I was pretty pleased with myself two weeks ago when I posted about my experience giving up my seat on an overbooked flight on United Airlines in exchange for a shorter itinerary and an upgrade. Examining my account statement later it turns out I did have to redeem my regional upgrade on my new flight, which wasn’t an issue. But in order not to mislead you too much, I need to warn you that I didn’t get the fare-class bonus miles as I thought the agent and I had agreed.
See, I told the agent that it was very important to fly from Seattle to Newark via San Francisco in order to earn enough miles to requalify for Premier 1K status, and the direct itinerary he was proposing would leave me short of that target. He and I both seemed to think that if he rebooked me in Y (instead of my original L fare) that I would get a 50% bonus on elite qualifying miles to make up for this change. I was satisfied with this and didn’t even get the usual denied boarding compensation.
A few readers warned me that it might not work out as I hoped, and they were right — though in my defense if an agent says you should get the bonus miles I think its fair to expect them. It is true that ordinary rebooking and upgrade scenarios don’t get you a new fare class. I thought in this case that maybe the agent had done something differently.
Fortunately everything worked out in the end and I was able to request original routing credit a week after the trip. I also received the electronic travel credit I didn’t originally get at the gate. I never asked for it, but it was a nice gesture for the inconvenience.
In the future I should take my own advice from an earlier post and request that the itinerary be marked as an “involuntary change.” This makes it much more likely that you will be successful requesting original routing credit even if it didn’t turn out to be an issue this time. Perhaps it helped that we were so close to the end of the year; I might have found a less sympathetic agent if it were January.