And another thing about e-boarding passes, and getting missing airline credit

The ghetto burger and e-boarding pass adventure show the practical perils of relying on e-boarding passes to get through airport security. Million Mile Secrets noted India as one place you definitely want to have paper copies of everything.

But paper boarding passes are also useful to preserve long after the flight is complete.

Airlines:
Most airlines are pretty good about automatically posting miles, provided you submitted your frequent flyer number at booking or check-in AND that you are fully flying on that airline, meaning you checked-in on that airline’s own kiosks or counters manned by their own staff, and the flight is operated and coded by that airline. Even then, sometimes things go wrong. If things didn’t go wrong, airlines wouldn’t have ‘missing mileage credit’ forms on their websites.

Things get much less reliable when you start deviating. For instance, when flying airlines outside their base country, the check-in agents typically are either airport contractors serving multiple airlines or employees of a partner airline. Shortly after check-in these busy people then turn up at the boarding gate to handle boarding too, and for all The Rapid Traveler knows, might have to load the luggage and cater the plane. In other words, these people have a tremendous range of tasks in their job and it is easy for a frequent flyer number to be entered incorrectly.

Particularly with partner airlines, if the mileage does not post, your only recourse will be to submit a copy of the original boarding pass – a copy of the ticket alone will not be sufficient. And be proactive in monitoring mileage postings because airlines impose short statutes on limitations on requesting past credit:

  1. Familiarize yourself with your airlines’ missing mileage credit policy (example: Delta).
  2. Keep itineraries and original boarding passes.
  3. Monitor your frequent flyer accounts to make sure all activity posts correctly. Flights on that airline should post within 1-2 days, partner activity posting times vary greatly. Make sure flight class is correct, especially important for first/business class flyers and flight on partner airlines where there are typically various mileage bonuses/discounts based on fare class.
  4. If activity does not post, file sooner rather than later. The worst that can happen by filing early is the airline says the mileage will soon post – better than filing late.
  5. Keep following up with your airline if getting no response, but don’t waste time with the original airline for partner flights.
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From Delta Request Mileage Credit

The tax collector and others who care where you are:
The Rapid Traveler spent the past eight years between China and the US and every years’ tax bill depended, to the half-day, on how many days he spent in each country (and states within the US). Another benefit to loading up on travel – every day in other countries helped reduce the tax liability!

Each person’s situation is different but from taxes to immigration (HELLO US Green Card holders!), having  evidence of your whereabouts can come in handy. Better to set boarding passes aside for a year or two rather than try to reconstruct travels and evidence when a need arises. And US citizens/permanent residents should pay special attention to record-keeping since the US does not stamp travel documents on departure (nor always on arrival).

Besides, boarding passes make great souvenirs.

And whatever you do, do not be casual about discarding boarding passes. They are a bonanza to mischief makers; see this disturbing Forbes post on Delta’s exhibitionist boarding passes.

Readers, what you are your missing mileage horror stories?

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