When Mileage Run Flights are Delayed or Cancelled

So us frequent travelers do something that can be seen as a bit crazy to other people–we fly somewhere for the sole purpose of getting miles.

Well, not always sole.

packing for day at the beach mileage run

Airport_Travel_and_Related_024Keri and I both do short mileage runs to fun places.  But we’re going to be in those fun places for a few hours tops, and a flight delay or cancellation can bring our dreams of three hours of sunshine crashing down.

Major delays almost left me stranded during my three hour trip to the Bahamas.  Which was bad because I had a date with Keri in Jamaica the next day!

So what do you do when you find yourself in these situations?

First, this post has a guide for the process of how to get in touch with agents, and how to think about things.  I really recommend reading it.  But here are some things specific to mileage runs you should consider.

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Trip in Vain policy

A trip to Napa for a day is no good if your flight gets delayed by a day.  But what if you’ve already started your travels and it is your connection that falls through?  Keri found out that the trip in vain policy will send you home and rebook your flight for another time.

So in case you find your trip is bordering on pointless by the time all the delays get through, check out this guide to Trip in Vain and have it in your back pocket.

2. Know Your Options for Lengthening Your Flights

Truck Edited BlogSo your trip isn’t pointless, but you know you can’t make your connection between two locations.  If you have a bunch of time on your mileage run and wasn’t especially looking forward to spending time at your destination, consider adding on a few legs.

When my plane was hit by a truck on my way to Vegas, the next direct route to Las Vegas was not until very late the next day.  I took the opportunity to change this one leg of my trip into three legs.  Even with delays and stop overs, I’d still get to Las Vegas faster, and get credit for bouncing around the country on the way there.  Yes, I’m crazy, but I also love being in an airplane, and I netted a lot of EQMs doing that!

3. Know Your Options for Shortening Your Flight

Or, if you really don’t like flying and you’d like to get your mileage run over as soon as possible, you can look into options to shorten your trip.

What?! you ask, But I’ll give up all those EQMs!

Au contraire, dear friend.

Some airlines will let you request “Original Routing Credit” for the original route you booked–but research the airline you fly first before diving into this blindly.

For example, I’ve seen mixed luck on United.

If you move your flight before you have to, that’s voluntary and doesn’t count.  If you HAVE to move your flight, but suggest the route you prefer, that’s involuntary.

If you can get gate agents to mark your tickets involuntary, this will be much easier later.

YMMV, but if you were hoping to shorten your trip, this is the way to go.


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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One comment

  1. US Airways is particularly onerous. In case of a flight irregularity if your new itinerary is on US Airways, their policy is to give you credit on the new itinerary only. If you are rerouted to another carrier, you can then request the original itinerary for flight credit.

    I did have success getting manual credits for one original itinerary which had double mile segments after I complained. I was also elite at the time, so this likely helped. One another instance with US, I also held my ground (or seat) when there was an overbook and I was offered an earlier, non-stop flight instead of making a connection. Knowing this policy, I refused because I needed that last segment and I wasn’t elite at the time.

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