If I Take a Flight That Departs in 2013 and Returns In 2014, in Which Year Will My Miles Post?
TPG twitter follower Osuadam84 asks:
"If I take a flight that leaves the last week of December and comes back the first week of January, which year will my miles post to?"
I've actually been asked a similar question about overnight flights several times and it's a really easy one.
The answer is you get credit for a flight in the year in which you take off, so if one leg of your itinerary is in 2013 and the other is in 2014, you'll get 2013 mileage and elite credit for the flight that takes off in 2013, and 2014 mileage and elite credit for the flight that takes off in 2014. So even if you were flying on New Year's Eve itself and landing on New Year's Day, your flight would be credited to the old year. And for example, even if you travel and miss a day going to Sydney and the miles get posted in another year, they will be retroactively credited back to count for the year in which the flight took off.
When it comes to delays, I've found that mileage is still credited based on the scheduled flight time. So let's say you were supposed to depart at 11:50pm on December 31st, and somehow your flight was delayed until 12:20am on January 1st, you would still get it credited for the prior year since that is when your flight was scheduled.
The bottom line is, it doesn't matter when you land, just when you take off. For elite status purposes, January 1st is when the elite status clock restarts on most airlines and your elite-qualifying balance is set to zero, so try and get as many departures in this year as possible to hit the elite level you want.
Hopefully that answers your question and feel free to tweet me @thepointsguy if you have any more questions.