Air India Flying Returns is in the midst of a massive restructuring exercise, one where they are not just readjusting their award charts, but also undergoing a cleanup exercise on fake accounts. There is an elaborate verification exercise going on for all accounts, which will require your paperwork to be sent to AI or its agents to figure out if you are a real person or someone else created a fake FFP account in your name to be able to use your miles.
During this exercise, however, a lot of real people get affected as well. The KYC exercise is not going as smooth as possible, and it took me about 2.5 months to get my own account verified in spite of putting the correct papers as per their initial explanation to me. From December 1, 2015 onwards, if you did not have a verified account, you could not use your miles to make a redemption booking till you moved to a verified status. This has meant a lot of people would lose their miles which would expire without getting to use them.
To accommodate all the people, Air India is now giving them a long rope. They initially extended all the miles expiring between December 2015 and January 2016 to February 2016, and now, they have unilaterally moved their expiry for all miles initially expiring in December 2015 and May 2016, to June 2016. Miles on AI expire 3 years after they are earned.
The verification process is described in this post. Here are some common errors that AI has spotted in the process and advise you against:
- Date of Birth in your uploaded document does not match the date on your profile
- If you have taken an international trip on Air India, ever, and credited it to AI Flying Returns, you can only upload your passport for verification.
- If you have uploaded your passport, you may have not uploaded all the required pages.
- Address does not match that on the document [The problem I ran into, since my passport has my permanent address and I use my mailing address on the profile]
- Name in the profile does not match name on the document. In this case, the AI member service centre will trigger a request to AI’s central team who will be the only ones who will be able to authorize a name change in the profile.
- You need to upload the documents, not bring it to an AI office.
So, if you haven’t had a chance to update your AI profile, now is a good time to go through the verification process!
Have you completed your AI Flying Returns account verification? What has been your experience going through the exercise?