Rookie Wednesday: Should you change your frequent flyer number on partner award tickets?

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

sas star alliance jet at gothenburg got airport

I was speaking with a rookie the other day and asked if they were signed up for other Star Alliance airlines frequent flyer accounts since she had purchased a ticket on SAS with FlexPerks points. She said no, she credited the flight to SAS.

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That, to me, was a mistake and she could have credited the flight to other partners like United (or another one if you wish). To me, SAS Eurobonus is one of the worst for a US based flyer to pick. Why? Look at these two points in the T&C with the program:

2.12 “If a member does not earn any points for 24 months, SAS has the right to terminate the membership provided the member has no valid, usable points in his/her EuroBonus account.”


4.5 “…the member’s points expire four (4) years after the qualification period during which they were earned…”

Now the first one is no big deal. Sure Delta SkyMiles do not expire ever, until you die, but creating activity with a shopping portal purchase or some other way to make SOME activity in frequent flyer program accounts is just no big deal. But the second point is the killer, that is, points expire even when you stay loyal and keep flying the airline. No thanks!

But this is regarding a revenue or paid ticket (yes FlexPerks points tickets count as paid to the airlines). What about frequent flyer tickets?

Now first off you may say HOLD ON, I know that frequent flyer tickets do not earn points. Why does it matter what frequent flyer number I put in? Well there are pro’s and con’s for changing your frequent flyer number to another alliance partner. First the pro’s and why I do this most times.

If you do happen to put in, say, a KLM Flying Blue number when flying a Delta award, you may just get Flying Blue credit for the free award ticket (we are NOT talking PWM or pay with miles tickets here btw). Will it happen every time? No, but often it works. Same goes for other airlines like when I put in my Lufthansa number on a United 1st class ticket and got FULL 1st class points including bonus points for class of service (love that).

So that is the reason why to do it – the chance for some free bonus points on a free ticket. But what are the reasons NOT to do this. There a several.

The first one is what happened to me just yesterday (or could have). I was flying on a Delta business class award (LEVEL 1 clearly) but as a Diamond I get 3 free bags checked. As a KLM Ivory, even in business class, I only get two. They had to “swipe” my Diamond Medallion physical card (happy I had it with me) and it changed it over in the record and I got the 3 bags free I needed for this trip. Had I not needed the extra free bag I would have left it KLM IVORY.

Other things that are issues. I ONLY do this when I have already booked an award in businesses or 1st class. When in coach, especially with Delta, I want the shot at a medallion upgrade that would go away if I put in another partner’s frequent flyer number. Also, once you do put in a partner number, the trip “disappears” from your “My Delta” most times. Sure you can still pull it up with the PNR number (or record locator number) but that is a pain. Again, if coach and Delta, stick with your SkyMiles number.

Bottom line, always think of partnerships. Think on both paid and award tickets just what frequent flyer number you want in the record for the max perks or points you can or could get for any trip you take! – René


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  1. what do you think about a F award ticket booked on a partner airline? Say, JAL F booked w AA miles?

  2. Hmmm, I’ve never heard of this being a possibility. Might it work on AA/US flights booked with BA Avios?

    I will definitely have to try this with my award tickets next summer.

  3. When you enter the Flying Blue number, do you do that on the KLM site or on Delta. I changed to my Virgin Atlantic number on their site, but Delta still has my Skymiles number on the reservation on their site. Should I change on Delta as well? I’m flying business on Delta and returning Upper Class on Virgin on an award ticket.

  4. René –

    Perhaps you might re-word the following sentence:

    “Now first off you may say HOLD ON, I know that frequent flyer tickets do not earn points.”

    to something like this;

    Now first off you may say HOLD ON, I know that AWARD tickets do not earn points…

    I think that gets your point across more clearly…

    Good info buddy!

  5. @William,
    It worked for me when I booked a domestic F award w Avios on US Airways (got EQMs but no class of service bonus). But then again, it didn’t work with a one-way econ that I booked later. I’d say you have a shot at least

  6. Sometimes it works even if you don’t change the FF numbers.
    Got miles and status credit for Advantage award on RJ while Mrs TPJ got hers credited to QF.
    We have a bunch of award flights coming now on *A, all in “I” booking class so technically nothing should happen. Will see!
    Do you have an inkling whether there is a logic to this or is it just a pure chance?

  7. I just booked an award flight with delta and my skymiles # was locked in. It didnt give me a dropdown box or anything to let me choose my Alaska Airlines # that is in my profile. Also in the profile page you can not set a default flyer #.

  8. Ok so i called and got everything switched to AS. After re-reading your post i’m wondering if I made a mistake because 2 of 3 of my flights were coach international awards with the other being a paid international. Should I call and convert the 2 awards back?

    Also I have business class award from Air Canada on Luthansa and United. I added my United # to those, was that the correct move?

  9. Also if the info is no longer in the app, how do we check in? I’m guessing through the email notification, right since the flight doesnt show in the AS app either?

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