BEGINNER’S GUIDE | Sometimes your travel plans just don’t work out. But that doesn’t mean you need to be penalised for it, particularly if it isn’t your fault. Every Status Credit counts, so if a flight change means you’ll earn less than before, then you have a case to ask for Original Routing Credits (ORCs).

Essentially, ORCs are a credit of the number of points, Status Credits and eligible flight sectors that you expect to earn when you book an itinerary. So even if you get downgraded or rerouted, you’ll still be able to keep your points plans on track.

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My example: a reroute in my favour

On the way back home from a work trip, I booked a Virgin Australia flight from Melbourne to Perth via Adelaide. The detour would net me 60 Status Credits and 2 Eligible Sectors on an Economy Flex fare.

The Adelaide-Perth flight was cancelled a few hours before departure. I wasn’t too worried, though – a quick check of seat availability and a call to Virgin Australia ensured I was placed on a non-stop Melbourne-Perth flight instead.

As expected, that journey earned 45 Status Credits and 1 Eligible Sector. Once the flight was posted to my account, I simply called Velocity Frequent Flyer and asked for the Original Routing Credits for my journey.

I was transferred between departments a few times, but eventually, someone understood the query. With a few minutes on hold, an additional 15 Status Credits and 1 Eligible Sector were credited to my account.

An example of additional Status Credits and Sectors being applied to my account.

Ultimately, this was a win. I got home earlier while still earning the expected Status Credits and eligible sectors from two flights. I didn’t get any extra points as Virgin Australia calculates these on the fare paid, which didn’t change.

But if I had flown Qantas (which awards points per sector), then I’d also expect to get some more points.

When should you ask for Original Routing Credits?

Both Qantas and Virgin Australia will award Original Routing Credits on request. There’s no published policy to refer to, but you’ll usually be entitled to ORCs in these situations:

  • When you are involuntarily downgraded, and/or
  • When you are rerouted, and
  • As a result, you earn fewer points/Status Credits/points than expected in the original program.

Generally speaking, flights that are cancelled and refunded won’t be eligible for ORCs as you didn’t actually travel on the original ticket (including if you later organise a separate ticket yourself to get there). If your flight is cancelled, you should try get the airline to reroute you first.

Conversely, say your flight is cancelled and you’re rebooked on a different carrier. In this case, you’ll usually earn points and loyalty rewards with the new carrier. But you could still also ask for Original Routing Credits from the initial airline, as you didn’t get anything in your planned program. It’s another win-win situation.

Of course, any voluntary changes you make to your flights won’t be eligible for ORCs.

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How to claim Original Routing Credits if your flights change was last modified: March 22nd, 2024 by Brandon Loo