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Why You Should Keep Your Airline Itinerary

Here’s a lesson we learned about keeping those airline confirmations and itineraries you receive when booking airfare.  On a recent trip to the Maldives, we flew Singapore Airlines, but used our United MileagePlus account to accrue mileage.  Using your main carriers frequent flier account with another “partner” airline can be tricky.  Many non-US air carriers only give you mileage credit when you book in certain airfare classes.  Then when you return from your trip, you have anxiously wait and hope that the mileage gets posted to your frequent flier account.

When we returned from the Maldives, we had a short layover in Singapore and Tokyo Narita.  We had an issue with a requested upgrade on the trip.  In Singapore, they said they’d try to resolve it by the time we arrived in Narita.  We never received the upgrade and to add insult to injury, somewhere along the line they changed the fare class on our ticket.  When we returned home and after a few days our miles didn’t post, we knew something was up.  Of course, to clear up this matter, you usually have to deal with the airline that has your frequent flier account, in this case United and not the airline you actually flew on.  Your airline usually wants to wait a period of time to make sure that the information just isn’t late in posting.  United wants you to wait 30 days, before making any requests to check into the problem.

After the 30 day period, we called United.  And called United.  And called United. Finally, they determined that our return journey was in a “non-accrual” fare class and that’s why our miles didn’t post.  Luckily, we had saved our original ticket receipt and itinerary that showed had our correct booking class information.  We’re still waiting for the actual miles to post to our account, but after supplying United with the receipt, it looks like we’ll finally be able to get the miles in our account almost 60 days later.  

As much as we hate keeping receipts for items after we return from a trip, in this case it paid off.  It’s a good idea to hold on to any and all receipts you get in planning your trip or while traveling until after you return.  We keep ours filed in a special folder in our email inbox so it’s easy to find and accessible from anywhere we might be traveling.  

Last modified: December 30, 2013