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I met the author of Don’t Call the Airline (great blog name, right?), a Canadian frequent flyer miles blog, at the Chicago Seminars.

He came up to me and told me about how he had earned 20,000+ Virgin Australia Velocity miles and status by flying a Delta AWARD ticket.

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  • What did DCTA do to “earn” the miles?
  • Is the process repeatable?


After booking his roundtrip in Virgin Australia Business Class with Delta miles, DCTA added his Virgin Australia Velocity number to the award ticket.

Virgin Australia mistakenly credited him for a full Business Class paid ticket, some 22,000+ miles and enough “Status Credits” for Silver status with the airline.

I would call this “trick” at least semi-repeatable because other folks have reported similar experiences earning miles on paid tickets by putting the frequent flyer number of the airline they are flying or a third airline on the ticket.

The process is more likely to work if the airline you are flying and the airline whose miles you used to book your ticket are not very well integrated partners and have different fare classes.

For instance, the Star Alliance (United, Lufthansa, etc) are pretty integrated with using fare codes X, I, and O for economy, business, and first class awards. I don’t think United would accidentally credit miles for a Lufthansa award ticket flying United planes too often.

But Virgin Australia and Delta are non-alliance partners with different fare codes. Plus DCTA described Virgin Australia’s call center agents to me as “on par with US Airways,” which makes the airline sound a bit disorganized.

Using Virgin Australia Miles

If you do earn 20,000+ Virgin Australia miles, how can you use them? Many of the award flights will have fuel surcharges, but not Virgin America or Delta flights within the United States. Here is the award chart for flights on the following partners.

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The 20,000 miles is almost enough for three one-way flights up to 600 miles flown or two one-way flights of up to 1,200 miles flown. These are similar to Avios prices.

If you need more Velocity miles, SPG Starpoints transfer 1:1, and as usual 20,000 points transfer to 25,000 miles.

Bottom Line

On your next award, after booking, call the operating carrier to switch the frequent flyer number on file to the airline you’re flying. You might get a ton of miles for the phone call.

Check out the full post on Don’t Call the Airline.

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