Anyone who reads these posts will know I am a points geek. So if there’s one thing that annoys me, it’s not having the points I earned credit automatically after a trip. Today’s article is about why you should always check your points balance after a flight.
Things always go wrong
Given how long points have been around for, you’d think this was all super slick by now. But it isn’t. Here are a few reasons why points sometimes do not credit automatically.
- The ticket had changes made – like an upgrade – that causes an issue. (My personal favourite).
- Partner flights can sometimes fail to report to the reward scheme that you are crediting the flights to.
- COVID caused a whole ton of additional rules & benefits which some of the airline’s own systems haven’t even caught up with yet.
- Internal IT glitches in the airline’s systems.
A recent example
On my recent trip to Austin, I didn’t really foresee any major issues. The ticket I had was booked with cash and I knew because I had upgraded with Points that one of two things would happen. Either the flights wouldn’t credit at all, or they would credit as reward flights. The second option would have been quite nice because Virgin are currently giving Tier Points for full reward flights (not upgrades) and I thought there was a good chance the system would get confused and I’d get extra tier points. I was half right…
The following image showed what happened. Nothing about it is correct.
For my trip, I was owed points for the underlying Premium Economy fare that I upgraded from. I was not due points for the Upper Class cabin due to the current rules around cabin upgrades.
Somehow, despite being a single ticket and exactly the same inbound and outbound, the system managed to credit the outbound as a straight reward flight and the inbound correctly. This resulted in two entirely different sets of credits. I’d expect this on different tickets, but not on the same ticket.
Even when I spoke to the airline staff, they had no idea how it could have happened. Eventually, the trip needed unpicking and someone with the right credentials at Virgin had to delete the outbound leg and manually add the correct points. The best part was, it only took 3 phone calls!
This isn’t unique. I have two colleagues who’ve travelled in the last month as well and they both reported similar issues to me. One of them was flying British Airways & Finnair, the other was on Virgin Atlantic like me (sensible chap).
The moral of the story here is, that you should always check your points balance after a flight and make sure it credits correctly. A general rule of thumb I use is no more than 2 weeks for flights to credit to your account. If you are waiting longer than that, especially for Virgin or BA, there is a good chance something has gone wrong and it requires intervention.
You’ve paid for the Points, so you may as well claim them!