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How to add or change your frequent flyer number on a booking

Add your frequent flyer number to earn rewards and elite status.


Fact checked

Frequent flyer programs offer miles and elite status for eligible flights you take, including with partner airlines that may have their own frequent flyer programs. If you’re a member of several frequent flyer programs, you can pick and choose when you earn miles.

To earn miles and elite credits, simply add your chosen frequent flyer account number to your booking.

Our pick for an airline credit card

United℠ Explorer Card

  • $0 first-year intro annual fee, then $95.
  • Signup bonus: 60,000 miles after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • 2x miles on United purchases, hotel stays and restaurant purchases.
  • Credit every four years for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
  • 25% back as statement credit on United inflight purchases. Plus, priority boarding and your first checked bag free on United-operated flights.
  • 2 United Club one-time passes each card anniversary.
Read less
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See Rates & Fees

Compare airline credit cards

Taking flights isn’t the only way to earn miles. Airline credit cards are also great options, offering rewards for everyday spending. Some cards may offer elite credits when you reach certain spending requirements.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
United℠ Explorer Card
60,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
United Club℠ Infinite Card
100,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
4x miles on United purchases, 2x miles on travel and dining and 1x miles on all other purchases
Get United Club membership with access for you and two guests at any United Club or Star Alliance lounge -- a value of up to $650 annually.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
This popular travel card's signup bonus is worth up to $1,000. Get even more value out of your travel, dining, and Lyft rewards by transferring them to miles.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
4% at gas stations on up to $7,000 annually (then 1%), 3% at restaurants and on travel, 2% at Costco and 1% on all other purchases
Earn valuable cash back on everyday purchases at gas stations, restaurants and Costco as well as eligible travel with no foreign fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Update your booking online

With most airlines and third-party travel websites, you can view your upcoming travel plans and make basic changes online. This includes adding your frequent flyer number to your itinerary. The process varies between services but generally involves:

  1. Going to the booking website. In your flight confirmation email, you’ll find a link where you can update your booking.
  2. Entering your booking details. Usually, you’ll be asked for your name and booking confirmation number.
  3. Updating your passenger details. Your frequent flyer information is usually located in the passenger details section. If it’s not, go through each section until you find it.
  4. Add your frequent flyer details. Provide your frequent flyer membership number, then save the updated details.

Check your booking details through your frequent flyer account

If you’re flying with the frequent flyer program’s main airline, you can check and update your flight details through your membership account.

Example: Updating your frequent flyer details for an American Airlines flight

Here’s how you could add or change your frequent flyer details if you booked a flight on American Airlines:

1. Pull up your flight confirmation email and find your six-character record locator, an alphanumeric code that helps you find your reservation.

2. Enter your first and last name, as well as your record locator.

Picture not described: American-Airlines-Find-Your-Trip.png Image: Getty

3. Select the reservation you want to amend and click Continue. On the next page, you can add your frequent flyer number.

Contact your airline or booking agent

Another option is to call or email the airline or booking agent you went through. Give them your flight details and ask if they can add your frequent flyer number to your booking.

Depending on the company you’ve booked with, you may also be able to use online chat or social media to request this change. For example, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines lets you check flight documentation through Facebook Messenger, while American Airlines has been known to update flight details and itineraries via Twitter. If you choose this option, provide your details only through a direct message rather than a public post.

Add or change your frequent flyer number at check-in

Whether you’re checking in online or at the airport, there’s usually an opportunity to update your basic details. This is usually included under the Passenger section for online and self-service check-in options.

If you can’t find this option, head to a staffed check-in desk at the airport and ask a team member to add your frequent flyer details to your booking.

At a customer service desk

If you check in and later notice your frequent flyer details aren’t on your booking, you may be able to update them at a customer service desk. This largely depends on the airport and airline you’re flying with, so it’s worth looking at the airport map or visiting the airline website to check your options.

If you have access to the airline’s lounge, you could ask the staff there to update your details. Another option is to line up at the check-in counter again and ask if you can add these details — although it’s probably better to avoid this option if it’s really busy.

Ask at the boarding gate

This is your last chance to add your frequent flyer number before you fly. Get to your gate before boarding starts, then ask the staff at the gate to update your details. In this instance, being pleasant and polite could go a long way toward getting you what you want.

Add your frequent flyer number after the flight

If you forgot to include your frequent flyer number before your flight, you may be able to submit a claim to have miles and status credits added to your account afterward. Typically, you can do this only if you didn’t include another frequent flyer number for the flight.

Bottom line

Add your frequent flyer number to bookings so you can earn miles and elite credits. If you add the number before your flight, check your boarding pass to confirm your details have been included. Otherwise, hold on to your boarding pass and submit a claim for miles after your trip.

Besides taking flights, another good way to earn miles is through airline credit cards.

Pictures: Getty Images

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