Any of you looking to ensure you get mileage credit for your last flight should hold on to your boarding pass stubs for at least 4 weeks after flying. Often airlines neglect to post the appropriate miles to your account and require either the physical copy, scan, or digital photo (my preferred method) of your boarding pass to correct the oversight.
Always Track Your Miles; Airlines Can Be Forgetful So You Shouldn’t Be
Using a service like Awardwallet to track your reward accounts you should always verify that miles or other bonus points are accurately posted to your account. Off the top of my head I probably take more than 40 flights a year and in about 20% of those cases find that my miles don’t appear on my frequent flyer accounts. Most airlines state that you should wait up to 14 business days before contacting them about missing miles; and processing those requests can take another 14 business days. (Hence holding on to those boarding pass stubs for at least 1 month after a given flight.)
Avoid Missing Miles By Giving Your Frequent Flyer Account Number At Check-In…
…before the airline employee prints out your boarding pass. Depending on the person behind the counter, the country your in, and the line behind you, once that boarding pass has been printed it can be very difficult to get a re-print with your frequent flyer account credited. Being forgetful can be a valuable travel asset but not when it comes to accruing frequent flyer miles.
To avoid this common problem and the hassle of trying to claim miles after-the-fact, as soon as you walk up to any check-in counter let the clerk know you’ve got a frequent flyer account number you’ll be giving them. Typically they’ll then take the number as they process your luggage, seats, and boarding passes.
Upon receiving your printed boarding pass, confirm that your frequent flyer number is actually on your ticket. If it’s not and you notified the employee prior to getting checked-in, don’t leave the counter without getting another boarding pass. Having a boarding pass with your mileage account number on it means there’s a good chance you’ll be credited your miles and won’t have to jump through hoops later on. (Of course if doing self-check-in don’t forget to add your mileage account; and in either case, always check your frequent flyer mile account number was printed on your ticket.)
At The Very Least Have A Clear Digital Photo Of Your Boarding Passes
Most airlines and airline alliances specify in order to claim miles, you need send them a scan via email but a digital photo of a boarding pass works just the same. (Set your camera to ‘document’ mode if it’s got one.) Usually you’ll need your online ticket confirmation as well so don’t delete those emails ever, just to be safe. Typically, a simple forward of that email along with a picture of your boarding pass is all you need to claim missing miles – but always follow the procedures specified by the airline. Also, don’t neglect to verify mileage claims are posted either – even if you get a confirmation email. (Check your account!)
Finally, aside from claiming miles that might be missing you should ensure you’re accumulating your frequent flyer rewards in one place to get more free stuff and boost your account even further with these 7 steps.
Ooh the digital photo thing is a great tip. I always forget to hang on to my boarding pass and airlines do seem to “forget” to credit you with miles. You’d think if they made it a bit more seemless that people would actually be more loyal….
It is ironic how it’s often a maze to get those miles credited! Happy technology is on our side with this one too… 😉 Now staying on top of the airlines, that’s another story!
When booking flights most airlines allow you to book your miles now so that is what I try to do. I still give my number again when checking in, just to make sure.
I once forgot to give my number on a partner flight in Star Alliance, and United Airlines wouldn’t credit the miles. I mailed a copy of the stubs, first. Not good enough. I mailed the actual stubs. They said they have no record of the flight. I even had the partner airline write a letter, stating that I was on that flight, and United still denied it existed. After half a dozen phone calls and talking to various managers I just gave up. That is just one of my many terrible experiences with United, although they have been getting better in recent years.
Moral of the story. Triple check to make sure your mileage number is registered for every flight. It is not worth the hassles later on.
I do the same when it comes to online ticket purchases, though I’ve noticed it’s more reliable when it’s directly through an airline site as opposed to an aggregator.
I’ve too often had to struggle with the airlines when miles weren’t credited but United hasn’t been too bad. Although I don’t like them making claiming miles now more difficult online; it used to be a much simpler process.
As you say though, the best thing to do is try to get the miles at check-in and stay on top of them until they’re posted. The headaches later almost make you want to give up on the bonus points!
I do all of these. I tend to be a pack rat so I do tend to hang on to my boarding pass for a few months! 🙂 I like the idea of taking a photo of it though so maybe I don’t have to keep my passes for so long now!
Always better safe than sorry so good to hold on to those boarding passes 🙂
Most airlines will accept scans and digital photos are so good now, they work as well – and much easier to take 😉
The digital photo is a great idea, didn’t think of that! my backpack is full of old boarding passes like a pack rat!
I do use a point tracker now, its awesome and free, you can see all the points you have for all of your programs in one place, i did it and didnt realize i had so many points. woohoo!
Technology just keeps making things easier for the traveler doesn’t it? I don’t know how I kept track of all these point programs without the digital help…
I use Evernote to store my old boarding passes. Simply take a pic with my iPhone and then I always have it. Good just in case you don’t get your miles, but also just to go back and reflect on old trips.
Great app and good method of keeping track of your boarding pass photos. I never thought of them as souvenirs but like the idea, I won’t quite look at them the same way again 🙂