Delayed? Possibly earn miles for your award ticket!

If your flight booked with airline miles becomes delayed or cancelled it is possible you could earn miles for it when you are rebooked.

This past weekend I flew from Atlanta, GA to Dallas, TX. I was originally booked on American Airlines using 7500 BA Avios points. On the way to the airport I started to get notifications my flight was delayed. Joy!

At first it was 15 minutes–no big deal. Then as time went by the delay was 30 minutes. Then 45 minutes. Then 1 hour 15 minutes. It was a short day trip so I wanted to depart as soon as possible.

I was sitting in the American Airlines Admirals Club in Atlanta and talked with the agent. He eventually was able to get us on a Delta flight that left on time only 15 minutes later than our scheduled departure. Score!

Since we were re-booked on Delta it is considered a revenue/cash ticket. I was able to add my Alaska Mileage Plan number to the itinerary and earn miles for the flight!

If you have a delayed flight, paid for with miles or cash, you can ask to be re-booked on another airline if the schedule works. I should note this usually won’t work if the delay is weather. Weather delays everyone and falls under act of God clauses in ticket terms. You can change to another flight on the same airline during a weather delay but generally not other airlines.

In my case the inbound plane had a mechanical issue so we were able to switch. I still got a “free flight” from miles and also earned some miles as a bonus and get to my destination roughly on time. That’s a double win!

If you find yourself in this situation it never hurts to ask. You could get to your destination sooner and potentially earn a few extra miles for it!

If you have a cash ticket that has this same situation you could earn miles twice. I had this happen a few weeks ago. I was scheduled to fly United from Atlanta, GA to Hartford, CT via Newark, NJ. Delays started happening on United and I was going to miss my connection in Newark. I was able to get the check-in agent to switch me to the direct Delta flight and got in 5 hours sooner than my original delayed flights. It was a business trip so this really helped me out on the stress of being late to my meeting.

After the flights were complete I earned miles from the Delta direct flight again with my Alaska Mileage Plan account. I also submitted a request to get United mileage credit for my original route as I originally bought the flights from United. I received credit from United and got “paid twice” in miles for the same flight. That’s a nice double dip!

For the double dip scenario to work you have to be re-booked on a flight that is not an official partner of the original airline. In my case United and Delta are not partners so this worked. If I had been re-booked to another United partner such as another Star Alliance carrier it would not double dip since their systems can “talk” to each other and see credit was given for that flight already.

The bottom line is that if the stars line up you can get into some double dip scenarios when a delay comes. It’s a nice small compensation for the delay in my eyes. And of course you may get where you are going sooner to boot.

Think outside the box next time you run into a delay situation!