How to Find Out How Many Miles You’ll Earn When Crediting a Flight to a Partner Airline

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I showed you how to credit miles flown on an airline (that you might not fly often) to 1 of their partner airline frequent flyer programs.

By doing so, you won’t waste the miles you’ve earned in a program you’ll likely never use.

But how do you tell how many miles you’ll earn if you credit a paid ticket to a partner frequent flyer program?

How To Find Out How Many Miles Youll Earn When Crediting A Flight To A Partner Airline

You Can Credit Miles From a Paid Ticket to a Partner Airline Program You Use More Often – but How Many Will You Earn?

I’ll show you how to find out!

Example:  Lisbon to Frankfurt on TAP Portugal

Suppose you’ll fly TAP Portugal between Lisbon and Frankfurt this summer.  It’s not an airline you normally fly, so you’d rather credit the miles to 1 of their Star Alliance partners, like United Airlines.

I’ve already shown you how to credit the miles to another frequent flyer program when you make the booking.  In TAP Portugal’s case, the option to credit the flight to United Airlines comes up on the final booking screen.

How To Find Out How Many Miles Youll Earn When Crediting A Flight To A Partner Airline

Choose United Airlines and Enter Your Frequent Flyer Number When You Book Your Ticket

The number of miles you’ll earn depends on the distance flown and the fare class.  For example, deeply discounted coach fares often earn a fraction (or none!) of the miles a full fare coach ticket would earn.

The fare class normally appears next to your flight details.  It’s indicated by a single letter, usually under the “class” or “cabin” column.

How To Find Out How Many Miles Youll Earn When Crediting A Flight To A Partner Airline

Both the Outbound and Return Flights Are in Coach, but the Fare Classes Are Different

In this example, the flight from Lisbon to Frankfurt is fare class W.  The return trip is also in coach, but it’s fare class K.

To see what you’ll earn when you credit these flights to United Airlines, you’ll have to visit the United Airlines website.

With most airlines, you’ll find information on mileage earning with partner airlines in the “earn miles” section of their frequent flyer page.  You might have to Google or dig a bit.

How To Find Out How Many Miles Youll Earn When Crediting A Flight To A Partner Airline

Go to the Website of the Airline Where You Want to Credit Your Miles and Find the Airline You’re Actually Flying On

I clicked through to TAP Portugal and found the following information.  The miles you’ll earn depend on if you bought your ticket from TAP Portugal or through United Airlines, a travel agency, or other website.

It’s a little confusing!

How To Find Out How Many Miles Youll Earn When Crediting A Flight To A Partner Airline

United Airlines Lists How Many Miles You’ll Earn (as a Percentage of the Distance Flown) Depending on Fare Class – but in Some Cases It’s Based on What You Paid for the Ticket!

In our example, because the ticket was purchased from TAP Portugal, you’d earn miles equal to 100% of the distance flown for the Lisbon to Frankfurt flight (fare class W).  But only 50% of the miles for the Frankfurt to Lisbon flight (fare class K).

That’s because the K class ticket is a deeply discounted coach ticket.  And cheap tickets usually earn fewer miles.

By the same logic, you can see from the chart that if you booked a Business Class ticket, you’d earn 125% of the miles compared to a full fare coach ticket.

Example:  Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia Airlines

Say you’re flying between Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia Airlines, but you’d rather credit the miles to their oneworld alliance partner, American Airlines.

Like the previous example, you can select American Airlines when you enter your information on the booking page.

How To Find Out How Many Miles Youll Earn When Crediting A Flight To A Partner Airline

Add Your American Airlines AAdvantage Number to Earn Miles for This Malaysia Airlines Flight

Finding the fare class on Malaysia Airlines is a little trickier!  It does NOT appear in the flight information.  All it says is “Economy Promo” (a very cheap coach fare).

To find out the fare code, click “View Fare Rules” in the upper right corner of the flight information screen.

How To Find Out How Many Miles Youll Earn When Crediting A Flight To A Partner Airline

The Fare Class Isn’t Obvious From the Itinerary, So You’ll Have to Click “View Fare Rules”

Here’s the screen that popped up.  It’s usually NOT this complicated, but in this example you’ll have to dig to see the fare class code.

How To Find Out How Many Miles Youll Earn When Crediting A Flight To A Partner Airline

Put Your Travel Agent Hat on and Find the Fare Class on the Fare Rules Details Page

In this case, the tickets are booking class O.  That’s a very deeply discounted coach fare.

Once you have the information, head over to the American Airlines AAdvantage partner airline page, and find Malaysia Airlines.

How To Find Out How Many Miles Youll Earn When Crediting A Flight To A Partner Airline

Find Malaysia Airlines on the American Airlines “Earn Miles” Page

This is a good example of why it’s important to check before you decide to credit miles to another airline.  Because fare class O is so deeply discounted, you’d earn NO American Airlines miles for this ticket!

How To Find Out How Many Miles Youll Earn When Crediting A Flight To A Partner Airline

Well That Would Have Been an Unpleasant Surprise! You’ll Earn ZERO Miles If You Credit This Ticket to American Airlines

Armed with this information, you can make a more informed decision about whether to credit this flight to another airline.

In this case, if you chose to earn Malaysia Airlines miles instead, you’d at least earn 25% of the miles flown.

How To Find Out How Many Miles Youll Earn When Crediting A Flight To A Partner Airline

You’ll at Least Earn Something If You Credit the Miles to Malaysia Airlines’ Frequent Flyer Program

I wouldn’t be terribly unhappy with this scenario.  If I have to pay for a ticket, I’d rather pay the cheapest fare than spend more money to earn miles!

That’s because there are so many other ways to earn miles and points!  If you’re new to collecting miles and points, check out my beginner’s guide.

Bottom Line

When you buy a paid ticket, you can credit the frequent flyer miles you’ll earn to a partner airline you might fly more often.

The number of miles you’ll earn depends on the distance flown and the fare class of your ticket.  Some fares earn a fraction or NO miles because they’re so deeply discounted.

The logic is it’s better to earn fewer miles on an airline you’ll actually fly, than more miles on an airline you may never use again!

You can see what to expect by checking the “earn miles” section of the airline you want to credit the miles to.  It’s different for every airline.

Sometimes it’s NOT worth it, because you might not earn anything by crediting the miles to a partner airline.  So it’s good to check in advance!

Let me know about your experiences crediting miles to other airlines!

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2 responses to “How to Find Out How Many Miles You’ll Earn When Crediting a Flight to a Partner Airline

  1. Do crediting partner miles to united also help with PQDs for earnin status?

    I went to Japan earlier this year from DC with United, and will be going to Turkey later this year on Lufthansa. I think I’ll have enough miles, but the PQDs might be a little difficult to meet. There’s no way I can spend $30,000 in a year to waive it.

    Thanks!

  2. Matt the Coffeeman

    For a while, I was crediting United flights to Aegean in order to get/maintain Star Alliance Gold status (and because some of mileage redemptions on partner airlines were pretty good). However, I don’t do this anymore because Aegean refused to credit me for a long haul United flight (despite the fact that it was an A class fare, which is subject to 200% accrual) claiming that United prohibited it. I contacted United and they have no idea what Aegean is talking about. Aegean customer support has been completely useless.