I Just Earned Miles on an Award Flight

I’m planning on doing a trip report of some sort, I’m just back in the US from a jaunt to Asia in First Class on Cathay Pacific (Toronto – Hong Kong – Manila – Hong Kong – London) with a return to North America on British Airways in First Class. I had the Presidential Suite at the Intercontinental Manila, and suites on Mactan Island and in Macau, plus lunch at the Fat Duck Restaurant outside London. Certainly plenty of stories to share.

But since I’m just back to the States today, and need to oh I dunno work all week (and I won’t be back in the air for about 11 days..) the trip report will have to wait. I’m not promising anything at all for specific delivery dates. I have to do my taxes as well, and while I care about my readers the government scares me. 😉

Y’all may recall that I shared my approach to the British Airways strike, that I made a one-way mileage booking on United as a backup in case BA couldn’t get me home. Fortunately I didn’t need the backup flight, and I cancelled the award and have the miles back in my account.

In that thread, commenter Blake reminded me of something I had been aware of a few months back and then forgotten —

When you check-in for the BA flight, change your FF # (from AA or whatever it is you used to book the award ticket) to your BA number. I flew BA first during the strike (which didn’t end up hapening) over the holidays and got a 25k mile present for the inconvenience…even though it was an award ticket.

I immediately recognized this as good advice! The flight segment was an award issued with American miles issued from my account. As a result, the booking had my American AAdvantage number in it. I couldn’t change that online. My wife’s reservation had no number associated with it, so I added her BA account through the British Airways website. Then at check-in I gave them my BA account as well.

Well, no apology bonus yet but it’d be too soon for that. We’ll see if one comes, it would certainly be deserved with no hot food and barely any service (the flight attendant complement was 8 rather than the standard 11 for the flight, and many weren’t really up to par in any case). Though ultimately I was just happy to fly and not have to use my backup award.

But we did both earn miles for the flight itself. And since it was a first class booking, we earned double miles.

So.. thanks, Blake, for the reminder!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Does this only work on OW, or do other alliances suffer from this loophole? Really cool idea!

  2. used to do this with NWA and Delta all the time. NWA would credit Delta award tix asmiles…sad

  3. send some money, file and extension, get those trip reports DONE!

    And don’t forget all the pictures and details, I dont’ care what the others say we want photo trip reports. 🙂

  4. Does anybody know if this works on SkyTeam? We’ve got business class booked on AirFrance via SkyMiles–would changing to Flying Blue get us miles?

  5. Are there any other airlines where this has worked? I have never thought of putting a different FF# on an award tix. Hmmmm.

  6. I recently earned miles on AA (EQM, EQP, and RDM) for an award flight on BA in J that I booked with my AA miles. Go figure what’s happening at BA these days…

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