Hey, guess what happens to your Alaska Air miles if you don’t use them within two years? If you said they boot you out of their mileage program and charge a $75 reinstatement fee, you’re right. (Supposedly they sent warnings, but I never received them—though their promotional emails continue to hit my InBox just fine.)

With the phone representative, the larger point I tried to raise, with only middling success, was about customer service. I talked the rep into reinstating my miles, but because of this experience, I’ll probably be using the miles as soon as I can then canceling the program. And I like Alaska Air.

The Alaska Air rep said all airline programs work this way. I told her that was more of an indictment of the industry than anything else. Does nobody think long-term any more?

Why any company would sever customer relationships like this is beyond me. It’s hard enough to get someone to buy your good or service in the first place. What does it cost Alaska Air to keep my mileage account active if I’ve not flown in the last two years? Nothing. It’s numbers in a database. In fact, if they want to cajole me into flying more, how does deleting my mileage account accomplish that? Further, how does Alaska Air think its customers feel when they discover their miles have been taken away?

Treating your better customers like this just seems insane.