A couple of weeks ago, Rapid Travel Chai posted about a flyer who earned distance based redeemable mileage by booking flights through though the Citi ThankYou portal. I wondered if there were other ways to still earn distance based redeemable mileage and discovered one way inadvertently a few weekends ago. Obviously, IRROPs isn’t a controllable situation, but it’s something to keep in mind when you are deciding how to resolve it.

I was scheduled to take the last flight out of Chicago on a Sunday night, UA 308 from ORD to SFO at 11:30 PM. At 9:30 PM, I hopped over to the L station and was waiting for my train to O’Hare, when I got a notification that the flight had been cancelled. Wait what?! But I had to get to work the next day. I quickly checked if there were any flights also getting back to SFO that night, and apparently there were none, or none that I could make given that I was 50 minutes away from the airport.

So I resolved myself to staying an extra night in Chicago and taking the next available flight. Apparently United had already booked me on the 3:55 PM flight that would get to San Francisco at 6:25 PM. Not cool. I called in to see if there were any earlier nonstop flights, and all the United ones were booked. However, the United agent offered to check if there were any American or Delta flights that were earlier. Given that I’m American an Executive Platinum, I jumped at the opportunity to earn more American miles and possibly be upgraded to First Class (which I was after same day changing to a flight with more First Class availability!)

I was rebooked to AA2639, leaving Chicago at 10:15AM and getting in at 12:47PM, which would at least let me catch the rest of the workday.

Receipt for UA booking me onto AA

Receipt for UA booking me onto AA

I wondered how how AA would calculate the miles earned since it was United booking the flight for me. However, when I checked my itinerary on the AA.com site, it said the cost of the flight was the amount I had paid UA before taxes and fees, which was $129. I resigned myself to just earning $129 * 11 = 1419 miles.

However, when I logged into my account, instead I earned 1,846 miles + a 2,216 bonus for being EXP, which is the right amount for distance based earning!

Distance based earning including bonus for my ORD-SFO flight!

Distance based earning including bonus for my ORD-SFO flight

So apparently, flights booked through interline agreements count as some special kind of fare that still earns distance based mileage! I’m pretty sure this would not work if you were originally flying AA and IRROPs forced them to put you on a different AA flight. I suspect AA flights that are marketed by partners as well as certain tickets like consolidator tickets may also earn distance based. Anybody want to give it a try? Anyways, next time you run into an IRROPs situation and have the chance to be booked onto a carrier with a revenue based mileage program that used to have a distance based one, keep this in mind!