What’s A Frequent Flyer Number & Why Do I Need One?

Around 33% of Americans never collect frequent flyer miles and while the reasons for that vary, one reason is that people just are not aware of the benefits of creating one.

To some people, it’s just not worth it.

But what exactly are the benefits of creating a frequent flyer number and what type of considerations should you think about before joining an airline’s loyalty program?

In this article, I’ll break down exactly what a frequent flyer number is and give you some insight into how to sign up.

What is frequent flyer number?

A frequent flyer number is a sequence of numbers and/or letters issued to you by an airline that acts as a type of account number. It allows the airline to track all of your flights so that you can earn rewards and elite status. It also helps you manage your account details and preferences efficiently.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

How do you get a frequent flyer number?

Typically, signing up for a frequent flyer number is free and only takes a couple of minutes to complete online.

Because it is so easy and inexpensive to create these accounts, it’s always a good idea to be proactive about opening them.

To find the sign-up page for your given airline simply Google: “[name of airline] create account.”

In order to create an account and receive your frequent flyer number you will need to input things like:

  • First, middle, and last name
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Email address
  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • Username/password
  • Security question answers

At the time of account creation, airlines do not ask for personal information like your Social Security number or even credit card numbers although you can put your credit card details into your profile.

I would recommend to download the airline’s app whenever you create an account so that you have easy access to all of your information and can receive notifications regarding your flights.

When you sign up you also will likely have the option to receive promotional emails.

You may be tempted to uncheck those boxes so that you don’t clutter up your email box but that might force you to miss out on some really good deals.

Tips for creating your frequent flyer account

I’ve created profiles for dozens of airlines and therefore I have dozens of frequent flyer numbers. Each time I have created an account it has only taken me a couple of minutes to complete.

But there are a couple of things to keep in mind that are pretty important when creating your account.

Create your account as soon as possible

As soon as you think you might be interested in flying with a given airline, you should create your account right then.

The reason is that you never know what type of promotions or issues may arise.

I once tried to transfer Avios between different frequent flyer accounts but because I had not opened one for at least 90 days, the transfer was not possible.

If I had simply opened up that account when I was first interested in the booking, I would’ve been good to go.

Match your name exactly to your ID

You want to match your name used in your frequent flyer account directly to your ID when creating a frequent flyer account. Ideally, your name will be the exact same as it appears on your passport and other security screening accounts and documents.

This will help avoid errors especially when it comes to programs like TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry which sometimes get tripped up when you don’t have an exact match on your name.

For example, some people place an initial for their middle name and other times they leave out the middle name altogether. You really want to be as consistent as possible with how you format your full name.

Create multiple frequent flyer accounts for your family members

You will only earn miles for your frequent flyer account for flights that you yourself fly on and you don’t earn miles in your account when you book flights for other people, including members of your family.

This is why it is important to create a frequent flyer account for each member of your family.

A minority of frequent flyer programs will allow you to pool your miles together after they have been earned but not many programs allow this free of charge.

For those that do allow you to pool your points together, you often have a few important restrictions to deal with so you need to pay extra close attention to the rules.

Avoid duplicate frequent flyer accounts

While you want to create individual accounts for each family member, you also want to avoid creating duplicate accounts for yourself.

Duplicate accounts can happen when you sign up for co-branded credit cards and you have not created a frequent flyer number for that airline — something that happened to me with Air Canada’s Aeroplan.

It took several phone calls and a lot of time to get my duplicate account sorted out and get all my miles consolidated into one account so do your best to avoid the situation by creating a frequent flyer account as soon as possible and keeping good records of them.

Double check for typos

Some airlines, especially some foreign airlines, can make it extra difficult to make changes to your frequent flyer profile.

If you were to accidentally make a typo to your name you might have to send in additional documentation to fix the error so take extra care of inputting your name and any other details in your account.

What are the benefits of having a frequent flyer number?

Earn miles

The most important and valuable reason for getting a frequent flyer number is that you can earn award miles in your account.

Your miles earned will typically come from qualifying flights. The more expensive your fare, the more rewarding your trip will usually be.

You can also earn additional miles through things like promotions or when getting compensation for when things go wrong.

So being prepared for earning opportunities is yet another reason to create a frequent flyer profile as soon as you can.

Miles earned on your frequent flyer profile can be used towards free flights or upgrades and also other forms of redemptions like hotels, cruises, gift cards, etc.

Typically, the best value will come from redeeming your miles for flights but it all comes down to your personal preferences.

If you don’t do a ton of flying, it may take a while for you to earn enough miles for a free flight.

In that situation, I would recommend looking into signing up for an airline credit card that comes with a nice welcome bonus so you can jumpstart your mileage balance.

Tip: If you already took a flight but did not create a frequent flyer profile, you still might be able to earn miles for that flight but there will usually be time restrictions. If your flight was within the last six months then you should inquire with the airline because you might still have a shot to get your miles.

Earn elite status

Having a frequent flyer number will also allow you to earn elite status if you are doing a lot of flying with one airline or their partners.

Getting airline elite status will earn your benefits like:

  • Priority boarding
  • Free checked bags
  • Upgrades to economy plus or business/first class
  • Airport lounge access
  • Higher earning rates

Tip: You can get some of these benefits like free checked bags and priority boarding with a co-branded airline credit card so you don’t always have to go chasing status.

Airlines now award status largely based on spend instead of the miles flown so achieving airline status is usually a pretty pricey endeavor.

Several airlines will have spend requirements to earn different levels of elite status but sometimes you can get those waived by spending on the co-branded credit card.

For example, in 2021 American Airlines waived the EQD requirement to qualify for Gold, Platinum or Platinum Pro status if you spent $30,000 on net purchases with an eligible AAdvantage® credit card between January 1 – December 31, 2021.

Profile management

Having a frequent flyer profile means you will not have to input your name and your contact details every time you make a booking.

This not only minimizes your effort but also the odds of you making a mistake when inputting your information.

Many times you can also save your credit card information making it much simpler to process your payment.

You can also put in additional information for security screening.

For example, if you have a Known Traveler Number or a Redress Number you can enter those into your frequent flyer profile and they will be saved for all of your future flights.

Every now and again there may be a hiccup where those numbers don’t automatically appear on your itinerary but generally you can expect them to automatically be added.

In addition, if something ever goes wrong and you get issued a travel credit or travel voucher having a frequent flyer number will allow you to easily look that up.

Also, whenever you book through an online travel agency like Expedia or even Amex Travel you can add your frequent flyer number to the booking and your itineraries should automatically populate in your frequent flyer account.

Where to find your frequent flyer number

Typically, your frequent flyer number can be found online or in the app after you log into your account.

You can often find it on the main dashboard page that appears right after you login but other times you have to click on your name or your profile for it to show up.

It is usually a good practice to keep your frequent flyer number confidential in order to prevent fraudulent bookings on your account.

This is especially the case if you have a lot of miles to lose because getting back your miles can be a pretty lengthy and frustrating process.

Some confirmation emails from airlines may include your full frequent flyer number but often times they block out some of the characters for privacy concerns.

For example, my emails from United display my frequent flyer number like this: (MileagePlus number *****251).

However, some airlines like Delta will include the full number in your email.

Final word

Creating a frequent flyer number is very easy and should only take you a few minutes to do.

By creating a frequent flyer account you’ll be able to manage your account details and preferences a lot easier as well as earn valuable miles that can be redeemed towards free flights and other rewards.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *