Original Routing Credit with Partner Airlines
A few weeks ago I wrote about how Hurricane Irma foiled my Alaska Airlines MVP Gold qualifying plans. To make a long story short, I had booked back to back to back mileage runs from Seattle to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. After going through my options, I ended up cancelling the first two tickets and went to Seattle to fly the third (SEA-LAX-MIA-PAP-JFK-SEA).
Unfortunately things didn’t go quite the way that they could/should have. At the last minute American Airlines decided to cancel their PAP flights for a few days. Irma was long gone and both airports were open, but they cited the fact that they needed to ramp up operations as their reason for the cancellation. Since I was on a turnaround with only a couple of hours on the ground in PAP, this didn’t work. Also, since I was heading to China only two days after, I couldn’t reschedule under their travel waiver.
Making the Call
Immediately upon landing in Seattle I called the American Airlines Platinum desk and asked for help. At first it seemed like the agent was going to help me and reschedule the flights for November, but then she came back after a very very very long hold and told me her manager insisted the flights need to be rescheduled within two weeks. I pleaded and pointed out that these were AA’s cancellations, but as anyone who has dealt with AA in the past few years could tell you, they simply did not care.
Onward to LAX
At this point I figured I needed to fly at least one segment in order to try to get some sort of credit for this ticket so I hopped on my plane from SEA-LAX. Upon arrival in LAX I went to the Admiral’s Club customer service desk (the club is closed for renovations) and they argued with me that I didn’t have AC access and they couldn’t help.
I should note that I was on an international itinerary as a Platinum, but PAP is considered the Caribbean so I probably didn’t have access. Nonetheless, there was no club, just three agents doing nothing while the regular customer service desk was full next door. After a couple of minutes the agent finally agreed to help me.
Trying to Rebook
Since I had already begun my journey, my hope was to get American to re-book me on another airline or other flights. I explained I had a brief meeting on the ground in PAP and needed to be back for a trip to China. The agent called someone in reservations and together they came up with nothing. This wasn’t a surprise since I had searched myself and found all flights were sold out to Haiti.
After learning what I knew to be true already, I asked the agent to get me booked back to Seattle since there were no other options. I then kindly asked for them to note that I should be given “original routing credit” given that I missed my connections due to AA’s cancellations.
Original routing credit is when you earn elite credit and redeemable mileage based on the original ticketed itinerary instead of what you actually fly. In this case flying to/from Haiti generates significantly more mileage accrual than just flying from Seattle to Los Angeles and back.
Getting the Credit
At the “Admiral’s Club” the agent once again fought with me as she said no such thing as original routing credit exists. At this point I was tired, so I kindly ask that she notate the PNR stating that I was requesting it because of cancellations by American Airlines and the fact that there was no way to get to Haiti. She agreed to do it after reminding me once again that “no such policy exists”. I should point out that I have received original routing credit from American Airlines a few times before.
Crediting to Alaska
While getting original routing credit with AA has been fairly easy for me in the past, these flights were supposed to credit to Alaska MileagePlan. In other words, I now had to convince Alaska Airlines to give me credit for the flights to Haiti even though I only flew to Seattle and back.
To start, I made sure my Alaska MVP Gold 75K number was on the PNR and on all of the boarding passes I received. Then, I took a picture of all of the boarding passes and retained them for later if needed. Finally, I sent a message to Alaska Airlines via the email listed on this page. (Thank you to Marty who helped with advice on what procedure to follow.)
Requesting the Credit
In my email I gave all of the relevant information. Along with my name, Alaska number and the PNR, I detailed the entire route and every segment I was supposed to fly. I also explained how AA was unable to accommodate me based on voluntary cancellations they had made and that I was requesting original routing credit. I also attached an image of all of the boarding passes I had.
Alaska Comes Through
As I mentioned earlier, AA’s customer service is often unfriendly and tedious, but thankfully Alaska is the opposite. It only took a couple of days for me to hear back. Did Alaska ask me for more info? Did they give me a hard time? Fight with me at all? NOPE! They simply gave me credit for all of the flights as originally booked!
Yes, I successfully got original routing credit on Alaska for American Airlines flights. A success!
Instead of having to fly all the way to Haiti, I just had to fly to LAX where I stayed in the beautiful renovated Hyatt Regency and then boarded a plane back to SEA the next day. Pretty nice. This experience once again reminded me of why I dislike American Airlines so much and why I continue to be impressed with Alaska. It also reinforced my decision to move my loyalty over to them for the foreseeable future.
Have you had success getting original routing credit with a partner airline? Share your experiences in the comments!