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MagsForMiles / Magazines for Miles Issues and Discussion (consolidated)

Old Aug 4, 17, 7:06 am - Wikipost
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Last edit by: JDiver
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Note: "Selections offered for miles plus cash come with automatic renewal features." Your subscription will be automatically renewed at non-discounted prices with the credit card of record without any further contact with the subscriber; the subscription service is difficult to contact for cancellation. (A one time pad virtual credit card number is possibly the easiest way to avoid automatic renewal.)

"About Us
Magazines for Miles, commonly referred to as MagsforMiles, is a program run by CAP Systems, a division of Synapse Group, Inc. Magazines for Miles invites frequent flyer members to redeem their unused, orphan, or expiring miles for popular magazines. CAP Systems partners with airlines and publishers to offer this valuable redemption option. Members may select magazines from categories including entertainment, business, sports, travel and more."

"Synapse Group, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Time Inc. "

magsformiles.com

Magsformiles is not an affiliate of AA.
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Old Apr 15, 13, 11:19 am
#1
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Programs: American Airlines, Airtran, Southwest, America West/USAir, Continental, DeltaLufthansa, Air Canada,
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Beware of the Magazines for Miles Scam [Automatic subscription renewal at high rate]

Can you imagine the shock when a year after you ordered a magazine via AAdvantage, costing 500 miles and a nominal $2 extra charge for the particular selection, you find a charge for $49 on the credit card used a year ago when ordering the initial subscription ... having no idea that the charge was in fact associated at all with that initial order since the vendor listed on the statement has no reference to AAdvantage or American Airlines. After lots of snooping, I discovered the ugly truth which should be a warning for anyone using the Magazine for Miles Program.

I recently had several exchanges with AAdvantage Customer Service regarding what I discovered to be recurring annual billings from their partner SYNAPSE who utilize non-transparent / difficult to discern language in the Magazine for Miles (MOM) ordering process on the AAdvantage MOM website -- actually more likely the SYNAPSE website which is not revealed so that you think you are still logged into the AAdvantage website -- to set you up unwittingly for annual subscription renewals at newsstand + prices. In my case, I had to pay $2 in addition to using 500 miles in order to get 10 issues (one year) of Atlantic Magazine. Somewhere in the fine print (AAdvantage Customer Service claimed that there is a reference to "annual renewal features" in the order entry form that is supposed to be understood by the unwitting member to mean that you are authorizing not only a $2 charge for the initial subscription but a much larger 'recurring' charge, in this case $49, as well. I was unable to reach anyone live when I called the 800 number on the credit card statement in 2012 to find out what the source of the $49 charge was. This year, after having my credit card company reverse the charge, I did manage by some miracle to break out of the 3 allowable subjects to select from and reach a real person, located in Costa Rica, who was unhelpful and not very forthcoming. She did however identify after some prodding the name of her employer, which she said was SYNAPSE, which she admitted was a partner of American Airlines. I have been unable through them or via AAdvantage to get any assurance that this annual cycle has been broken, so I will either need to cancel my credit card or watch it closely every month going forward. This approach at the very least can be characterized as misleading, but it is essentially unethical and an unfortunate insight into the kinds of partners and practices that the AAdvantage Program has elected to associate and align with which, as a stockholder, makes me a bit nervous.

Last edited by JDiver; Jul 27, 17 at 3:13 pm Reason: Restore original post title
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Old Apr 15, 13, 12:17 pm
#2
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For those who [redacted] seek to avoid the OP's drama, I point to an eleven word sentence on the AA Magazines for Miles selection form.


Last edited by Microwave; Apr 15, 13 at 12:41 pm
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Old Apr 15, 13, 12:37 pm
#3

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Originally Posted by pajamman View Post
... but it is essentially unethical and an unfortunate insight into the kinds of partners and practices that the AAdvantage Program has elected to associate and align with which, as a stockholder, makes me a bit nervous.
As a stockholder right now I'd guess you have slightly bigger issues to worry about ...

The site does make it clear that the miles plus cash option include an auto-renew feature, more detail would have been good, but there is enough there to suggest you might want to hold back if auto-renew is not something you want.
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Old Apr 15, 13, 12:42 pm
#4
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Is there an easy method to decline auto renew? If not, I'd put it into the scam category.
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Old Apr 15, 13, 12:47 pm
#5

Join Date: Jul 2011
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mags for miles and other similar things (Itunes for my kids, for example) are great sites to use citibank Virtual credit card numbers. I set time and money limits on how much/how long a number will be good, and when the vendor tries to keep charging against it, it shuts them down. Have used it for years without flaw.
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Old Apr 15, 13, 1:55 pm
#6
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Independent of AA, the Synapse Co. is a "crooked" outfit. But sometimes you can come out ahead: I've subscribed to magazines through Synapse, most have lowball 1st year rates < $10/year. Eventually they DO mail you a high priced renewal notice (and if you read the very fine print), you DO have the option of cancelling by calling their 800 number--sometimes they will let you renew at rates as low as $2/yr., otherwise just cancel.
If you go to http://synapsegroupinc.com/, you can cancel magazines from Synapse.
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Old Apr 15, 13, 2:07 pm
#7
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Independent of subscriptions placed directly with Synapse, vs. via AAdvantage, there is no mailing to a member who exercised Mag for Miles confirming that you are about to be renewed and the cost of renewal. So if you are a member who used AAdvantage's Mag for Miles program, your only way of knowing that you have been renewed, automatically, is if you recognize the cryptic reference to the vendor on your credit card statement when you have already been charged for the renewal. If you visit the Synapse website hoping to review an issue, such as auto renewals and whether you are still in their system for auto renewal even though you succeeded in having your credit card company reverse the charge, you have no option to do so. Their contact us options all call for identification of a current subscription. Just because you reversed the charge in their latest auto renewal action does not mean that a new charge will appear in another year. As with calling them, there is no option to discuss anything, unless you get through by some heavenly accident. Otherwise, thanks for all of the good suggestions.
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Old Apr 15, 13, 4:27 pm
#8

Join Date: Dec 2010
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Just call your credit card company, say you lost the card, and ask for a replacement with a new number. Problem solved It just takes a 7-10 days to get the new card.

I had a similar thing happen once with a different company where they would not stop auto charging me.
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Old Apr 15, 13, 7:45 pm
#9
Moderator: American AAdvantage, Mexico, Technical Support and Feedback, The Suggestion Box and Talkboard Topics

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As this is about an American Airlines related vendor and use of AAdvantage miles, it will be allowed to continue, But members are reminded we do not tolerate disrespectful, uncivil and attacking posts directed at other members, and we do not tolerate accusatory statements about members being representatives of AA interests, etc.

Keep it calm, keep it civil, keep it factual. We have had some good suggestions here - use virtual credit card numbers (there is a growing number of sites and services that are biased toward automatic renewals), cancel the card if necessary, and beware that acceptance of automatic renewal (as shown in the screenshot shown above) will undoubtedly result in automatic renewal.

JDiver, senior moderator / moderator American AAdvantage Forum
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:33 pm
#10

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Here is the current language, which is presented, unlike what I previously remembered, on the Offer Page (before you select a magazine) - this is good, but you do need to scroll down and read the fine print:

Automatic Renewal Authorization: Enjoy the number of issues shown and the credit/debit card you provide will be charged just $2 for each selection. Your selections will then continue annually. Each year, you'll receive a reminder notice specifying price plus processing (and any applicable sales tax) and billing terms for the next term of issues and your account will be charged accordingly. Allow 6-12 weeks for delivery. Your name, address, and account information will be used by MagsforMiles to process and fulfill your selections. Cancel anytime at 1-800-641-3458 for a refund of unserved issues. If a magazine becomes unavailable it may be replaced by another with the same renewal features. For individual use only, not for resale. Please print this page for your records. Enjoy.
This sounds good (except they still do not disclose the renewal price, which is very, very bad form), but I am still reluctant to take a chance of extreme hassle given that apparently the renewal price will be highly inflated and they may make it difficult to get through to them to cancel. If they disclosed the renewal price and made online cancellation possible, then I would go for this.
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Old Feb 25, 14, 2:24 am
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Originally Posted by GrizShel View Post
This sounds good (except they still do not disclose the renewal price, which is very, very bad form), but I am still reluctant to take a chance of extreme hassle given that apparently the renewal price will be highly inflated and they may make it difficult to get through to them to cancel. If they disclosed the renewal price and made online cancellation possible, then I would go for this.
Online cancellation is allegedly possible; https://magcustomerservice.com/

I've fallen prey to this scam, and we'll see whether Citi honors the charge (it was made with a "Virtual Account Number" expiring last March, and with a limit equal to the original $2 charge.) I had subscribed for 2 years -- which required getting a duplicate (which the Mags4Miles people screwed up, and I fixed via the magazine's own customer service) so I assumed I was safe until the fixed single subscription was up.

Well, nope! I just got a new duplicate copy, with the name reversed (same symptom of my trying to order a 2nd year, which was fixed) and they're showing a $51 charge as pending.

The recently-renewed one was cancelled online, but we'll see what happens with the charge or if they try to bill me separately.
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Old Nov 13, 14, 3:23 pm
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Originally Posted by chitownjeff View Post
Just call your credit card company, say you lost the card, and ask for a replacement with a new number. Problem solved It just takes a 7-10 days to get the new card.
Note that this does not necessarily protect you from being charged again because the card networks have programs in place to allow recurring payments like these from some merchants to follow you to your new account number. For example: Visa Account Updater and MasterCard Automatic Billing Updater.
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Old Jul 22, 15, 3:07 pm
#13

Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 113
Please help! Magazines for Miles problems

Hi,

I have 152k USAir earned miles about to expire in 2 days. They have moved my miles to new AAdvantage account.

I figure the quickest way to have activity (cheaply) is via Magazines for Miles transaction. So, after logging in to new account & selecting "Redeem Miles" I'm transferred to ordering page.

However, ever time I try to make an order Magazines for Miles either returns saying they "Can't Verify Account" or "This Account Not Eligible"!

Does anyone have any suggestions of how I should go about solving this? I'm also open to any other ideas for quick (preferably low cost) account activity?

Thanks
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Old Jul 22, 15, 3:11 pm
#14

Join Date: Oct 2005
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I don't know about the magazine issue, but you can go to aadvantageeshopping.com and purchase anything from there to earn miles. Be sure you are logged on!
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Old Jul 22, 15, 4:09 pm
#15

Join Date: Apr 2004
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Originally Posted by AAMillionaire View Post
I don't know about the magazine issue, but you can go to aadvantageeshopping.com and purchase anything from there to earn miles. Be sure you are logged on!
I haven't used Aadvantagrshopping in a while, but don't those points take 6-8 weeks to post to your AA acct? Won't help OP whose points expire in 2 days.
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