Newbie Mistake Advice?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by jtc, Jun 17, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. jtc

    jtc New Member

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    So my wife and I are college students, neither with any frequent flyer experience. We are in India from the US on an internship and I started a Mileage Plus account to make sure we'd get miles for the long flights both ways. I flew United and got my miles, my wife flew Lufthansa, a Star Alliance member, and the miles never showed.

    We finally called United and they said that even though I both tickets on my card, we couldn't put them on the same mileage plus account and she needed her own account, and since she didn't have a previously existing account she cannot receive those miles even if she does open a new account now.

    I think Lufthansa will give her some miles, but we never use that airline. What should we do?
     
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  2. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    How long ago was the flight? Of course with United, it's not really miles anymore, it's spend based points.

    They should be able to give her miles, er points, within a window of time after the flight if she opens her own account. You can never share miles flown by another person even if you buy the ticket for them.

    If you have trouble, you're already in India and can talk to the help center people face to face! :p
     
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  3. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    One option: open a UA account for her and request mileage credit for the LH flights, ignoring what you were told. It's possible that another agent will apply the credit anyway. If that doesn't work, you can try again with another Star Alliance program.

    Another option: consider crediting these miles and any from future UA flights to another Star Alliance program other than UA Mileage Plus. Like Lufthansa Miles and More. :) The biggest loss: she will be giving up any chance to earn elite status on UA. Pay attention to program rules: some LH fare classes might not earn full miles in some programs, etc. As for picking a program: if you tell us a bit more about your travel patterns and aspirations, we may be able to help more. Some people like Singapore's KrisFlyer, not least because it offers cheaper domestic US first tickets than UA's own program (40k miles v. 50k). But it comes with some big downsides, like miles expiring three years from when they were earned.

    To be clear: it doesn't matter if you never use Lufthansa (or Singapore or Avianca or ANA or Air Canada...): if its loyalty programs offers the value/redemptions/rules that work best for you, use it! You can still earn your miles from flights on UA and redeem them for flights on UA.
     
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  4. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    This is excellent advice! The truth be told, many of us likely started in the miles and rewards game after failing to get adequate credit for a flight/hotel stay, and that is likely why many of us watch our account statements so closely! :) And I'm sure that I'm not the only person on MP who's maintained status on one airline by earning miles on another, or redeemed miles for flights on partner airlines! ;)
     
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  5. Counsellor
    Original Member

    Counsellor Gold Member

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    I'd be cautious about starting a Lufthansa Miles & More account if you don't expect to fly LH, or even if you do but not as a primary carrier. This is based on three reasons:

    1. LH miles expire at the end of the calendar quarter three years after being earned, unless you have elite status (or certain credit cards). This is true even if you continue to earn on Miles & More, so you can be earning but still see your miles are expiring. You should be able to find a Star Alliance program where earning miles extends the expiration of miles previously earned.

    2. LH miles are earned not so much on miles flown, but also on fare class, so you may not earn 1 mile for each mile flown. There are few things more frustrating than to find out you earned only a few miles when you actually flew thousands, simply because you were lucky or smart enough to find a cheap fare.

    3. "Free" tickets on LH are anything but free. If you redeem LH miles for a flight on LH, they will also charge you a fee (formerly known as a "fuel surcharge" but now in no way tied to the price of fuel). They may also charge you this fee when redeeming LH miles for a flight on a sister Star Alliance carrier. This fee (sometimes known as "YQ") can be many hundreds of dollars. US carriers, for the most part, and some other Star Alliance programs do not impose such charges, or may impose lower charges, on their "free" award tickets.

    On the other hand, there are some advantages to Miles & More. For one, status earned lasts two years, not just one. Second, the lowest elite status gets you into LH lounges at most airports served by LH, while the lowest elite status (Silver) on United does not, and indeed even United Gold will not get you into the United Club for domestic flights.

    In the words of the song, "You better shop around!"
     
  6. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Official rules say no to this. Retro-credit is only possible on UA metal, not OAL flights.
     
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  7. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    Given all this information, I'd write it off as a lost cause. Except, it never hurts to ask, so try one more polite request. If you don't get a robotic off-shore person reviewing it, you might get lucky.

    If they're smart, they'll do it to generate good will with little down side. Based on the limited knowledge of your profile, I'd guess the miles have a high percent chance of never being used. However, if they were to be used, they'd have you locked into their program as a potential future flyer instead of letting you slip through their fingers and landing with another carrier or as a perpetual free agent.
     

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