Will My Flight Earn Elite Miles If I Pay with a Travel Voucher?

Apr 24, 2018

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“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week by TPG Associate Editor Brendan Dorsey.

You’ve been delayed a few hours due to mechanical issues, and for your troubles, the airline gives you a voucher for $100 off your next flight. But if you’re an elite trying to retain your status for next year like TPG reader Jeff, you might wonder if you’ll earn elite miles when you use that voucher…

My employer used a certificate [voucher] to pay for my flight. Will I earn MQMs on the flight?

TPG Reader Jeff

We’ve previously written about whether you’ll earn elite dollars when paying with a voucher — while the answer varies depending on the airline, in most cases the answer is yes, you will. But what about the other important part of qualifying for elite status: the actual physical miles you need to fly on an airline in one year to reach an elite tier?

Fortunately, the three major carriers — American, Delta and United — generally treat travel vouchers like cash when it comes to credit for miles. American’s website specifically confirms that you will earn miles when using a voucher.

United’s answer on its “Earning Miles” FAQ page also appears to confirm this policy:

While both websites refer obliquely to “award miles” rather than specifically to elite miles, data points on FlyerTalk going back many years show that travelers do earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) on DeltaPremier Qualifying Miles (PQMs) on United and Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) on American when using a voucher to purchase a ticket.

So if you’re bumped from your next flight and you receive a voucher, don’t worry — the certificate is definitely an excellent tool to use toward your next mileage runThanks for the question, Jeff, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured image of United’s 767-300ER Polaris class by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

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