Skip to main content

Can I use my frequent flyer number for someone else?

minute read

    You’re booking a flight for a loved one, and you think to yourself, “Can I use my frequent flyer number for someone else?” Let’s learn more about whether it’s possible to earn miles from someone else’s flight, and how to potentially share miles if you’re feeling generous.

    How to get a frequent flyer number

    To get a frequent flyer number, you must be part of an airline’s loyalty (a.k.a. frequent flyer) program. When you sign up for a frequent flyer program, you’ll be assigned a membership number to enter each time you book with that airline. This is your frequent flyer number, and any miles you earn within that program will be tied to this number. Note that miles earned through the program aren’t necessarily indicative of how many actual miles you’ve flown but are simply the name of the currency for most airline loyalty programs. Some programs determine miles earned based on the dollar value of your trip while others may indeed have some correlation to the miles flown. Additionally, it’s helpful to know that earning and redemption rates tend to differ, so miles earned at one mile per dollar spent may not translate to a one-dollar redemption value. There are a number of benefits you may get from having a frequent flyer number. Some of the most common include:

    Can I let others use my frequent flyer number?

    If you’re looking to earn miles from someone else’s flight, you may be wondering, “Can I let others use my frequent flyer number?” Yes, but you won’t earn any points or miles from it. Most frequent flyer programs require the name on the frequent flyer membership and the name on the ticket to match in order to earn miles.

    This is true even for children and people with recent name changes. If your name has changed, make sure you update it on your frequent flyer account to continue earning miles. If you have children, you’ll likely need to create a separate frequent flyer account for each child if you want them to earn miles for those flights.

    There are some frequent flyer programs that let you pool miles in a household account, but that feature isn’t common with domestic airlines in the U.S.

    Can frequent flyer miles be transferred to another person?

    If you aren’t part of a frequent flyer program that lets you pool your earned miles with friends or family members who also have accounts, you may still be able to transfer miles. How can frequent flyer miles be transferred?

    If you and a friend or family want to transfer frequent flyer miles, note that it must be within the same loyalty program. You can’t transfer miles between different airlines.

    Most frequent flyer programs charge a fee for transferring miles. Some have a flat transfer fee, some charge a fee per each mile you transfer and other frequent flyer programs do both. One program may charge $35 to transfer miles, for example, or may charge 1.5 cents per mile transferred and one may do a combination.

    Additionally, there are often maximum limits on the number of miles you can transfer to another person. The limit varies by airline, but it may be anywhere from 100,000 miles to 200,000 miles. You may want to note that miles as a rewards currency for redemption are not equivalent to miles by measure. In other words, if your flight is traveling 3,200 physical miles, that doesn’t mean the flight ticket costs 3,200 frequent flyer miles as well. Each airline has a different model for how they determine what a flight is worth in frequent flyer miles.

    In summary

    If you were wondering, “Can I use my frequent flyer number for someone else?”, it helps to know that you can’t earn rewards by simply letting someone else use your frequent flyer number. The name on the ticket and the name of the frequent flyer member must match. However, if you want to share your miles, most airlines do allow you to transfer miles to other accounts — at times, with a fee.