US traveller scams airline out of $240k with gift card glitch

A wily traveller has pleaded guilty to abusing a glitch in American Airlines’ computer booking system that allowed him to scam the airline out of $220,000 — while also scamming friends and relatives.

William Joseph Schwarze, from St Louis, Missouri, took advantage of an online booking loophole that let him buy gift cards from American Airlines, sell them on to others, and then get a refund back from the airline.

A US court heard the 27-year-old told people online that he was associated with a travel agency and planned to open his own travel business, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

He claimed his expertise in the field meant he was able to “optimise airline and hotel customer experience programs” to secure travel deals for people.

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