When you’re flying on an award ticket, it typically doesn’t earn miles because the fare bucket or the inventory code doesn’t generate 100% credit of flown miles. In contrast to a paid ticket, depending on the fare code purchased produces 50%, 100% or in some cases 150% of flown miles. For instance, a cheaper economy fare bucket may earn 50% of the flown miles where as a full fare economy will earn 150% of the flown miles.
During my trip to Africa I redeemed Air France miles to fly from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi, Kenya, which was an award ticket and wasn’t expecting to earn any miles. I recently logged into my Air France account to check availability of flight on Vietnam Airlines, I noticed that my account balance was 1,000, which was odd.
My redemption for the internal flight in Africa was 7,500 so I was expecting to a balance of 500 not 1,000. Seeing a balance of 1,000 meant that I must have entered the wrong amount in the transfer amounts because American Express membership rewards point transfers to frequent flyer mile programs in increments of 1,000.
After reviewing the account history, I saw this:
I actually earned 500 miles on the award ticket. The amount of miles earned isn’t particularly useful, but saves me from transferring an extra 1,000 Membership Rewards points – a very small win.
This integration issue is not very common. The key take away is to always put in your frequent flyer number not only do you get reciprocal benefits between alliance member assuming you have elite status, but also you might earn miles from technical issues. In this case, I benefited from earning a few miles that I would not have.