How are miles calculated?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by taiwaned, Apr 16, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. taiwaned
    Original Member

    taiwaned Silver Member

    Messages:
    730
    Likes Received:
    1,678
    Status Points:
    995
    How are miles calculated? Does each airline have their own method of calculation?

    For example: Flight from Shanghai Pudong to Osaka is 350 miles on ANA but 550 on Air China. We paid full ticket, no discount on both tickets, both are Star Alliance. Price is also almost identical except the time of the flights.

    I know that if you purchase a discounted tickets you on occasion only get a portion of the miles, if you purchase premium ticket that you get 1.5 or more miles but the actual distance, does it differ by the flight path the different airlines may take?
     
  2. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Many airlines give a minimum number of FF miles for every segment; some do this only for elites.

    If the plane makes a stop (called a direct flight), some airlines credit miles as if the plane had flown nonstop, even if there is an aircraft change when there is a single flight number.
     
  3. ACMM
    Original Member

    ACMM Gold Member

    Messages:
    25,796
    Likes Received:
    113,140
    Status Points:
    20,020
    It also depends on the fare class for some airlines ... the cheapest fare classes often do not accumulate full miles for the trip.

    Also in some cases the distance one airline gives will be different by a few miles that a different airline for the same routing ... go figure!
     
  4. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    In some airports it can be a few miles from one terminal to another. Maybe the carriers are being anal about the actual distance to/from where they actually usually park.
     
  5. Lufthansa Flyer
    Original Member

    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

    Messages:
    23,970
    Likes Received:
    43,968
    Status Points:
    19,995
    jw3711, euromannn and lin821 like this.
  6. sun
    Original Member

    sun Silver Member

    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    127
    Status Points:
    350
    Airlines from Asia and some from Europe are notorious for doing this. BA used to give only 25% of flown miles for the cheapest class before DOT approved their antitrust immunity with AA and IB.
     
  7. Lufthansa Flyer
    Original Member

    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

    Messages:
    23,970
    Likes Received:
    43,968
    Status Points:
    19,995
    Watch for lh as well. Lot of their discount economy runs at 50 percent of actual flown miles
     
  8. Kalboz
    Original Member

    Kalboz Gold Member

    Messages:
    9,016
    Likes Received:
    22,451
    Status Points:
    15,020
    I used to fly BKK-KKC on TG and pocketed 500 UA miles on each flight. Now, they are giving the actual miles flown only.
     
  9. keepinitsimple
    Original Member

    keepinitsimple Silver Member

    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    38
    Status Points:
    170
    I think OP is asking about how airlines calculate distance between airports.
    In my experience gcmap.com always almost matches for long haul.
     
  10. taiwaned
    Original Member

    taiwaned Silver Member

    Messages:
    730
    Likes Received:
    1,678
    Status Points:
    995
    Appreciated all the responses. In the end, it looks like airlines make the decisions on how much they credit for each flight. Looking at all the information, there seems to be no rhyme or reason.
     
    lin821 likes this.
  11. Efrem
    Original Member

    Efrem Silver Member

    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    62
    Status Points:
    215
    I wouldn't say there's no rhyme or reason. I'd say each airline has its own rules. It developed them with an eye toward motivating certain behaviors among its customers and prospective customers. Since each airline's customers are different, markets are different, strategies are different, and so on, to say nothing of the people who figure these things out having different ideas of what will accomplish that objective, it's not surprising that they have ended up with different policies. Consistency is unreasonable to expect (and, at least in the U.S., would probably catch the eye of anti-trust lawyers).

    In any case, at least three sets of miles could apply to a given flight:

    1. The actual point-to-point mileage between the airports. I can think of situations where airlines have different ideas of what that is, but they're all within 1% of each other.

    2. The miles you earn that you can apply to later awards. This can be more than the actual mileage if (a) you pay enough for your ticket, (b) you get a bonus for being a regular customer of that airline, (c) a minimum-mileage guarantee applies to a short flight, or (d) if there is a promotion going on at the time. It can also be less, perhaps even zero, if you paid a very low fare.

    3. The miles you earn that are credited to your status for the following year. The same factors as above apply, but the specific formulas may be different for the two.

    In addition, some airlines count things like segments, "tier points," and more for one purpose or another. The creativity of airline marketing folks has no known bounds.
     

Share This Page