Earn Miles on Consolidator Fares?

Tracy Stewart, August 31, 2010
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. Can you receive frequent flyer miles when flying on a consolidator fare?

    A. First, for those not familiar with the term, consolidator airfares are discounted fares sold by travel agencies and ticket brokers (they're sometimes known as "bulk" fares). They're sort of like buying a "grey market" camera that doesn't come with a full U.S. warranty. Depending on the route and rules, they sometimes have fewer restrictions (such as less advance purchase and longer stay periods) than regular fares. But sometimes they have more restrictions and limitations. For example, some consolidator fares are totally non-refundable or re-usable, even if you pay a change fee or penalty. In some cases, you must fly on the exact flight you reserved; if you need to take a later flight that day because you got stuck in a traffic jam on the way to the airport, you might need to buy a new ticket. If your flight is cancelled, your airline will most likely not put you on a competing airline (some airlines will do so under certain circumstances if you've bought a regular fare). You also may not be able to select seats with a consolidator fare. And to answer your question, many consolidator tickets do not qualify for frequent flyer miles. If you're buying a fare online or from an agent, be sure to ask if the fare is a consolidator deal and that you understand the restrictions and cancellation penalties. More on consolidator fares here.