Under-credited Mileage Plus miles

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May 15, 2018
I was surprised when looking at my recent account activity in my United account to find that apparently Frankfurt is only 1,021 air miles from Washington Dulles Airport! Further, Brussels is only 1,947 miles from IAD, and from Brussels to Budapest is only 177 miles!

Actually FRA to IAD is 4,080 air miles; IAD to Brussels, 3,892; Brussels to Budapest, 709 miles). So I think I should have been credited with 8,681 miles instead of 3,145 miles (see below).

When I called the Mileage Plus phone number, I talked with a man with a decided Indian accent who said I wasn't credited with the actual 8,681 air miles because the United/Lufthansa (Star Alliance code share) ticket and the United flight were purchased from Insight Vacations Tours, on which I was traveling with friends to Budapest, Vienna, and Prague.

The representative said the 75% mileage reduction on the Brussels flight to Budapest and the Frankfurt to IAD flight (50% reduction on the United flight IAD to Brussels) was explained on the United Mileage Plus website, but I couldn't find it.

Is this devalued crediting legal?

04/27/2018 Lufthansa 418-K class (Frankfurt to IAD) 1021
04/04/2018 Brussels 2823-K class (Brussels to Budapest) 177
04/03/2018 United 950-K class (IAD to Brussels) 1,947
From Carol C.
Jan 25, 2016
Please understand that I am not offering an opinion on UA's policy here, just attempting to answer your questions.

This is not about law ("legal?"), rather terms and conditions of UA's program. I will assume, based on what you have stated, that you did not purchase the ticket from UA. If this is correct, then using the 75% reduction as you call it, or 25% mileage credit I think can be explained by this:

Lufthansa Deepest Discount Economy K 25%

which can be found here:


If, on the other hand the ticket was purchased from UA (ticket # begins with 016), then the mileage credit is based on your fare, and has nothing to do with the actual mileage flown. On UA ticket receipts, they do disclose the mileage to be earned, but not knowing who you purchased the ticket from, how much you paid, and on which airline's stock this ticket was purchased, this is speculative.

I hope this helps.

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
What ticket class does your ticket say? If it was a consolidator ticket, you may not get miles for the tickets. Some reduced priced tickets don’t accrue full miles. From the terms:

In addition, some fares or tickets, including on travel industry or reduced tickets, or on consolidation tickets, at United’s discretion, by itself or in conjunction with United’s Partners, may be excluded from eligibility for benefits, Premier status, mileage accrual and Premier Qualifying Credits. United expressly reserves the right to establish the means of accruing mileage and Premier Qualifying Credits, to delete or modify any or all of the means currently recognized or to exclude specific types of transactions or tickets from the accumulation of mileage and Premier Qualifying Credits, in each case, with or without
Sep 19, 2015
The deeply discounted fares have not earned 100 percent miles for a few years now —- 2016? Basically on airlines like Delta and United one gets less miles on partners for discounted flights.

On UA flights one gets awarded on the amount spent —- the fact that the K class got a percentage of miles makes me think it is what Just a Guy posted and Garkster and Neil have posted— special bulk fare.

And yes changing the program is legal and the info on earnings is on the web site.
Jun 30, 2017
Maui Hawaii
I fly United and Star alliance a lot (4 international trips in 11 mos).
Here is a recent United mileage credit on Air New Zealand flights, paid tickets booked with Air NZ on the Air NZ US web site:

12/21/2017Air N Zealand 10 O class
Auckland-Honolulu 4,389mi

11/25/2017Air N Zealand 9 S class
Honolulu-Auckland 2,195mi

Identical flight distance, different booking class, very different mileage credits. The miles you are credited depend on class of booking, not just miles flown. This is how United runs their mileage plus program. They make the rules.
Likes: Neil Maley


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
I'm so sorry you had to learn this in such a painful way, Carol. Loyalty programs at nearly every entity are under scrutiny by the bean counters. Since I was a loyal United flyer (I let my status go, what's the point of having it?) I know that they've been chiseling away at Mileage Plus since the merger with Continental. And it's all published, all above-board. They want to get back to the original concept ... rewarding people for loyalty to United, people who fly 2 or 3 times a month. They couldn't care less about us peons who only fly 6 or 8 times a year. And don't get me started on the code-share scam where people are given a fraction of the actual miles they earned. It is what it is, and all we can do about it is double-down on our research and planning.

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
These loyalty programs have all changed to tie in with how much you pay for a ticket, not the miles you actually fly. That’s the case with the K class you bought- lowest fare only gets 50% mileage.

Most airlines changed to this model guests ago to reward the people that pay the most for their seats.
Likes: jsn55