Point Me to the Miles

Navigating the Path to Great Travel

Always, Always, ALWAYS Claim Your Own Miles

The following may be information already known to you, but from my experience may be useful to some.
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Writing on a blog on travel, miles and points has one particular side effect for me:  It has made me hyper-aware of any discussions people around me have about travel whatsoever.

Part of how this behavior manifests itself is that whenever a friend mentions flying somewhere, I ask them if they are collecting miles.  Even before I was a miles junkie, this made sense to me, as it only seemed right to earn something out of all of that flying around.

An all too common response I have encountered is something along the lines of “Well, so and so purchased the ticket, and they have a frequent flier account, so I am sure they took care of it.”  WRONG WRONG WRONG.  Such utterances are blasphemy to my ears.  Ask me how I really feel….

In reality, all airlines require the PASSENGER FLYING on a paid ticket to submit their OWN frequent flier account information is the only one that can earn frequent flier miles, regardless of who pays for the ticket.  For hotels, there is some variation on the policy, but this is the case for airlines.

To combat this erroneous notion, I have in the past politely suggested that I didn’t think it was the case, and that it was the responsibility of the traveler to request mileage credit.  Perhaps I have been too gentile about asserting my correctness, as in many cases I doubt my response helped.  My basis for this was both out of knowledge reaped from the grape vine and being pro-active.  Thus, I never felt led to reference myself, until now as this may be useful information to many of you.

You may not dream of redeeming your miles for First Class on Cathay, like me.  Even so, those miles you have claimed may save you hundreds down the road.  Especially if you need to buy a plane ticket when fares are sky-high, or want to keep miles as a sort of “Emergency Fund.”  Regardless of their utility to you, you can’t use them if you don’t claim them.

Below is a listing of the major air carriers in the US, and their individual statements in more words or less, that miles will be credited to the ticketed passenger ONLY, regardless of who pays.  For your convenience, along with the links to their respective Terms & Conditions pages, I have included links to their account sign-ups.

Even if you already took a flight recently, most programs allow you to request retro-active mileage credit.

1. Air Canada
Air Canada Aeroplan Account Registration
Request Mileage Credit:  Call 1-800-361-5373

Aeroplan Miles will be credited to the Aeroplan of the traveler, regardless of who pays for the ticket.
Air Canada Aeroplan Terms & Conditions


2. Alaska Air
Alaska Air Mileage Plan Account Registration
Request Mileage Credit

Mileage will be accrued only to the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account of the member who actually travels or purchases goods or services and whose name appears on the passenger flight coupon, hotel receipt, car rental agreement or goods or services invoice.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Conditions of Membership

3. American Airlines
American AAdvantage Account Registration
Request Mileage Credit

Q:  How do I receive mileage credit for flights?
A:  Just remember to provide your AAdvantage number when you make your reservation or when checking in for your flight. You also should keep your ticket receipt and boarding pass(es) until you see the flight miles on your AAdvantage summary.
American Airlines A
Advantage Frequently Asked Questions

4. Delta Air Lines
Delta SkyMiles Account Registration
Request Mileage Credit

Mileage will be credited only for travel flown by the SkyMiles member on scheduled service flights. Mileage is credited to the SkyMiles account of the traveler, regardless of who pays for the ticket. Mileage from one account cannot be pooled or combined with the mileage of another individual’s account. Each member must earn his/her own mileage credit.
Delta Mileage Credit Rules & Conditions

5. United Airlines
United MileagePlus Account Registration
Request Mileage Credit

Only members of MileagePlus are eligible to accrue mileage in the Program by availing themselves of the means of accrual recognized under the Program. Except to the extent that mileage may be earned for purchases made through authorized debit or credit cards, a member may not accrue mileage for the utilization of services, whether air transportation or otherwise, by any other person, animal, object or entity.
United MileagePlus Program Rules

6. US Airways
US Airways Dividend Miles Account Registration
Request Mileage Credit

The name on the ticket must be the same as the name on the membership account to be eligible for mileage credit.
US Airways Dividend Miles Membership Guide


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