I know that this question has been answered back in 2012. But is the answer still valid as of today - 2019?

Do you earn miles for trips that you flew, but you didn't buy?

  • In a word, yes. Why do you think anything might have changed? – Michael Hampton Jul 2 '19 at 20:33
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    @MichaelHampton After this question was posted in 2012, there have been a lot of changes. I believe airlines started adding expiration dates to miles. I was wondering since this is seven years later if anything has changed. I am going to post a question separately to ask if a person should have separate personal and business reward accounts. – Jack Warner Jul 2 '19 at 20:36
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    @JackWarner If a person should have separate personal and business reward accounts? A business reward account is for businesses, so a person generally shouldn't open one of those at all unless they're running a business. There are a handful of airlines—like Emirates—that have family reward programs that people might consider, but there's no generic answer: you'd have to look at what programs an airline offers and decide what makes sense based on your travel patterns. – Zach Lipton Jul 2 '19 at 21:07
  • @JackWarner The entire point of frequent flyer miles is to attract the business of people (largely businesspeople, as it happens) who aren't paying the bill. The folks who do pay the bills, by and large, want to take the cheapest flight available. Things have changed in the airline industry, but it still doesn't make any sense to base a mass market loyalty program on purchasing managers and travel agents. That's what separate programs like Global Services or Concierge Key are about. – choster Jul 2 '19 at 21:17

This is actually country- and company-dependent.

Some companies will force you to use the miles you get from flights they paid for for future business travel. Most will not. It often depends on the country, as there may be specific regulations one way or the other, or just a “culture”. I think I have read somewhere recently that in Germany for instance this happens quite a bit.

Some view frequent flyer miles as benefits in kind, which should be taxed. In some extreme cases, some think one is actually abusing company money when getting the miles for their own use, which may in the worst case even be considered illegal, but again, this is very country-specific.

  • But in these cases, the miles are still credited to the traveler's own account, right? It's just that the law or the traveler's employer may have something to say about how the traveler actually uses those miles, or the consequences of doing so. But the airline doesn't care. – Nate Eldredge Jul 3 '19 at 1:48
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    In Germany, some employers tried that, but finally lost in the court when they were sued. It is illegal for them to force their employees to use miles for business travel, even if they were gained by business travel - those are personal miles, defined as such by the airlines. Companies have started to negotiate slightly cheaper flight prices with no miles given, which circumvents that limitation. – Aganju Jul 3 '19 at 4:05

In general, yes: you still earn miles for trips you fly regardless of who purchased the ticket. There are many frequent flyer programs around the world, each with fairly complex rules, so you'd have to check the rules of your specific program to know what caveats apply.

One thing that has changed a bit is that more airlines are selling their cheapest tickets in fare classes that don't earn you any frequent flyer miles (sometimes called "basic economy" in the US). These tickets generally come with other limitations (depends on the airline), like prohibiting changes, no advanced seat selection, or no carry-on baggage allowed. If a company is buying basic economy fares for job interview candidates, they're probably either incompetent or hate you, but you'd want to be aware of what fare applies to your ticket to know if you earn miles, and if so, how many.

  • Thanks for this answer and the other one in the question above. But I believe jcaron answer is probably more applicable to the question I was asking. Once again, thanks! – Jack Warner Jul 4 '19 at 13:10

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