A lot of people thought they had become frequent flier “millionaires” – until the airline took back what it had given.

According to the Sept. 15 issue of USA Today, “Instead of participants winning 250 frequent-flier miles for playing an Internet game sponsored by MasterCard, the airline (Continental) accidentally posted 250,000 miles to their accounts. . . . The 250 miles is what players were supposed to receive just for playing the game. Since participants were allowed to play multiple times, the mistake resulted in some frequent fliers finding a million or more miles in their Continental OnePass accounts when they checked online last week. Many thought they’d hit the contest’s jackpot.

“I said to my mom, `I can’t believe I’ve won,’ ” says Allie Williamson of Columbia Station, Ohio, who found 750,000 new miles posted to her account Tuesday. Since she already had earned more than 300,000 before the contest, her balance was more than 1 million. She celebrated by booking four first-class round trips to Europe.

“I knew I’d played the game, and I thought I had won,” she says.

USA Today says that when Continental detected the error through its own “internal audit” system, it began deleting miles from frequent fliers’ accounts and canceling reservations they had booked.

What a terrible thing: to think you’ve been a big winner, only to find it was a terrible mistake. Lots of people have that experience in life – thinking they’ve found a way to be successful, when all the time they are fooling themselves.

Only by the grace of God do we truly become “winners” – and we have the assurance God will never take it away!

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