There’s something very emotional about cashing in a whole bunch of miles. They take so long to collect, yet only seconds to spend. Unless of course, you live in a country where you can earn 60,000 of them almost instantly, for buying a latte. Whatever pace you earn em’ – there’s just the one question on peoples minds as they cash in: will I at least earn some miles back on the flights I’ve just booked? The answer for most people is NO if we’re talking airline miles, sometimes with credit card points – but there are exceptions.

Award Tickets

If you pressed the “using miles” or “award ticket” button when booking directly with an airline, the answer is almost undoubtedly, no. You will not earn frequent flyer miles if you booked your ticket using miles as the main payment for your flights. Tickets using miles almost always incur some sort of surcharge or fee of at least $5.60, but if you’re booking an award ticket, you won’t receive elite status points or frequent flyer miles. If you’re redeeming credit card points, however…

Tickets Using Credit Card Points

If you convert your credit card points into airline miles and book on an airline site, you’re not going to receive points. But if you use your Amex, Chase or Citi points directly with the bank, on their website – you WILL will earn points and miles for your flight. By redeeming with your bank, they are booking you a cash ticket, so you’ll earn all the usual points. The value per point is generally lower, but this is a big positive.

Upgrades Using Miles

If you booked a ticket using cash, and upgraded with miles – you will earn miles. Depending on the airline, you’ll earn miles for the cabin you originally booked, or the upgraded cabin. Fingers crossed it’s the latter! As a side note, booking your upgrade over the phone can help your chances of getting the higher status points and frequent flyer miles!

Cash + Points Tickets

These tickets are generally a bad value for your points (and your cash). But fortunately, if you choose to book one, you will earn miles back. These tickets almost unanimously earn frequent flyer miles and elite frequent flyer points towards earning status. We can’t recommend booking them, but at least you know you’ll get something in return.

Did this answer all your questions?

Featured image courtesy of Virgin Australia.