How many miles do I earn per flight?

Q: How many miles do I earn per flight?

A: Most programs award one program mile for every mile flown in economy class, a 25 percent mileage bonus for business class, and a 50 percent bonus for first class. Most programs also award a minimum of 500 miles for flights shorter than 500 miles.

Elite members receive additional mileage bonuses for flights on the airline that operates the frequent flyer program.

How is the distance between cities calculated? With direct flights, which include an en route stopover but no change of plane, the nonstop flight distance is usually used as the basis for awarding frequent flyer miles. But for connecting flights, where a change of plane is required, you earn the actual distance of the individual flights.

For example, if you fly from Boston to Los Angeles, for which the airport-to-airport distance is 2,604 miles, you would earn 2,604 miles for a nonstop economy-class flight. If your flight stops in Dallas (without a change of plane, so it's considered a direct flight), you still earn that same 2,604 miles, despite the additional flight time and additional actual flown miles. However, if you change planes in Dallas, you receive credit for Boston to Dallas (1,551 miles), plus Dallas to Los Angeles (1,247 miles), for a total of 2,798 miles. So, if earning miles is more important to you than time and convenience, a connecting flight can sometimes be the best way to get from point A to point B.