I'm planning a short trip just to hit rewards status, which has me thinking about the specifics of earning rewards. With air travel you can plan as much as you want, but sometimes things happen - weather problems, you miss a connection, equipment malfunction, etc. Often this means that you are forced to re-book, sometimes through another city, sometimes on another airline or even train*.

In the event of an involuntary rebooking, what happens to rewards points? I would guess that qualifying dollars doesn't change, since you have still paid the same cost. Do you get more (or fewer) miles and segments if you have to take a different route to your destination? If you end up on another airline or on a train, do you lose your points altogether? I'm assuming this varies by airline, so I'll focus on American and United.

*From personal experience, during a winter storm I had United convert a plane ticket to an Amtrak ticket at no extra cost.

3 Answers 3


Typically, you can claim Original Routing Credit (ORC) for the flights you were originally booked on. If you are rebooked on an airline on a different alliance, you can claim duplicate credit for membership in that alliance too.

Useful thread for AA: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american-airlines-aadvantage/1586992-faq-involuntary-reroute-original-routing-credit-orc-master-thd.html

UA: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-airlines-mileageplus/928093-original-routing-credit-orc-after-involuntary-re-routing-re-booking-merged-10.html

Just to add my personal experience. I've been re-routed multiple times on AA flights intended to be credited to BA, and always received original BA credit. I've been re-routed to Delta and received both original BA credit as well as Flying Blue credit.


It probably depends on the alliance. Most of my involuntary rebookings involve American Airlines and I was usually credit the miles for the original routing, plus a hefty bonus for the troubles.

One time though I had a UA flight rebooked in AC and in that case I did get miles for both the original and the new flight, credited to different award accounts. In any case, I never ended up with fewer than expected.


I had a Lufthansa flight converted to train, and lost the miles; and had re-routings that resulted in more or fewer miles, depending on longer/ shorter routes.

So if you don't do anything, it is based on what you really fly.

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