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