Question: Can I Earn Airline Miles From Other People If I Pay?
Our question of the week: can I earn airline miles from other people if I pay? The question looks at policies for earning frequent flyer miles and loyalty programs’ rules. Let’s see what they have to say about earning airline miles from other people flying on a ticket you paid for.
Our question of the week comes from Tyler in our Facebook group:
When trying to earn status with an airline (United) can I use my Mileage Plus # to buy my minor daughter’s companion ticket and have it applied to my PQP and PQF?
Even though Tyler’s question specifically mentions United, it could easily apply to other airline programs. If I’m paying for the ticket, can I earn airline miles from other people in my family?
What The Airlines Say
Unfortunately, you can’t earn any miles or status points this way. This question is actually in the FAQ on United’s website:
Will I earn award miles if someone else pays for my ticket?
Yes, the member who travels will earn the miles, not the member who purchases the ticket.
American Airlines has nearly the same question in its FAQ, with the same answer. Delta says the same: “Miles are always earned by the Member who is flying (whose name and SkyMiles number are listed on the ticket) regardless of who purchased the flight.”
It’s also important to note that airlines also have a policy that the name on the ticket and the name on the frequent flyer account must match. You can’t put your number on someone else’s ticket hoping to earn miles that way. Either the person flying earns the miles or no one earns the miles; you can’t earn the miles if you aren’t the one flying.
While it can seem frustrating if you’re just trying to earn miles from a ticket you paid for (seems innocent enough), there’s a good reason for this. It prevents any kind of abusive behavior where you force people to give you their miles, for example.
If you’re looking to combine your miles with friends or family, your best bet is our list of programs that allow you to combine points and miles in a group. You will still each need your own loyalty number to include when flying, as that part won’t change.