Every couple of months I receive a letter from either American Airways or US Airlines about being “qualified for an award of 2 roundtrip airline tickets” in stamped, hand-written envelopes with no return address. American Airways? US Airlines? While us frequent travelers spot this fake name immediately, others not so well traveled might be picking up the phone to collect their award. (I phoned to collect my award — listen in below.)

Here’s the text of the letter:

NOTE: You must respond no later than .

Dear Carol,

I am pleased to inform you that you have qualified for an award of 2 roundtrip airline tickets. Congratulations. These tickets are valid for travel anywhere in the Continental U.S. from any major international airport. The retail value of this award is up to $1,398.00 (or $1,298.00 in some letters). Certain restrictions apply.

We have attempted contacting you several times without success. This is our last attempt. If we do not hear from you soon, we may need to issue the ticket vouchers to the alternate.

Please call me today at 1-866-931-8033 (or 1-866-675-8061 or a host of other numbers).

Regards,
Dana Kline (or Kerry Dyer)
Vice President

US Airlines isn’t an real airline, at least not as of today. Nor is American Airways. Though I have seen reports of these letters using American Airlines’ name. The letters are NOT, however, from the real American Airlines.

I called the phone number on one of my letters just to see what’s going on. Not using my real name and fibbing about my address and marital status, listen in to as much of the conversation I could take before I hung up:

If you get one of these letters, just toss it away. Unless you want to sit with a group of 20 people to hear about some travel agency deal … a travel agency that seems to be in every city and always with a promotion going on. Scam, scam, scam.

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Posted by Carol Margolis | 13 Comments

13 Responses to “I’ve Won! I’ve Won! Airline Tickets from American Airways and US Airlines”

  1. Grant says:

    He sounded really professional. I’m sure some people easily fall for this trick.

  2. Angelina says:

    Wow this is terrible. Sadly, I can see many people falling for it.

  3. Curtis says:

    Ha, gotta love it… Thanks for recording the conversation and posting :).

  4. BothofUs2 says:

    I seem to get these (quarterly!) as well. Looks official but isnt. Usually you can google the phone number and get some idea what the scam involves.

  5. Mikey says:

    these days all we have to do is google the phone number to see all the complaints about the bogus scams

  6. Jeff says:

    Oh wow. That is really sad.

  7. flyer708 says:

    Thanks Carol, I’ve always wondered as well. Never bothered to get to the bottom of it. Now we know. Quite entertaining, and thanks for sharing!

  8. […] I’ve Won! I’ve Won! Airline Tickets from American Airways and US Airlines […]

  9. Matt says:

    I don’t follow how it’s a scam. Other than wasting 4 minutes of your life, I didn’t hear them ask for money. And you never received anything that was worthless or unable to be redeemed. Sure, it’s deceiving, but a scam steals money or promises something and doesn’t deliver. I don’t agree with the marketing techniques, but I’d like too see you take it all the way thru.

  10. Logics says:

    Letter Head: US Airlines
    Post Marked: Phoenix AZ 852
    Post Dated: 09 April 2013 PM2 L
    Letter Dated: April 8th 2013
    Received: April 12th 2013
    “Must respond by”: April 17th 2013
    Retail value: $1,350.00 (I feel cheated out of $48)
    Phone: 1-866-994-0756
    VP: Kim Dae (who, coincidentally, was the president of South Korea and died in 2009)

    My City: Fort Lauderdale, FL

    These items above will vary from time to time.
    Letter Head: US Airlines | American Airways | American Airlines | United AirWays

    Postmark: Phoenix AZ | Chicago IL | New York NY | Tampa FL

    Retail value: $1,398.00 | $1,298.00 | $1,350.00

    Phone: Varies widely (over twenty). All toll free numbers to “Travel Awards Division”

    VP: Varies much

    I called. The company was identified as “Travel Awards Division” and when I questioned them on it they said they are an awards fulfillment center which works for various travel agencies.

    They also claimed that US Airlines is a *NEW* travel agency which wants to get the “word out” about them. I will have to show up at their “showroom” for a 90 min presentation to get the tickets (and only pay “taxes and fees” on them).

    The first call claimed that I have to call a second number for their confirmation center to get the address of the showroom but they did tell me that it was on SW 6th St in Plantation, FL (just down the street).

    Called a number I got from someone else’s letter (1-866-461-2380 with vp Britney Hunt) and they gave me the showroom location as Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Plantation (which, by Google, is a Courtyard by Marriott located at 7780 SW 6th St., Plantation, Fl 33324, which rents meeting rooms).

    Have appointment set for Thursday at 8pm. Contemplating going just for kicks. “Hey, this ‘showroom’ looks like a Hotel! What gives?!?”

    So far they have not asked for my credit card but they did tell me to bring it.

    Why is this a scam?

    Isn’t this just slightly unethical marketing tactics? Yes! …And the Statue of Liberty is just a figurine from France.

    1) They are lying bold face about who they are. This scam has been around for several years. The “Airline” is not new. Technically and legally they do not even exist as an airline nor as a travel agency.

    2) They are lying bold face about who they are. “Travel Awards” does not exists, technically nor legally. They are not the “travel awards division” of any corporation.

    3) They are lying bold face about who they are. In my case, their is no “showroom” at all but a rented ballroom. Others have claimed that the showroom they went to was gone by the next week or two. They are only temporary facilities to hook you in (hence the expiration date). Next week or so, a new set of victims at a new location (hence their is always a promotion).

    4) They are lying bold face about who they are. The 90 minute presentation tries to sell you vacation packets starting at $3,000.00 up to $15,000.00. After the upfront costs, you have to pay about $300-$500 per week for the rentals (if you can even get them). Other legit companies gives you the same deals only without the big upfront costs and with more choices.

    5) They are lying bold face about what they will give you. According to others, the “free travel” will cost you about $200.00 in “fees and taxes” to claim and you get a voucher for travel between your chosen cities and still have to pay other fees and taxes. Simply put, you can do better with Priceline, Orbits, Kayak etc or even a real travel agent at a real travel agency.

  11. Tim says:

    I got one today in the mail. I already knew about this scam. There is NO company named US Airlines. No matter what else they say in the letter or on the phone… a pitch that starts with a lie doesn’t turn out well in the end. The envelope looks hand written, but if you look closely it is just a hand-styled font. This one had the toll free number 888-965-1584 on it. (From Monika Boggs, VP)

  12. I just laugh each time I get one of these now. A lot of folks must respond or otherwise these letters wouldn’t keep being sent. Sad.

  13. Sherry says:

    I received on of these today and it had me confused because I actually had won three pairs of tickets over two years from myCokeRewards.com where you save bottle caps and box codes, enter them for prizes or sweepstakes. So, it has me wondering how did these people get my name in the first place? I hope airlines are not selling my info to these scammers. I wonder if anyone else has looked online recently before they were sent this phishing scam.

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