Sacrilege: 6 Flights Where I Elected NOT To Earn Miles

On a day to day basis there aren’t many decisions I make where I don’t consider the implications they have on my mileage accounts. Whether it’s earning points by doing online shopping through a mileage portal, or earning bonus points for dining at certain restaurants, or using the right credit card to maximize my spend, points are always on my mind.

Obviously you don’t (typically) earn miles when you redeem miles for a flight, but as I’ve been going over my travels of the past year, it has occurred to me that I’ve taken six trips where I could have earned miles but elected not to. I know, this sounds absolutely crazy to any miles & points geek, so I figured I’d come clean in this post.

Here are those six trips from the past year, starting with the most recent:

Royal Brunei business class from Kuala Lumpur to Bandar Seri Begawan to Dubai

This is a flight I actually just took, and I wasn’t able to earn miles. While Royal Brunei has their own frequent flyer program, I don’t see much value in crediting miles to them, since I doubt I’ll fly them again anytime soon.

The good news is that they partner with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, so you can earn those miles for Royal Brunei flights. However, the bad news is that I wasn’t able to enter my Asia Miles number at booking, and at the airport the gate agent looked at me like I had two heads when I asked her to add my Cathay Pacific frequent flyer number. So I guess I’ll be retroactively requesting credit for those flights.

royal-brunei-business-class-787-2

Ukraine business class from Baku to Kiev to New York

Here’s another airline where I could have earned miles, but it’s proving more difficult than it should. Ukraine partners with Etihad Guest, so I wanted to credit my miles to them. Unfortunately Ukraine’s website doesn’t let you add an Etihad Guest number to a reservation, and at the airport they didn’t know how to do it either.

So I’m trying to request credit after the fact, but haven’t gotten anywhere, and am at the point where I might just give up.

ukraine-business-class-767-1

AZAL Azerbaijan from New York to Baku

Azerbaijan has their own frequent flyer program, but other than that doesn’t have any useful airline partners. So I didn’t see much value in even bothering to accrue miles, since I can’t imagine I’ll rack up a meaningful amount with them.

azerbaijan-airlines-business-class-787-1

Air Astana business class from Incheon to Almaty to Astana to London

This is actually an instance where I could have probably earned useful miles, as Air Astana partners with both Lufthansa Miles & More and Asiana Club. Unfortunately it’s not that straightforward, though, as each partner only lets you earn miles on select flights.

For example, you can only credit Air Astana flights between Kazakhstan and Europe to Lufthansa, while you can only credit Air Astana flights between Incheon and Almaty to Asiana Club.

So I quite intentionally didn’t initially add a frequent flyer number to the reservation, because I figured that way I could later send my Incheon to Almaty boarding pass to Asiana, while I could send my Astana to London boarding pass to Lufthansa. Unfortunately I then got lazy. 😉

air-astana-767-business-class-2

Pakistan business class from Manchester to New York

While I could have credited this flight to Pakistan Airlines, I don’t see myself flying with them again anytime soon, so didn’t bother. As far as I know, they don’t have any useful partners I could have credited those flights to.

Pakistan-Business-Class-777 - 6

Jetstar economy from Queenstown to Sydney

I believe I could have earned Qantas points for my Jetstar flight from Queenstown to Sydney, though I find Qantas’ frequent flyer program to be so bad that it’s almost not even worth bothering, given that I can’t imagine I’d ever earn miles with them again. In almost all cases I could credit Qantas activity to another, more valuable program.

Jetstar-Cabin-2

Bottom line

In general my philosophy is to always earn miles when you can, because there’s not much downside. However, as you can see, I sometimes don’t follow my own advice — in the case of AZAL, Pakistan, and Jetstar, I just didn’t think it was worth earning any miles with their program. In the case of Ukraine and Royal Brunei, crediting to their partners was just logistically challenging. And in the case of Air Astana, I intentionally didn’t credit because it was easier to do so afterwards, but I never did. Oops.

I guess not earning miles even for some revenue flights is the downside of reviewing as many new airlines as I have!

Have you ever not earned miles for a flight that was eligible for mileage accrual? Why?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. I kind of disagree that Qantas’s program is bad, Lucky. They are basically at the same redemption ranges as Avios, though maybe a bit higher. Status on Qantas is spectacular though: access to First Class lounges when flying Emirates, Jetstar, OR oneworld. While the currency may be terrible (similar to SkyPesos), the frequent flyer benefits are very, very good.

  2. Qantas is a good program for Australians with huge CC bonus like 100,000 per card with no annual fee. That’s enough for a business reward to the US/Middle East from Aus. and it’s distance based rewards can be good.

  3. +1 on crediting Ukraine to Flying Blue. I’ve flown JFK to ALA and VNO via KBP and retroactively credited all flights to FB without any issues.

  4. QFFF is great if you live in australia because earning miles is so easy it makes up for the somewhat crappy redemption rates. It’s really focussed on rewarding Australian based elites very well. I agree that it’s not much use if you live outside Australia.

  5. But, you still earn 3 points per dollar spent to whoever you want, depending on what credit card you use

  6. You may claim missing miles request to Asia Miles for your BI flight and QF have some unique airline partners you may redeem them only with QFFF miles like Air Vanuatu and Air Niugini that you may interesting to review in the future

  7. QF short haul awards aren’t bad, and even can be semi-reasonable for EK JFK-MXP in business, plus you can top off by transferring points from Citi.

  8. Yeah not sure why you’re down on Qantas as someone who likes flying Emirates. If you’re flying a route under 3000 miles, their redemption rates for premium cabins are very appealing

  9. “…though I find Qantas’ frequent flyer program to be so bad…”

    Ben, why do you find Qantas’ FF programme to be so bad? I don’t disagree, rather I’m keen to hear your methodical analysis and interpretation of why it is bad.

  10. Title is Misleading. You didn’t purposely elect not to earn miles. You were just too lazy to figure it out. Waste of time.

  11. Glad to see I’m not the only supporter of QFF. Had you been a QF Platinum Lucky, you would have access to the Emirates First Class lounge on your EK J flight. 😉

  12. Random question but I am stuck in Virgins Atlantic for a HK-London round trip next week and wondered if anyone has an opinion on what the most useful program to credit the miles to would be? It’s obviously not Flying Club and I almost never use Delta or Skyteam…

  13. So in like half of these you’re still trying to get the flights credited.

    Kinda contradicts your post title.

  14. @lopere,

    It’s click bait. Why are some of you so surprised? You’ve got to take it all with a large pinch of salt, and forgive the dramatics.

  15. @Lucky: did you purchase starter plus with your JQ flight? If not you wouldn’t have earned any miles with QF anyway.

    If you don’t intend to credit your flights to QF, then it makes no sense to purchase starter plus as it would’ve been cheaper to buy the luggage allowance separately.

    And no, you can’t credit JQ flights to EK as someone suggest. QF has JV with EK but not JQ. It’s like you can’t credit JQ flights with AA as JQ isn’t a OW member.

  16. @Michael, I was credited 1000 EK miles on a Jetstar Asia flight a few months ago (which more the mileage flown). Of course it was an insanely expensive flexible fare booked last minute, so I’d hardly reccomend it. But it is possible.

  17. Jetstar flights only earn with QF (or any other partner) if the right fare type is purchased. You need to book a bundle that includes points (which is more than the basic fare) to get any points.

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