How to Request Airline Miles Even Long After Your Trip

Forgot to put in your loyalty number when book a flight? No problem.

Illustration of three passengers in an airplane heading to board a plane

Getty Images

So, you’ve planned, booked, and actually gone on a vacation. Good for you. You deserve it. But you arrive home only to realize you forgot to pop in your airline loyalty code, potentially missing out on valuable airline points, which can snag you upgrades, discounts, and even free flights along the way. But hang on. You can, in fact, still nab those points, even long after you’ve returned home. 

"In all of the excitement — and sometimes stress — of booking a trip, it can be easy to overlook the details," Scott Keyes, founder of Going, shared with Travel + Leisure. "Luckily, most airlines recognize that if you’re going to stick around as a loyal customer, it’s in their best interest to let you claim those miles retroactively."

As Keyes explained, there are two simple ways to remember to get those hard-earned points: Use a password manager and save your loyalty program login information for each airline’s website, making it easy to log in with your loyalty number attached, or create a spreadsheet of all loyalty account numbers so you have an easy-to-find place to snag them from. 

But if you forgot, it’s OK. Most airlines, Keyes said, allow travelers to request miles three to 14 days after booking and within 12 months of travel. 

For example, Keyes said, Alaska Airlines, which uses the Mileage Plan, allows fliers to request points seven days after a domestic flight and at least 14 days after an international or partner flight, with up to 12 months to request points. 

To request, Keyes said, "You’ll need your Mileage Plan number and 13-digit ticket number, which you can find in your confirmation email or in the description field of your credit card statement if you paid that way. If you don’t have your Mileage Plan number, a customer service representative can help you add your miles using the confirmation code on your purchase receipt."

Meanwhile, American Airlines, which uses AAdvantage, allows travelers to request three days after a flight. Like Alaska, "you’ll need your AAdvantage number and 13-digit ticket number." Keyes added, "If you don’t have an AAdvantage number, you should sign up for the program first and then use your new number to request your miles."

Then, there’s Delta, with its SkyMiles program. While travelers can request points seven days after travel, they only have nine months after their flight to get them. You don’t need to be a member at the time of travel, so if you do sign up post-trip, make sure to request your points. Others, like JetBlue, United, and Southwest, offer similar timelines and ways to request. All you need to do is look for the individual airline’s customer service website. 

"Getting airline miles for a flight you already took is about as close to a free lunch as you’ll ever find," Keyes said. "It’s free to sign up for airline loyalty programs, and the miles you earn can be redeemed for upgrades or even free flights."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles