Where Can I See How Many Elite Credits I’ll Earn for Flying?

Jan 29, 2017

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TPG reader Joe sent me a message on Facebook to ask about elite status:

“I have several trips coming up on American Airlines; is there an easy way to see how many elite miles and elite dollars I’ll earn?”

Toward the end of each year, I get a lot of questions from readers who are scrambling to qualify for airline status. While there are strategies to meet the requirements at the last minute, you can avoid the rush by mapping out your path to elite qualification ahead of time based on your travel plans for the year. Of course, in order to do that, you’ll need to know how many elite credits you’ll earn for each flight.

Fortunately, the big three domestic carriers all make this information readily available during the booking process. American Airlines indicates how many credits (Elite Qualifying Miles, Segments and Dollars) and AAdvantage miles you’ll earn on the Review and Pay screen during checkout. Similarly, Delta shows how many MQMs, MQDs and SkyMiles you’ll earn before you buy a ticket — look under your flight summary immediately after selecting an itinerary, and click on the Mileage Calculator button for more details.

In either case, you’ll need to be logged in to your frequent flyer account in order to see your expected earnings. United does things a bit differently, as you can see potential PQM, PQS, PQD and MileagePlus earnings during the search process — just click the drop-down Details menu to see details for a given flight. This works even when you’re not logged in, though the numbers may not be accurate if you have existing elite status. United also includes these numbers in the email itinerary you receive after buying a ticket.

Keep in mind that in the case of elite miles, the numbers shown are an estimate based on the expected flight path — your earnings may vary based on the actual flight distance. The difference will typically be small, but I recommend checking to ensure your miles are credited properly. American, Delta and United all make it easy to view your progress toward elite qualification when you log in to your account, so you can compare their calculations with your own and look for discrepancies.

Check your account online to verify that elite credits have been awarded properly.

Estimating elite credits for partner flights is more challenging, since rates vary from one partner to another, and may depend on your fare class or other factors. Make sure you know the rules before you book to avoid unpleasant surprises later.

For more on qualifying for elite status with American and other airlines, check out these posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

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