I Flew Roundtrip in Paid Business Class and Didn’t Bother Collecting Miles

This is a public confession, of course. It runs contrary to all the advice I’ve ever given.

I flew paid business class and didn’t credit the flights to any frequent flyer program. But hear me out.

Now, with promotions I always tell people to sign up/register. Even if you don’t think you’re going to take part in the qualifying activity. Perhaps you’ll get re-routed on another airline during irregular operations, or connect in a city you hadn’t planned. Perhaps you’ll be forced to overnight somewhere, and while airline-provided hotel nights don’t generally earn points I’ve seen points credit anyway. It can’t hurt to be registered, I’ve seen too many people lose out on miles they would have received just because they didn’t register, thinking they wouldn’t have earned the bonus.

Granted, registration takes a few moments, but if it’s a promo I mention here on View from the Wing complete with link and all how many seconds does it take?

Well, the same advice should apply to frequent flyer programs generally, and even more so.

I hear people all the time, “Oh I didn’t bother signing up for their frequent flyer program, I don’t fly that much” or “… I never fly X airline.”

And usually either (a) it doesn’t matter whether they fly a particular airline a lot, accumulate the miles little by little and keep them from expiring and eventually they’ll be worth something, or (b) it’s possible to credit activity to a program that a person does participate in.

But.. Philippine Airlines domestic.. Mabuhay Miles.. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it! A first for me.

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. Oh wow. Can say the same thing. Welcome to the sucky Mabuhay Miles program… or shall I say, UNwelcome 😛

    I do admit, I registered. Lost all my miles now, which was definitely more than your domestic flight.

    You’re flying in the Philippines! Nice.

  2. I flew a Philippines domestic flight one time on Cebu Pacific Air. I chose them because 1) the price was cheaper than PAL and 2) at the time, they were affiliated with Northwest so I could accumulate WorldPerks miles. The flight from Manila to Cebu was fine and the Airbus 320 looked brand new.

    Our corporate travel agency has sometimes offered PAL as an option for long-haul from the US. I’ve always refused because their business class is a pretty ancient product compared to most other carriers today and Mabuhay Miles would be essentially worthless outside the Philippines.

  3. A decade ago i used to like flying PR because they had a partnership with AA. I once did a feeder-TPAC-Transcon which netted around 20 k base miles and i was able to to choose whether ti credit everything to AA or PR. Now those days are gone.

    If you live in Manila no problem since you have options since CX JAL etc have regional flights. If you luve in some other province you have to rely in PR even in international bec you dont want to be hit w excess baggage when connecting from an intl flight or you dont want to do the dreaded terminal change in manila.

    So the choices are PR with mileage that is exclusive to them or LCCs wc is cheaper but have no mileage at all. Sucks to be us aint it?

    To be honest it seems like Im choosing Cebu Pacific lately esp since they give their best customers FREE flights.

    By the way when you mentioned domestic, where did you go? Hope you explored further than Manila.

  4. Traveling from BKK to HNL with 18 high school students, we were initially on China Airlines and could’ve credited miles to Delta, but our CONFIRMED reservations were canceled before we paid for the tix. Our only reasonably priced alternative, at short notice, was PAL. Now we have 18 people flying more than a combined 216,000 miles. Yet I told them not to bother with Mabuhay Miles — arguably the most USELESS frequent flyer program in the world.

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