Some travel insurance policies don’t cover flights booked with frequent flier miles, and that makes sense, at least on one level. After all, what’s a mile worth? You might have one number, the airline might come up with a different one, and, well, you probably already know what I’m going to say next; loyalty programs are practically worthless – but that’s another story, and I’m not going down that rabbit hole today.
The disclosure should have happened when you purchased your policy, which means that the Allianz representative or agent you talked with should have mentioned that your mileage flights wouldn’t be covered. And certainly, the representative you called after your wife’s medical emergency should have clued you in to the fact that once you cashed in those 320,000 miles to fly back home, they were gone.
It’s highly unusual for any insurance company, let alone Allianz, to drag its feet on a claim request like this one. But again, the reasons are understandable. In your claim, you valued your 320,000 miles at $35 per 1,000 miles, plus 7.5 percent tax, which comes to $12,040. That’s no small sum.
If you find that an insurance company is stalling, you can always send a polite appeal to someone higher up the food chain. I list all the names and numbers on my consumer-advocacy website: http://elliott.org/contacts/allianz/.
I contacted Allianz on your behalf to see whether there had been a misunderstanding about your policy. Turns out, there hadn’t been. The policy you purchased didn’t explicitly cover tickets booked with frequent flier miles.
You didn’t like that answer (and neither did I), so you decided to appeal to your state’s insurance commissioner. After several months, Allianz cut you a check for $11,257 – the amount it calculated you would pay to replace the miles.
“We believe there was a miscommunication over whether he should use points or pay for his ticket home,” an Allianz representative told me. “We apologize for that miscommunication.”