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Delays suck and when you’ve been rebooked and just want to get home you don’t give much thought to miles and points.
But sometimes getting rebooked means you get pushed onto another airline, or get put on a route that earns you fewer miles.
That doesn’t mean you’re out of luck when it comes to collecting miles.
You paid for a ticket on your airline with your hard earned dollars, and if you fly you’re entitled to the miles for the ticket you originally purchased, regardless of the airline you end up flying.
You can also request miles from the airline you actually do fly (for example, if United pushes you to American, you can request credit from both using your mileage account with each airline).
Here’s how to get them back:
Most airlines have online forms we list below, but sometimes you’ll have to call in. The line you should use when speaking with phone agents is that you want ‘original routing credit’ because you were ‘involuntary rerouted.’
You can also save some hassle by telling the agent who rebooks you to note that you request ‘original routing credit’ in your reservation, but that’s not necessary.
Another key: your change of flights needs to be considered ‘involuntary.’ Which means your original flight was cancelled or you were going to miss your connecting flight.
If for example you decided to take an earlier flight as a precaution before a storm hits you would not get the original credit.
But in most cases where you get put on another airline you’ll be eligible to request miles for the flights you originally purchased..
United Airlines MileagePlus
United has an easy form you can fill out online. Just enter the ticket number of your itinerary and they’ll put it in the queue for processing.
You can find the ticket number in the email United generates when you make your reservation. Just search for ‘eticket number’ in your mailbox and you’ll see it listed at the top of the email.
If the online form says your ticket isn’t found, which sometimes happens when you get pushed onto another airline, then you can call in at 1-800-421-4655 and request manual credit.
The key there: you need to wait at least FIVE days after the flight to request it, as agents are blocked from assigning manual credit before then.
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
Delta has two options for getting your miles posted.
The first is to simply input your ticket number in this form. That’s the fastest way, and you can fill it out starting 7 days after your flight was originally scheduled to fly.
Your ticket number can be found in the green area at the top of your email receipt.
The second option can be used if you don’t have a ticket number, or that number isn’t recognized. Just fill in this manual form.
If you don’t get anywhere it’s worth a call to the SkyMiles hotline at 1-800-323-2323.
American Airlines AAdvantage
You can try American’s online mileage request form, but in our experience you’re often better off just calling directly several days after the flight.
You can reach the AAdvantage desk at 1-800-882-8880 and request original routing credit for your involuntary rerouting.
That’s it. Remember, you can sometimes double-dip and get miles from both the airline you were scheduled to fly and the one you actually flew. Just keep the ticket numbers handy and you stand a really good chance of being made whole and then some.
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