No, Your Lap Infant Will Not Earn Miles for Paid International Tickets
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
You could say that it’s financially advantageous to fly with children under 2 years of age domestically. After all, it’s tough to beat free – though you’re not earning mileage or other frequent flyer benefits for that small passenger. This seems pretty logical if you aren’t paying for the child’s ticket. Even adults don’t earn elite qualifiers when you fly on award tickets. In fact, miles flown on an award ticket don’t even count toward million miler progress.
No Miles For You, Baby
But, what about international travel? That’s not usually free for lap infants, so I set out to discover if there was anything to be gained from a mileage perspective given that money was indeed being shelled out. Sadly, I found out your kiddo will get nothing from any of the major airlines: no elite miles, no elite dollars and no elite segments. They won’t even get 10% of the miles flown, even though they’re often paying 10% of the adult fare to fly along.
You’ll receive varying answers from airline agents on why this is, but it boils down to the fact that if you aren’t purchasing a dedicated seat, loyalty programs won’t provide mileage credit. (So if it’s vital that your newborn achieve Diamond status as quickly as possible, you’ll want to spring for an adult fare and buy them a seat of their own.)
Lap Infants Cost How Much?
Generally speaking, an airline will charge you 10% of the adult fare to add your lap infant to an international itinerary. There’s a great deal of inconsistency when it comes to how that 10% is calculated. Some carriers will charge you 10% of the adult fare on the day that it was originally ticketed, while others look at current prices to determine the infant add-on charge if done at a later date.
Upgraded tickets are even more complicated. I’ve personally had mixed experiences, ranging from 10% of the economy fare (ignoring the upgrade certificate entirely) to 10% of the face value of the business class fare that would have applied had I not used an upgrade instrument. Your miles may vary, but I had one agent at Delta try to charge me based on the face value of the business cabin I ended up in and another OK with charging 10% of my originally purchased main cabin fare.
If you buy a coach ticket and use a Regional or Global Upgrade Certificate (Delta), Systemwide Upgrade (American) or Premier Upgrade (United) to move into the forward cabin before adding your baby, try hanging up and calling again if you get an agent insistent on charging you 10% of the business class fare. Or, simply book the lap baby on your ticket before applying the upgrade while you are still in economy – though even then you may sometimes be thrown a curve ball.
There are certainly inconsistencies when it comes to lap infant fares, but one consistent element is that little ones won’t earn their own airline miles until they are in their own purchased seat.
Have you flown internationally with your baby? Let us know how your infant’s ticket cost was calculated in comments or at the TPG Family Facebook group.
Learning the ropes of flying with a baby? Here are some helpful tips:
- Flying With a Baby Checklist
- Getting Ready for Your Child’s First Flight: A Survival Guide
- How to Fly With Breast Milk in the United States
- The Best Airline Seats, Suites, Lactation Rooms and Lounges When Breastfeeding
- Flying With Babies and Toddlers: 10 Tips to Make Your Life Easier
- Flying With a Lap Infant? Here’s 6 Things to Know.
- How to Plan Award Travel With an Infant or Lap Child
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees