How to Earn Airline Miles From US Military TDY Deployments

Mar 4, 2019

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If you are a servicemember in the US military and fly for Temporary Duty (TDY), you can be accruing thousands of miles to be used toward your personal travel. Some servicemembers travel on TDY multiple times per month as a part of their duty assignment, and may be missing out on earning those miles with airline loyalty programs.

Luckily, you can earn miles at every stage of your TDY booking. Here’s how:

  • If you book your own travel through the Defense Travel System (DTS), you will need to create your trip and receive your confirmation number. If you do not book your own travel, this information will be in the email that you receive from CWT SatoTravel after travel is booked for you. CWT SatoTravel is the largest provider of travel services for the US military, issuing close to four million tickets annually to the armed forces and government agencies.
  • Take that confirmation number and input it into your membership account with the airline that you are using to travel. Most airlines offer simple instructions on earning miles on their apps and websites.
  • If you are not able to set this up before you travel, you still have an option. Bring your travel documents with you to the airline desk when you check in and ask for your frequent-flyer number to be added to the trip.

If you have already completed your TDY trip, don’t lose hope. Every airline has its own specific policy on how to redeem miles, but more often than not you can claim miles up until about six months after your trip.

Which airline you fly on is going to depend on how much the DoD is willing to pay for your particular TDY trip. All of this information will be automatically calculated into DTS when booking and changes frequently. The only time this changes and you may have more leverage on the airline that you fly with is when your mission requires you to be at your destination by a specific day and time. For example, if you are being sent to US Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, you must report by a specified day and time in order to be admitted into the course. Therefore, the DoD will accommodate you in order to ensure that you meet mission requirements.

Once you get to the airport make sure that you check out the lounges available to you as a military servicemember traveling “on orders.” You can check out US Navy veteran and TPG Senior Points and Miles Contributor Richard Kerr’s article on airport lounge access for military members, which should answer any questions on specific airline policies.

Featured image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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