Why Is It So Hard To Get Miles Credited In 2015?!?

I guess it’s true of companies in general, but with technology as good as it is, I’m always amazed how long it takes airlines to do certain things. I guess it’s a function of them not having an incentive to improve. When you book a ticket they’ll charge your credit card immediately, but if you want a refund it can take a billing cycle or two.

Nowadays you’d think requesting mileage credit would be a pretty straightforward process. All tickets are electronic, and when travel on multiple airlines is involved, presumably all those airlines have access to the ticket in one form or another.

In October I flew from Dubai to Doha to London to Los Angeles to New York to Austin thanks to a nicely priced paid first class ticket. 😉

DXBAUS

The miles posted just fine for all the segments on American and British Airways, though no miles posted for the Qatar Airways flights from Dubai to Doha to London.

AAdvantage-Credit

After a couple of weeks I went to American’s website to request missing mileage credit, but then realized they make you wait 30 days before requesting missing mileage credit.

Missing-Mileage-Credit

30 days, really?!? In an age of electronic ticketing, how is it reasonable to take “up to” 30 days for miles to post? I get if it takes a few days for them to post and then they allow an extra week or so “just in case,” but having to wait 30 days before requesting missing mileage credit seems a bit ridiculous. Is Al Baker delivering this data to AAdvantage using a thumb drive carried by a falcon routing via Pluto?

But it seems to be more on American’s end than Qatar’s end, as they have a policy of making you wait 30 days for requesting missing mileage credit on all airlines, including American.

So after waiting a month I finally requested the missing mileage credit for my flights, only to receive the following email a week later:

AAdvantage-Credit-1

Now I have to submit boarding passes and an e-ticket, which will be forwarded to the airline for processing, and that will take approximately 30 days?

If the request is going to the airline operating the flight, then why would they need the boarding pass or e-ticket when they’re the ones who made the mistake? It’s pretty clear I took the flights, or else I wouldn’t have received mileage credit for the connecting flights, as my ticket would have been voided.

Qatar-A380-First

Bottom line

How is it that in 2015 the process of requesting missing miles for a flight takes over two months by design? Don’t electronic tickets eliminate the need for such an arduous process? The combination of the process taking over two months and then needing “physical” proof of the flights sort of blows my mind, especially if the request is being forwarded to the operating airline.

Does anyone find the process for requesting missing miles as ridiculous as I do?

Comments

  1. I think the boarding pass part is especially ridiculous as that doesn’t prove you took the flight – just that you checked in so presumably everything else should be provided by the eTicket. Also – with mobile boarding passes so widely used most of the time I wouldn’t have a physical boarding pass to show even assuming I would have saved it had I printed one…

    The long wait before processing requests mostly bothers me because it’s then on me to remember to process it once I’m able to make the request even though it’s an airline issue. It seems set up in the hope people will forget.

  2. I flew SIN-KUL-DOH-MAN earlier this year. First leg on Malaysia airlines the following two on Qatar.

    The Qatar legs posted just fine but the SIN-KUL leg never did. I queried it via the claim from to be eventually told that the miles were credited to my Malaysia Airlnes FF account. Which i don’t even have… The boarding pass clearly shows my AA account. Since it was only a few miles I’ve given up.

  3. The worse is when you try to credit your miles to an airline, there are problems and you can’t really get help because there’s a language barrier. I’m still waiting for my Singapore miles to go to Asiana..

  4. I hate to say it, but after the devalue, I think United and Star Alliance (eeek) is going to be the front runner in the domestic three as far as awards program goes. There’s typically very good availability all around, unlike American, and their miles aren’t as worthless as Delta’s…

  5. Hi Ben.

    At the moment this very topic is a sore point with members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flier scheme in having points credited for flights operated by Etihad airlines. I draw your attention to the following link on the Australian Frequent Flyer website:

    http://www.australianfrequentflyer.com.au/community/virgin-australia-velocity/virgin-slow-with-points-72447.html

    In my case I purchase a return business class ticket with Virgin Australia from Sydney to London via Abu Dhabi with Virgin flight numbers operated by Etihad. I’m still waiting for my points & status credits for the return London to Sydney flights to post taken on October 31/November 1.

    As in your example Virgin Australia are telling me that they’re awaiting a response from Etihad. Why??, when I’ve provided copies of my Virgin ticket and boarding passes.

  6. I just experienced this with Aadvantage, flying CX to Penang via HKG. The HKG-PEN leg was operated by Dragon via code share and on Dragon metal. The PEN-HKG leg was also operated by Dragon but on Cathay metal. I didn’t get credit for the flight on Dragon metal and still sorting it out.

  7. Had the same issue on a Cathay flight that should have credited to AA. Just call up exp and give them flight numbers, dates and record locator and they should be able to do it over the phone. That’s what I did. Posted same day.

  8. The entire process of chasing down missing miles really frustrates me. I find that I have my boarding pass e-mailed to myself simply to retain the e-ticket number. This year I’ve had to chase down AA for Cathay, Iberia, Alaska and surprisingly enough AA flights.

  9. It seems like most of the time you fly One World carriers (AA, BA, CX and QR) plus Etihad with AA miles and Emirates and Cathay Pacific with paid Alaska miles.

    Why don’t you fly other airlines more often? Delta, United, JAL, ANA, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Qantas, Air Canada, South African, Air New Zealand, Air France, Air China, China Southern, Finn Air, SAS. Just to name a few.

  10. I have found American to have the absolute worst customer service and web support imaginable out of any airline I have ever dealt with. I flew to the DR last spring and had multiple issues with web booking, over charges, ticket screw ups on their end, charges for baggage even though I had the AAdvantage card. It was such a nightmare I almost gave up on the trip. I cringe at the thought of ever having to deal with their CS ever again.

    Delta and they were all over it. I was greatly impressed ho they took care of the situation.

    Never had an issue with Alaska, they rock

  11. I’m in the same boat with Qatar. Flew from Tokyo to Brisbane almost two months ago and after two emails they said they have sent it to Qantas for verification, like really? Didn’t think it took 2 + months to verify a fact. You are right, in 2015 surely they would have a faster system.

  12. Are you sure it’s 30 days on American? I’ve been chomping at the bit to get my mileage credit for my BA flight segment for work 2 weeks ago and it is telling me I have to wait 15 days. This is consistent with the last time I had to request miles as well.

    Maybe the policy has changed? I’ve only had to request miles on these 2 occasions and they were both fairly recent.

  13. the grass may seem greener on the other side, but good luck getting credit for an Azul flight for United, or GOL flight for Delta (I couldn’t get either done earlier this year — was asked for so many documents I could not provide since someone else had booked the flight)
    Also, I once wasn’t given credit for a flight I took — on UA itself! And, when I asked about it, they claimed I wasn’t on the plane and asked for the boarding pass and bag check tag. Sadly, I had not kept either one.
    That taught me to always keep the boarding pass. It’s also shocking how often Lufthansa group (LH, Austrian, Swiss, Brussels) flights don’t post correctly for mileage credit on UA (about 50% of the time)

  14. Similar experience with Etihad and AA. Bought a biz class ticket JFK-AUH-DEL for travel on Aug 23. AUH-DEL was posted after a few days. Waited 30 days to request the JFK-AUH miles then was told to wait another 30 days after sending in my boarding pass. First segment was then denied (though it was part of a single ticket). I complained and was told I would have to wait another two weeks. Still no credit. Mileage finally posted around Thanksgiving, 3 months (and 5 phone calls) after my trip. It made no difference whatsoever that I’m an EP (though I was given an extra 1,000 miles for my “trouble”). It simply cannot be that in 2015 it takes 3 months to post miles.

  15. I have been having the same (lack of) luck with AA this year. When my upgrades clear on the LAX-JFK flights I am batting about .500 with actually getting credit

  16. I don’t fly AA for over 10 years since I moved to a Delta hub however my parents are very loyal AA customers and I help them to manage their mileage account. In the last two years it has been a nightmare. Regular miles that are never posted and flights on paid business class that do not post the bonus miles and points. Also, they fly many segments on TAM and use their AAdvantage number on all reservations. I would say that 80% of their flights on TAM never post and I have to send tons of copies including boarding passes that take months to be posted. Last, on one of their domestic AA the flight was cancelled due to a mechanical problem which made them to miss an international connection and stay at DFW for 24 hours. AA never offered a hotel or meals and they had to pay out of the pocket. We are still battling with AA to get reimbursed. What a nightmare!!!!

    On the other hand I am shocked that Delta miles post on my account sometimes just a few hours after landing. It is amazingly fast and once I was missing miles from an Air France flight and after sending an email the miles were posted in less than 24 hours.

  17. I too had to submit a request to American for my partner and my flights on QR from MEL-DOH, then DOH-BCN when they also failed to credit automatically. My experience mirrors yours EXACTLY. Bit of a joke really; even though I’m only a Plat, so much for any form of expedited customer experience!

  18. I’ll be envious if that they actually post in approximately 30 days! I had the same issue with AA not crediting EY flights. Those “30 days” lasted over 3 months and that was with plenty of badgering too!

  19. I have been asking myself the exact same question several times this year. I had to send in boarding passes and etix several times. Sometimes they even got back to me claiming that they couldn’t locate my records based on my etix and boarding pass. How is that possible? Why can’t they just pull the passenger manifest and check it with my etix and that’s it? Should take about 30 seconds. In the end I always get all my miles credited, but it’s just a major pain.

  20. I just posted something similar on Flyertalk. Flew CMB to DLH on Sri Lanka. Miles denied as they were credited to another account. The issue is thet a) I don’t have another account and b) the AA is clearly on my boarding pass, I called the executive platinum desk who said they can’t do anything. Complete joke. I feel I was scammed

  21. Hmm on this page it requests to submit the claim 15 days after the flight. Odd. Perhaps AAdvantage requires 30 days if you put your FF number but 15 days if you don’t?
    https://www.aa.com/AAdvantage/requestMileageCreditAccess.do

    Either way, I agree airlines have made it harder to claim missing miles. If they were non-alliance members, I can see the need for 15-30 days, but for airlines in the same alliance, I’d imagine they’d have the electronic systems in this day and age to credit the miles to your FF account.

  22. I went through the same “drill” with American recently regarding credit for myself and my husband on an outbound flight on a round trip ticket from JFK-CDG. The best part of my credit request was when I spoke with American regarding this credit, it wasn’t about their ridiculous request to send them the documentation (which I did) it was that they had absolutely NO record that we had ever been on the flight at all despite the return flight CDG-JFK having been credited from the same reservation.I had to convince them (a couple of times and a bunch of emails) that we had flown on American to Paris. Crazy!

  23. Going thru this now! Flew NY-Abu Dhabi-Mumbai roundtrip. Got credit for Abu Dhabi-Mumbai and the return, but have an open inquiry for the longer portions in both directions. It equates to 13000 miles. So they gave me credit for part of the flight, but now I have to prove I took the other legs? SMH

  24. One can’t help wondering…if TSA was trying to find out if you were on a given flight, would it really take 30 days?

  25. Same probelm…first I could not deposit my KE-Skypass number in a KLM booking online and they had to do it manually over the phone. Then, they just credited 2 of 4 flights and I had to send them the boarding passes by mail (email was not allowed, lol).
    Ridiculous, I mean not everyone is collecting their boarding passes and keeps them forever…only us here 🙂

  26. On the bright side, it also seems that airlines don’t have a very good system to prevent double-crediting on snail-mailed milage credit requests. I flew FOC-PEK on Xiamen Air (SkyTeam) last summer, and didn’t give any FF# before boarding. For SkyTeam, I collect miles with both Delta and China Southern. So a few days after the flight I was in the States, and mailed a photocopy of my boarding pass to Delta.
    After a month or so, Delta still hadn’t credited the miles, but by that time I was already back in China, so I mailed the original boarding pass to China Southern to see if I’d have any luck with them. In the end, full milage credit for the exact same flight segment eventually showed up in BOTH my Delta and China Southern accounts!
    I’m curious to see if I’d be able to repeat this loophole again in the future!

  27. Flew JL PE “E” fare a month ago.
    Never posted. The return portion did and what should be 1.5 turns out to be 1.0 and shows Y instead of E.
    I called AA and agent said yes the 1.5 is there but you won’t be able to see it…
    Why so long to post?

  28. Alaska is exactly the same. I had to wait 30 days after a Delta flight to submit the request. No response; they apparently dropped the ball and the miles never got credited to Alaska, which allowed the miles to get automatically credited to Delta. When I complained, they said I’d have to contact Delta to have the miles reversed out for them to then be able to credit them to my account. Wasn’t worth the hassle.

  29. The more important question Ben is why you didn’t credit those F flights to your Alaska 75k. Etihad F is that much better than Emirates I guess. But just wait for 2018. Hopefully Emirates will intro it’s new F and it’s probably something to behold. 27k Alaska miles for one way F dxb-aus. Not bad in my book. Even as a huge aadvantage fan.

  30. I am having the same problem right now and am nervous based on other comments in this post. I have flown 8 QR segments in the last 3 months and had my AA number on the account. I know it was there because my Oneworld elite status was on the boarding passes. The first 4 segments credited within a few days of the flight. The next 2 took about 10 days. The last 2 segments have not shown up and it has been 1 month. I requested the missing miles online 15 days after the flights and received an email copy of my request saying it would take 30 days to research. I don’t mind waiting but these 2 missing flights will move me from AA platinum to exec platinum. I did not keep copies of my boarding passes as I didn’t think I would need them. Based on other comments in this post, should I be worried about not being credited? Should call AA and ask for a supervisor? I have AA flights in a few weeks and want to be recognized for my exec platinum status by then.

  31. Have the same problem in process right now. Despite my Aadvantage number being on the receipt and boarding passes for a TAM the first pass was denial claiming my miles got credited t another FF program. A few hours on the phone on three separate calls to customer service has them contacting TAM for clarification. Paid business class tickets; I’m Exec Plat and they have the documentation they need but are still researching it almost two months out.

  32. Experiencing the same problem. Flew DFW DOH BKK or QR 4 weeks ago and have not received mileage credit on AA even though AA FF# in record. Flew the reverse 4 days ago. Going to submit request for missing mileage credit for outbound since AA website states I have to wait only 15 days. Grrrrrrr

  33. I’m AA EP and 20 days ago I flew on Qantas SYD-DXB-LHR in business, so obviously I am wanting these miles to post. They never did. 5 days ago, I filled out a mileage credit request online and still no points.

    It’s almost 2017, how does it take so long to points miles?

  34. it seems like this is a specific oneworld issue. It is obvious they try to cheat you out of miles. Not a lot such problems with SA or Skyteam reported. Indeed, it is time for some sort of class action. Lucky is predestined in many ways to be the front runner (but I know he won’t).
    I am ENRICH GOLD (OW sapphire) and 95% of my flights on other OW Airlines never show up on my account. Luckily I am in Kuala Lumpur once in a while, though not actually based in Malaysia, and I go to their ticketing office at KL Sentral in person and make them claim the miles for me. Usually it takes 2 or 3 visits there until they finally give up trying to rip me off and post the miles on my account, but claiming they did not yet hear from the other Airline (after 6 months sometimes !!!). But my time with Malaysia Airlines is over due to that, changing to *Alliance, Thai and LH, almost never had a problem with my FF accounts there. Just that the GOLD status is not as easy to obtain.

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