Can You Credit Miles Earned From Paid Airfare to a Partner Airline?

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Neil, commented:

I am in the process of booking travel for my honeymoon trip to Thailand.  I’m looking to purchase Premium Economy airfare on Japan Airlines or Cathay Pacific.  Can I credit these flights to American Airlines, so that I earn frequent flyer miles?

Excellent question, Neil!  It sounds like you’re planning a fantastic honeymoon!

If you book a paid flight with an airline you don’t fly often, you can typically credit your miles to a partner airline.  This way, your miles won’t go to waste.  And you can redeem them with an airline you fly more frequently.

For example, Neil can earn American Airlines miles on paid airfare with Oneworld alliance airlines like Japan Airlines or Cathay Pacific.  This means the number of miles he can earn on each partner is an important factor in deciding between airlines.

Credit Paid Airfare To Partner Airlines
Thinking About How Many Airline Miles You Can Earn With Paid Airfare on a Partner Airline? I’ll Show You How to Find out!

I’ll explain how you can credit the miles you earn from paid airfare to a partner airline!

Credit Paid Airfare to Partner Airlines

Link:   Don’t Waste Miles Flown on Other Airlines – Credit Them to Your Favorite Frequent Flyer Program 

Link:   Which Are the Best Miles to Earn on Your Paid Flight?

While you can usually credit miles from paid airfare to a partner airline, the number of miles you earn can vary.  Generally, it depends on the fare class of the ticket purchased.

Neil is looking to purchase a Premium Economy ticket to Thailand with the goal of earning American Airlines miles.

So before booking airfare, he can visit the American Airlines website to see how many miles he can earn on partner airline flights to Thailand.  Remember, American Airlines recently made significant changes to their loyalty program.

Credit Paid Airfare To Partner Airlines
You Can Credit Miles From Cathay Pacific to American Airlines, but the Amount Varies Depending on the Fare Class

On American Airlines partner airline flights, you’ll earn award miles based on a percentage of the flight distance and the fare class of your ticket.  You’re also eligible for bonuses if you have elite status.

As an example, the Cathay Pacific table shows there are 2 different earning calculations for Premium Economy depending on the fare class.  One includes a 10% cabin bonus, while the other does not.

The fare class is shown during the booking process.  For example, Cathay Pacific shows it on the “Fare Details” screen.
Credit Paid Airfare To Partner Airlines
Check the Cathay Pacific Fare Class to Figure Out How Many American Airlines Miles You Can Earn!

Or if Neil chooses Japan Airlines, there’s one calculation for earning American Airlines miles.

Credit Paid Airfare To Partner Airlines
With Japan Airlines, You Can Earn American Airlines Miles Based on 100% of the Flight Distance

Assuming the Premium Economy flight prices on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines are similar, the number of American Airlines you can earn on either airline is basically the same.

But in cases where earning rates on partner airlines are different, I’d recommend picking the airline where you can earn the most miles.  Unless you have a strong preference for one airline partner.  Or if the flight prices are much different.

As a tip, it’s always best to select the frequent flyer program you’d like to credit miles to when you’re booking the flight.  You can request missing miles after the flight, but it usually takes much longer.

Credit Paid Airfare To Partner Airlines
Add Your Frequent Flyer Information During the Booking Process to Save Time Later on and Earn Your Miles Faster

Keep in mind you can now earn more American Airlines on partner airline flights than you would by flying American Airlines.  Because when you fly American Airlines, the amount of award miles you earn is determined by a revenue-based model.  So on a cheap, long-distance flight, you won’t earn many miles.

And remember, if you want to see how many miles you can earn across multiple partner airlines, check  It’s an easy-to-use tool.  But you’ll need to know what type of fare you’re booking. 

Bottom Line

If you book paid airfare on an airline you don’t fly often, credit the miles you earn to an alliance or partner airline that helps you with your future travel plans!

For example, with Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines paid airfare, you can earn American Airlines miles because all 3 airlines are part of the Oneworld alliance.  The number of miles you earn on partner airlines is determined by a percentage of the flight distance and the fare class of your ticket.

Remember, once you know your fare class, you can also visit to see all of the options and earning potential for your paid airfare.

Thanks for the question, Neil!  Have a terrific honeymoon!

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