What’s the Lowest Number of Miles That You Have Received for a Flight?

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Do you remember when a mile flown was a mile earned in your frequent flyer account? I do…  it feels like a golden age of decades past, although in fact it was only a few years ago when British Airways and Virgin Atlantic devalued their earning ratio for paid flights in Economy. You might also have become accustomed to an airline offering a minimum of 500 miles for a paid flight, regardless of how short the flight actually is.

But recently I took a flight in South America, and it became blindingly obvious to me why many people simply cannot be bothered to collect miles and points. I earned a WHOPPING 34 miles for a flight from Montevideo to Buenos Aires!

Even if I commuted from Montevideo to Buenos Aires daily for the next two years, I suspect that I might not even earn enough miles for a reward flight between the two cities. Of course there were extenuating circumstances. Aerolineas Argentinas was my only airline choice, and I don’t really bother to collect miles or status within the SkyTeam alliance. So I provided my Delta Skypesos account number, out of principle more than anything…

What Can You Do to Improve on This?

  1. Check out www.wheretocredit.com. If you’ve decided to fly a specific airline, you should definitely look at Where to Credit to determine which partner programme offers a higher earning ratio. (or at least whether you can earn miles with a partner programme you might not have thought of…)
  2. Be miles conscious. If two airlines offer a similar price for the same route, choose the airline where you earn more miles.
  3. Be aware of your booking code. Airline websites and online travel agencies don’t necessarily make it easy to research, but for a few pounds extra you might be able to buy a higher fare than earns you 50 or 100% of miles flown, instead of a miserly 25%. The value of the additional miles can often offset the extra up-front cost.

Of course, the real point of this exercise is to demonstrate why we no longer talk about “frequent flyer programmes” and instead talk about “loyalty programmes”. Unless you are travelling on expensive business fares, you are much more likely to be accumulating the majority of your miles on the ground – from credit cards, local partners, etc.


What is your record? What is the lowest number of miles you’ve ever received for a paid flight?


  1. Russell Wilson says

    Interesting. I’ve never seen wheretocredit.com before and just put in my BA frequent flyer number when requested. So how does this work practically? Guess you open an account with an airline you think you can use and when doing a booking just add their frequent flyer number? Handy tool. Thanks Craig.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      One of the “lessons learned” from the ongoing Iberia Plus debacle is to open dozens of accounts so that they are open and ready to participate in any incredible promotions.

      Of course, a higher earn ratio doesn’t matter if that free flight also costs twice as many miles. But Wheretocredit is really handy for those who want to expand their horizons beyond BA / Oneworld. Also for those who recognise how to make alliances / random partnerships work in their favour, instead of just earning miles from the airline they are flying…

      • Russell Wilson says

        Thanks Craig. Will come in very helpful plus opening accounts just in case a tempting offer comes along.

      • VK says

        thats exactly what I did when I got into this a few yrs ago. I signed up for memberships in 27 programs. only really active in 5. Iberia was one of the inactive ones but this promo worked perfectly for me. all points deposited without any problems

  2. Pangolin says

    I think the record is probably owned by Lufthansa with their diabolical revenue based Miles and More scheme.

    IIRC some guy posted on Flyer Talk that he got 22 miles under the new scheme.

    Lufthansa has always been the meanest out there in terms of loyalty programs so it wouldn’t surprise me.

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