Full Fares – Earning bonus Elite miles on United Partners

As I discussed in my last blog post, if you book a full-fare or flexible-fare economy ticket that is booked as a Y or a B fare, you will earn 150% of the miles flown on the trip. This is not a reason to buy these tickets as they can cost several times the cost of a regular ticket, but if you do get booked into this fare class, it is good to know if you will or will not earn the 150% miles. It is not a given, as I will come to shortly. If you need a flexible ticket due to fluid plans or you like me, book last minute travel or one-way tickets, you may get booked into these fares.

Other than Y/B, if one purchases full-fare Business Class or First Class fares, there is the 150% mileage bonuses for that too. These bonuses can be up to 200% for Award miles (RDM), but remain 150% for Elite miles. Conversely, if you purchase discounted Business or First tickets, you may not earn any bonus Elite miles. These fares are actually sometimes cheaper than Y/B fares, so it makes sense.United-747-at-HKG.jpg

In this blog post, I will list out which airline partners award the 150% miles on full fare Economy, Business and First fares when earning miles on United MileagePlus program. I only researched this program as this is my primary mileage program. Furthermore, I only looked at United’s Star Alliance Partners. United has several other partners outside Star Alliance, like India’s Jet Airways, but they do not award Elite miles to United flyers, so I ignored them for now.

I personally found this data useful. I recently flew Turkish Airlines from Istanbul to London (IST – LHR) on my way back to the US. it was a B-fare, but I earned no bonus, as Turkish does not award it. If I had known this fact, I may have explored flying on Lufthansa instead and return to the US via Frankfurt instead of via London, as Lufthansa does offer 150% EQM.

On a side note, I was surprised actually to find out how many airlines do not have a First class product. Just Economy and Business class. United does so too on some of its international flights that are only 2-class: Economy and BusinessFirst.

Here is the list. The format of this is such:

<Airline Name> – <150% on Y/B fares in Economy>, <150% on full-fare in Business Class>, <150% on full-fare in First Class>

Highlighted airlines (in bold) offer 150% EQM on Y/B economy fares.

  • United – Yes, Yes, Yes (of course)

[To decode – United awards 150% EQM on full fare Economy, Business and First fares]

  • Adria – No, No (No F)
  • Aegean – No, No (No F)
  • Air Canada – Yes, Yes, Yes
  • Air China – No, No, No
  • Air India – No, Yes, Yes
  • Air New Zealand – No, No (No F)
  • ANA – Yes, Yes, Yes
  • Asiana Airlines – No, No, No
  • Austrian – Yes, No/Yes, Yes (Some Business fares earn 150% EQM, and some do not)
  • Avianca – No, No, (No, F)
  • Brussels Airlines – Yes, Yes, (No F)
  • Copa Airlines – Yes (125%), Yes (150%, 175%), (No F) (Full fare Economy only earns 125%, and Some Business fares earn 150% EQM, and some earn 175%)
  • Croatia Airlines – No, No, (No F)
  • Egyptair – No, No, No
  • Ethiopian Airlines – No, No, (No F)
  • Eva Air – No, No, (No F)
  • LOT Polish Airlines – No, No, (No F)
  • Lufthansa – Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, Yes (multiple yes/no combinations here. Lufthansa has a Premium Economy class on some aircraft. This earns the 150% miles for some fares. Same is true for Business class).
  • SAS – Yes, Yes, (No F)
  • Shenzhen Airlines – No, No, No
  • Singapore Airlines – No, No, No, No
  • South African Airlines – No, No, (No F)
  • Swiss – Yes, Yes, Yes
  • TAP Portugal – No, No, (No F)
  • THAI – No, No, No
  • Turkish Airlines – No, No (No F)

Read More:

Earning more miles than you actually fly – the how and why?

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