This week we got a Reader Question about a topic that often creates confusion, namely Original Routing Credit for travel itineraries affected by cancellations and subsequent rebooking to other carriers.
Every so often travelers experience interruptions in their travel plans when flights are delayed or cancelled and then people might find themselves rebooked on a different airline than originally booked.
Even if the new flight is on a different alliance that doesn’t partner with your frequent flyer program there is still a way you can not only get the miles for your original booking but also double dip and earn miles at a second program.
The key word here is Original Routing Credit which means that you call on your primary frequent flyer program to credit you the miles for the flights that you were ticketed for, even though you ended up traveling a different route. There is however no guarantee your program will agree to this practice and that’s where our reader question comes into play.
A reader from Japan who is a member of ANA Mileage Club contacted us to ask about advise for her situation.
I had a ticket on Air India from Tokyo to New Delhi and it was a very bad experience as you know. [I initially talked to her on Twitter when the situation occurred.]
I followed your suggestion to contact ANA to receive my points for the cancelled Air India flight but they refused -> see email.
Can I do anything about this? I’m now missing the points to requalify for my status with ANA.
What happened here was that the lady was on a business trip and the company purchased Air India Business Class from Tokyo to Delhi. The flight then went tech and was eventually cancelled. It was very hard to get out of Tokyo that day and the only remaining option was Malaysia Airlines. I told her to pester Air India as long as it takes to receive a rebooking to which they finally agreed. All other passengers did not get rebooked to other airlines and ended up at a hotel.
She kept all the documents and then contacted ANA Mileage Club to ask for the original routing credit based on her involuntary rebooking.
Unfortunately ANA refused to credit her anything based on this email she forwarded us:
A very customer unfriendly move by the program (not that I’m surprised about that given ANA’s usual approach to customer service when things go wrong) but it just emphasizes my point that original routing credit isn’t a right but at the discretion of the program one participates in.
The only thing she could do in order to get credit for the Malaysia Airlines flights is to see if it’s possible to at least get any retroactive credit with a program for these flights. She didn’t have any oneWorld number ready at that day and collecting points wasn’t the priority that day.
Not all programs are easy with these Original Routing Credit requests. Sometimes it also depends on the operating airline. While it’s generally easy to get this approved for the airlines own frequent flier program, they often decline granting ORC requests for flights operated by other carriers.
I suggest to be very careful when selecting the frequent flyer program of your choice. If you expect to receive certain exceptions from their membership service such as original routing credit or compensation for things that go wrong then certain airlines should be off the list right away. ANA is one of those as they are very “by the book” and refuse to take responsibility for anything.
In the past I had very good success in receiving Original Routing Credit from United Mileage Plus, British Airways Executive Club and also Lufthansa Miles&More. Of course each program has it’s advantages and disadvantages. The definite plus of ANA Mileage Club is the low award redemptions and the opportunity to waitlist flights for redemptions too.