Top scorer Lewis Grabban returned to the starting line-up to rescue a point on a frustrating night for the Millers.
Back in action after becoming a dad at the weekend, the striker slotted his 16th goal of the season just after the hour mark to finally take the visitors level.
A defence-minded Crewe stole the lead after 15 minutes. Goalkeeper Rhys Taylor could only clear as far as Byron Moore, who advanced into the penalty area and was brought down by Jason Taylor, giving Harry Davis the chance to send the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot.
Taylor flashed a shot wide and goalkeeper Steve Phillips had to be sharp to foil Grabban.
The visitors wasted a great chance to double their advantage when Ashley Westwood mis-kicked from close range, but the same player came to their rescue when he cleared Danny Harrison’s glancing header off the line late in the half.
Rotherham carried their domination into the second half and the equaliser finally arrived on 63 minutes. Goalkeeper Phillips and defender Matt Toothill left a cross to each other and Grabban stole in to score.
There was a big penalty shout for a foul on Ben Pringle as Rotherham camped in the opposition half but they couldn’t force the win they needed to go above the visitors in the League table.
Rotherham United: R Taylor; Bradley, Wood, Raynes, Mullins, Schofield (Harrod 89), Harrison, J Taylor, Pringle, Revell, Grabban. Unused substitutes: Tonge, Warne, Cadogan, Warrington.
Crewe Alexandra: Phillips; Toothill (Brown 67), Davis, Westwood, Artell, Dougdale, Murphy, Moore, C Martin, Miller (Shelley 73), Pearson (Leitch-Smith 76). Unused substitutes: A Martin, Turton.
Referee: C Sarginson (Staffs)