idea what I could have done – then they fixed it and left me none the wiser!

    AP11 21 posts

    No they don’t as I have a house in the UK and USA.

    Thew virgin account has UK address as that’s where I primarily live for but I have cards are from USA which is where I am citizen of.

    Thats the only think that maybe causing an issue but I am willing to provide any kind of document to prove that I own the cards but there is no direct number to contact them.

    AP11 21 posts

    Also if I knew the address where going to be a big issue I would have updated it on my USA address. I have numerous airline loyalty account and have never this issue.

    NorthernLass 7,490 posts

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/apr/15/watchdog-julia-bradbury

    Some years ago a well-known TV presenter was caught up in something like this. Of course I have no idea whether this is similar in any way to the OP’s case, but it seemed to take some time to get a resolution so even if Virgin agrees to look at this again it might be best to make alternative travel arrangements.

    AP11 21 posts

    Hi Rob,

    Do you have any recommendation or way I go to solve this. I have called Amex rewards department and they are going to try and see if they can do anything on their end.

    I have exhausted all other resources and would like to get my account reinstated which had approx 250,000 points when I haven’t done anything fraudulent.

    NorthernLass 7,490 posts

    I’d be more concerned that VS are talking in terms of “loyalty fraud” – while cases like this generally go nowhere in the UK due to points being deemed to have no monetary value, this may not be the case in the US. If VS had deemed that the “fraud” took place on that side of the Atlantic (due to your Amexes being linked to an address there), they may have reported it to whichever jurisdiction would investigate it.

    meta 1,426 posts

    No they don’t as I have a house in the UK and USA.

    Thew virgin account has UK address as that’s where I primarily live for but I have cards are from USA which is where I am citizen of.

    Thats the only think that maybe causing an issue but I am willing to provide any kind of document to prove that I own the cards but there is no direct number to contact them.

    There you have it. Name mismatch (middle name) and address mismatch = fraud. This is simple as that. You transferred from a US Amex which has entirely different set up to the UK (and possibly transfer rates and bonuses!) You could try writing to both Virgin and Amex to see if they can credit back points your Amex account. It’s likely to take months to resolve this and lots of chasing.

    meta 1,426 posts

    I’d be more concerned that VS are talking in terms of “loyalty fraud” – while cases like this generally go nowhere in the UK due to points being deemed to have no monetary value, this may not be the case in the US. If VS had deemed that the “fraud” took place on that side of the Atlantic (due to your Amexes being linked to an address there), they may have reported it to whichever jurisdiction would investigate it.

    Five years ago, I had a similar issue with Singapore Airlines when I transferred my MR points to my partner’s account by accident (how Amex accepted the loyalty number is beyond me). SQ alerted my partner the next day and blocked his account. Luckily the addresses where the same and we provided information (passports, proof of address) straight away. The account was unblocked, but points removed. It then took four months and chasing to credit back to my Amex. Very painful process and we had to make alternative plans.

    meta 1,426 posts

    Hi Rob,

    Do you have any recommendation or way I go to solve this. I have called Amex rewards department and they are going to try and see if they can do anything on their end.

    I have exhausted all other resources and would like to get my account reinstated which had approx 250,000 points when I haven’t done anything fraudulent.

    It will have to be Virgin that you also need to involve. You need to make them talk to each other. It won’t happen by itself and you really need to be on it calling at minimum once a week until resolved.

    AP11 21 posts

    I spoke to Amex rewards team and they are going to reach out to Virgin and advised them the points are indeed from my account. Amex also advised that they don’t provide any info regarding address to Virgin so that shouldn’t trigger anything as they have clients who live elsewhere but have Amex in the US due to previous ties.

    In regards to the middle name Amex doesn’t require it in the US so they never had it in first place and this is the first time I am running into an issue with Virgin too. They have had the approx 100,000 points in the account since last 16 months.

    The only people I can call is Virgin general line as there is no direct contact to Virgin fraud dept.

    Do you think getting aviationadr involved with help in this matter?

    NorthernLass 7,490 posts

    I don’t think they would get involved with anything to do with Flying Club membership terms, especially if whatever anomaly has triggered this has come from the US side. As @meta says, your first port of call is to try and resolve it with Virgin. If you have been wrongly deprived of your points, in theory you might be able to take VS to MCOL to claim back their value, as people have done with BA and avios, but again it’s doubtful that you’d get anywhere with something which occurred in another country.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,052 posts

    Th only people I know who have been given cash for avios by MCOL are those where BA denied a claim (usually for downgrade and involving a 2-4-1) and the number of avios was converted to avios because MCOL can only deal with cash claims. I’m not aware of anyon doing it because their account was closed for misbehaving.

    I’m not even sure MCOL would be the appropriate arena for this to be decided. And given the amount of VS miles involved VS would crtainly flightit.

    JDB 4,336 posts

    I’d be more concerned that VS are talking in terms of “loyalty fraud” – while cases like this generally go nowhere in the UK due to points being deemed to have no monetary value, this may not be the case in the US. If VS had deemed that the “fraud” took place on that side of the Atlantic (due to your Amexes being linked to an address there), they may have reported it to whichever jurisdiction would investigate it.

    While I appreciate that these comments that have been repeated multiple times in the past week relate to a specific case you were involved with some considerable time ago re a Boots Advantage card, the concept that all loyalty points have no value and/or therefore cannot be prosecuted successfully as fraud or theft is simply wrong. It’s way outside my ken, although all my instincts (and those of others who know much more than me) say it’s wrong and when I put it to leading counsel in this are, they said it was “errant nonsense”. I know that you don’t believe what I say (nor indeed the comments/advice of other posters knowledgeable in their fields) but if you go to your library, they probably have subscriptions to Westlaw or LexisNexis where you will find ample evidence.

    JDB 4,336 posts

    @AP11 you can’t go to AviationADR re issues of points, so your only practical recourse is with Virgin and you only have one shot, so I would go straight to the top.

    However, before you do that, you need to check every single transaction on your account for the last 12-18 months; the issue that has caused the suspension isn’t, in my experience of helping people with these issues, necessarily that recent. It is possible that the issue relates to the clash of addresses and names and if it is, that’s good because it’s easy enough to resolve. Unfortunately, in so many cases like this people miss key elements that they don’t disclose and cause them to be stuffed. Typically, these are transfers to/from other people, tickets booked or received from others, odd transactions from the VS credit card and suchlike.

    If you are absolutely satisfied that everything is totally above board, I would write to the CEO’s office at Virgin and the Executive Office at Amex setting out the reasons why the suspension of your account is apparently irrational and, at best, unreasonable and ask them to restore your account and the unilaterally cancelled booking. You and Amex have transferred the points in good faith, and while it is a little tenuous, Amex must carry some responsibility for the actions of their official partners but only if your account history is whiter than white.

    It seems overall that you may have muddied the waters with UK/US accounts/addresses which was unwise in this day and age but Virgin will probably forgive that, but you do need to think very carefully about the slightest thing that might have created a red flag for Virgin.

    NorthernLass 7,490 posts

    @JDB, the Boots case is just one example; it’s a very straightforward one which nicely illustrates the point. It was a CPS charging decision so your “leading counsel” would appear to be accusing one of their own colleagues of “arrant nonsense” here. Unless you can show me a stated case where someone has been prosecuted for theft of loyalty points, I’m afraid I’m going to carry on disagreeing with you! Of course all matters legal are subject to change over time and we may well see such a prosecution in time, that’s the dynamic nature of these things.

    I do think airlines and other entities should have to provide more information in cases where people have had accounts closed from the outset as clearly there have been mistakes made historically – one of the drawbacks of loyalty schemes is that they are very one-sided in respect of the Ts and Cs attached to them.

    Bervios 34 posts

    I remember this one from a few years back, no doubt rinsing his Birds Eye roast beef dinner vouchers !

    Tesco club card points fraud

    AP11 21 posts


    @JDB
    Thank you for the recommendation and insight.

    I logged into my Virgin Red account and below is the snap shot of all the transaction that have occurred in the account since I opened it up last year in September. I have proof that all the 3 transfers came from my Amex in the US.

    How do I find the email for both the parties you have mentioned and if you can help me with this issue.

    MY transaction from account open to-date

    Credited and debited points
    8 November 2023
    KL Flight Redemption -Booking Ref ####
    -71,000
    7 November 2023
    Amex US Tipping
    +55,000
    KL Flight Redemption -Booking Ref ####
    -142,000
    Amex US Tipping
    +68,000
    30 September 2022
    American Express, US Membership Rewards
    +94,900

    JDB 4,336 posts

    @AP11 – if I were in your position I would write to the Virgin CEO (email address below) saying you are contacting him because normal customer service channels have failed to resolve the matter and that your impending/pre-Christmas travel has been unilaterally and unreasonably cancelled. Say that your account has been suspended and travel cancelled without conveying any reason to you and irrationally (and the Virgin Flying Club terms require the airline to act reasonably in such instances) as you have at all times managed your FC account with the utmost propriety. While it is possible FC has determined there is some discrepancy with names/addresses that is something that could have easily been addressed directly with the customer before taking the extreme step of cancelling busy holiday season travel.

    Say you are copying Amex as it’s obviously problematic if they transfer MR to a partner that then peremptorily removes them from Amex’s client without any due process. Send a copy of the letter to Amex with a covering letter in the same PDF to explain why they are copied and that you are protecting your position in case of a future s75 if Virgin doesn’t honour the contract. Add any relevant documentation to confirm your UK/US addresses and names as shown on the accounts. Spell out the specific resolution you seek and give a short deadline for this resolution as you are expecting to travel in c. three weeks.

    Don’t be aggressive in your tone or language; you need their goodwill! I’m in two minds (probably on balance yes, if you are willing to follow through) as to whether to add that in the absence of reinstatement of your booking by x date you will be seeking compensation for the breach of contract – the full cost of replacement tickets together with the cash purchase equivalent of all the points removed.

    shai dot weiss at fly dot virgin dot com

    and

    amexuk at executiveassist dot americanexpress dot com

    AP11 21 posts

    @JDB is something along this line sufficient:

    Dear Shai Weiss,

    I trust this message finds you well. My name is , and I am writing to you directly as a last resort, having exhausted normal customer service channels in an attempt to resolve a pressing matter concerning my Virgin Flying Club account.

    Recently, my account was suspended without any clear explanation, and my upcoming pre-Christmas travel plans were unilaterally and unreasonably canceled. I am deeply concerned and frustrated by this situation, especially considering that I have diligently managed my Flying Club account since its establishment in September of last year.

    I have conducted a thorough investigation on my end and have already engaged with the American Express team, as the points transferred to my Virgin Flying Club account originated from my American Express card. They are actively working with the Virgin Atlantic Transfer team to verify the legitimacy of these transactions. I am more than willing to provide any additional evidence, such as statements and bank records, to establish the validity of these transactions promptly.

    The suspension of my account and the cancellation of my flight have put me in a distressing and financially burdensome situation, particularly due to the elevated costs associated with last-minute travel arrangements. I have made two redemptions using the transferred points, one for myself and my young son, and the other for my spouse. There is no apparent reason for my account to raise suspicions of fraudulent activity, and I believe this matter can be resolved with clear communication and cooperation.

    I am copying American Express on this correspondence to ensure transparency and to highlight the potential impact on their clients when points are transferred to partners like Virgin Flying Club. I believe that both Virgin and American Express, being official partners, share a responsibility to address and resolve this matter promptly.

    While it is possible that there may be a discrepancy in names or addresses, this could have easily been addressed directly with me before taking the extreme step of canceling my holiday season travel plans. I am seeking your intervention to reinstate my booking by November 30, 2023. If that’s not possible I would like all my points to be transferred back to my American Express rewards account so I can make an alternative arrangement with an Airline that is willing to have me as their customer. In the absence of reinstatement by this date, I will be left with no choice but to seek compensation for the breach of contract, including the full cost of replacement tickets and the cash purchase equivalent of all the points that were removed.

    I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter and your understanding of the urgency involved. I hope for a swift resolution that allows me to continue my travel plans to XYZ by December 23rd.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely,

    BJ 675 posts

    Good advice on nature and tone of contact. However, I would stop short of raising possibility of proceedings on breacn of contract because it may not be necessary and the option remains open as a further step even if not mentioned now.

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