If I Ditch the Last Leg of My Ticket Will I Earn Miles?

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This week TPG reader Alan tweeted:

@thepointsguy if I don’t fly the last leg of my ticket will I still earn QM for the ones I did?”

Ditching the last leg of an itinerary is known as “throw away ticketing” where you may book a cheap ticket to a destination, but at the end of the day you don’t actually want to go to the final destination and would rather get off in a city where you connect.

A "throw away ticket" is when you choose to skip the last leg of a trip.
A “throw away ticket” is when you choose to skip the last leg of a trip. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

For example, say you’re flying from Miami to Cleveland, Ohio via Atlanta for a total of $300, but flying that first Atlanta leg is $600 simply because that’s how it;s priced between those cities. Airline fare pricing does not necessarily mean that you pay more for each leg that you fly, adding on legs can actually drastically reduce the cost of your ticket.

So what happens if you fly part of a ticket and then just simply just don’t get on the last leg of your journey? First of all, make sure you don’t have checked luggage because that will continue on to the final destination and if you don’t board your flight and your bag are still on there it could create a security issue. If you don’t end up boarding the flight and do have checked bags you can let them know that you won’t be flying and voluntarily cancel your ticket. Technically this is against a lot of the fare rules for most airlines, but just because its against the rules doesn’t mean you can’t get away with it.

If you do skip the last leg of your trip, make sure your checked bags aren't flying without you. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
If you do skip the last leg of your trip, make sure your checked bags aren’t flying without you. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

In the past I personally have had tickets where I did not need or want to fly the final leg and I still ended up getting the elite qualifying miles for the legs that I did fly. If you make a habit out of this, the airlines have a pretty sophisticated system that checks for people manipulating fare rules and taking advantage so you could potentially have all your frequent flyer miles confiscated from your account and have it closed down.

For the average situation where you may do this a couple times I don’t think it would be an issue but please feel free to comment below if you’ve had any other experiences. To be safe, make sure you hold onto your ticket so you can fax it in to get the full credit for what you flew.

If you have additional questions, please message me on Facebook, tweet me @ThePointsGuy, or send me an email at

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