Should you add a different frequent flyer number to your reward flights?

There was an interesting post on US blog The Points Guy last weekend about whether – when flying on a reward ticket – you should put in the frequent flyer number of a different airline.

The rationale for this is that airline industry IT is often not the best.  Whilst it is very rare to be awarded back miles for a reward flight on the airline you used to book your ticket, they will occasionally credit to other airlines.  This is especially likely to happen if your travel is disrupted and your ticket is reissued.

Concorde ticket

Would I recommend this?

To be honest, if you have BA status, I would NOT recommend it.  You should keep your BA number in the booking.  This will ensure that you get priority treatment if your travel is disrupted and passengers need to be rebooked.

(If you had swapped your BA Gold number for an American Airlines ‘no status’ number, BA would put you at the back of the queue for rebooking.)

Of course, if you are redeeming Avios, have NO BA status but DO have status with another oneworld airline, then it makes sense to put that number in the booking for the same reason.

Does this strategy ever work?

Yes, it does.  There was a time now gone, and I can’t remember the exact details, when some BA redemptions would credit to American Airlines (or was it the other way round?).

In the good old days of BMI, you could also credit Star Alliance reward flights to Diamond Club, although I never did.  They would not post automatically, but if you sent in the boarding pass then they would be credited.

I did once get BMI miles on a Thai Airways business class ticket I won in a competition.  It was booked into a reward ticket class, but there was a problem with the ticket at Heathrow and the ticket agent reissued it.  The reissued version qualified for miles and was solely responsible for my wife and I retaining BMI Silver status that year!

All in all, though, I wouldn’t see this as a serious opportunity to earn yourself additional miles.

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  1. Charlie says:

    I did something similar with Airmiles, the pre-avios scheme. I booked 4 BA long haul flights with them using a buy 1 get 1 half price voucher or something. Then went to the BA site to choose seats, I added my BA Executive Club to the booking and got the miles as normal after I flew!

  2. Mikeact says:

    Fraudulent ?

    • erico1875 says:

      I dont see how its fraudulent.
      Exploiting a loophole, yes.

      • squills says:

        AFAIC this is not even borderline fraudulent or remotely dodgy. Remember the scenario here is reward flights & back points. The airline is responsible for the integrity of its own systems and the onus should not be on passengers to patrol those systems on the airline’s behalf.

        So whilst, for example, if silly girl on the till gives me £5 too much change, I’d always declare the mistake to her (1: knowingly taking it would be close to theft & 2: she’d get into trouble for her till being down), taking £10 worth of ‘mistaken’ back points just feels like a stroke of good luck & helps the airline improve its systems over time as they realise the imperfections 😉

  3. Hingeless says:

    A few years ago I booked a qantas reward flight usin in J and got the miles and status points.

    No idea if this a regular mistake

  4. thesaver79 says:

    I am BA Bronze and CX Gold. If I sue my CX FF number. I have an award flight booked with a companion voucher in April and I’m already worried about overbooking in First.

    If I wanted to give myself priority over other passengers in case of overbooking, would it better to use my CX Gold number? Or woul passengers with BA status, even if from a lower tier, be likely to get a preferential treatment over other passengers with oneworld status?

    • If will be in exactly the same position once my CX Gold comes through and fully intend to leave my CX Gold status on my next reward booking.

      Oneworld sapphire should always trump ruby regardless of the issuing arline.

      • James67 says:

        For overbooking, priority is more complex than just a matter of status. The booking class will be important as will the numbers of pax travelling together and the ease of reaccommodating them elsewhe. In my student days I used to love volunteering to be reaccommodate on nort American airlines. It happened frequently and hundreds of dollars and an upgrade were usually both obtainable.

  5. franknotes says:

    I flew a couple of weeks ago on an Avios flight booked via from Miami to Key West (AA). Flight was cancelled, was put on the next one a couple of hours later and ending up getting Avios and TPs. Sweet! I definitely will try this on my upcoming Reward Saver flight to Amsterdam (CX Gold).

  6. Doesn’t work (for me at least) on BA redemptions with CX Gold. What used to work was BA redemptions, return, with mixed classes (F out, J return etc). Changing the return flight used online used to 1) upgrade/downgrade the return flight to the class of the outbound flight 2) give TPs and miles on the return segment. This was around 5-7 years ago and has since been fixed.

  7. squills says:

    OT Raffles I think you could usefully run a snippet on – would be great info for ‘couples’ who are frequent travellers on Heathrow Express etc.

  8. onlysuites says:

    A friend of mine got *A miles on a Lifemiles redemption recently.

  9. Jpi74 says:

    Booked a redemption flight in F to Sydney last year and made a few changes to it over time from the first booking (I was using a GGL Joker) and ended up getting 720 TPs and over 30,000 Avios for the flight in the end. I would agree that the BA IT systems don’t seem too sophisticated.

  10. I found it worked easier prior to Avios. I booked several Air Miles flights and put my BAEC number on and got a tier points/miles.

    I also booked a Virgin Atlantic flight to the US once with Air Miles, added my Continental Airlines number and got miles. Its a lottery but sometimes works. Likewise I would say its down to airlines inadequate IT systems and in these days of mileage devaluations we should take what we can get!

  11. Is it poss to change the FF no once it is in the booking then? been trying to exploit this by changing my BA no. To Iberia .
    But can’t see how to do it , tho it will let me change passport details.
    Thanks for help

  12. louie-m says:

    I’ve got a couple of reward flights coming up with the fare classes listed as X and G. BA’s MMB shows that I am due to earn no Avios, but do I stand any chance of earning Avios on the G fares if I put my AAdvantage number (or Qantas one) on the booking do you think?

    • Does no harm unless you have BA status

      • louie-m says:

        True. I shall report back later…… My only status is with US Airways (silver) which I seem to have acquired without ever having flown them, much to my surprise!

  13. bigglesgirl says:

    Does it work with *A? I have United miles redemption flights with Thai coming up soon in F (LHR-BKK and return) – would it be worth putting my Aegean Airlines number on the booking for example to see if would get the miles and TP?

    Similarly, I’ve also got Avios redemption flights booked on, flying with CX to KUL, via HKG – again, would it be worth putting either my CX Gold or Qatar Silver card on those bookings?