There are many things you can do to earn points and miles. When you fly on a plane, stay at a hotel or rent a car, it’s up to you to make sure you get credit for all of these activities. Following these tips below will help make sure that you get all the miles and points you deserve:
SIGN UP FOR THE PROGRAMS
Here are links to articles where I showed how to sign up for Hotel Programs, Rental Car Programs and Airline Programs. It’s essential to do this before your trip, as while some programs will let you retroactively put in a claim for your points, there’s no guarantee.
BOOK AN ELIGIBLE RATE
Most regular rates for hotels, airfare and car rentals will be eligible to earn points or miles. However, some deeply discounted prices are not eligible. If you find a really good price, it may be worth forgoing the points for the savings but it’s better to know that going in instead of finding out after the trip that you aren’t getting any points.
To earn points or miles, you also need to make your reservation using an eligible method. In most cases, you’ll earn points when booking airfare and rental cars directly from the company or by using online travel agencies. However, hotels will not honor benefits for loyalty status or give points for stays that are not booked directly. This is because hotels still pay a commission to travel agencies for hotel room bookings while most airlines and rental car companies no longer pay travel agents any fees for referrals. To pay out the points, hotels want to save on commissions and make you book directly with them.
CHECK YOUR RESERVATIONS
Even if you know you put your loyalty number down when you made your reservation, it pays to double-check. For flights, your frequent flyer number should show up on your boarding pass. You can check with the agent when renting a car to make sure your number is on file. The same goes when checking in for a hotel. Nowadays, hotels want their desk agents to proactively mention your loyalty when checking in by thanking you for being a Gold/Diamond/Platinum level member. If they don’t mention it, make sure to ask if they have your number on file.
KEEP ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS
You know all those boarding passes, printouts and receipt slips you get on the trip that gets shoved into your pocket? You need to save those. All of them. If your points don’t post, you may be asked to provide information from those papers or send in copies of them with your request for the missing points.
Example: When I didn’t get credit for a stay at a Comfort Inn, the online form asked for the reservation number, folio number and hotel code (it’s like their internal code to designate that particular hotel). Somehow I was expected to just know that. Luckily I still had the receipt from the hotel and the information was on that. If you’re a digital person, you can take a screenshot of your boarding pass as proof of taking a flight. Digital receipts may disappear from your app once the flight or hotel stay is over, so don’t count on those for your records.
CHECK TO SEE THAT YOU GET YOUR POINTS
When you get home, check your account to see if your points posted. I use Awardwallet to keep track of my points. I get a weekly summary from Awardwallet emailed to me so I can see all the changes to my points balances. Credit for hotels and flights will usually show up in a few days. If you are crediting your points to a partner, like getting airline miles for a car rental, those can take several days to several weeks to show up. Be patient, but keep checking.
FOLLOW UP IF NECESSARY
There will eventually be a time that your miles don’t post.
Example: I used to credit my flights on JetBlue to Hawaiian Airlines. The two airlines are partners and I’ve had a Hawaiian airlines account for years. I credited my flights on JetBlue to them to keep my HawaiianMiles account active. I also liked that the miles I earned were based on the distance flown instead of the price of the ticket. Even though I always entered my HawaiianMiles number on the JetBlue website, I never automatically received credit for the miles. I had to send a request to their help desk with all my flight information and a copy of my boarding pass to ask for them to credit my missing miles. Note: I don’t do this anymore since getting the JetBlue Plus Credit card.
The airlines, hotels and rental car companies will not track you down to give you the points you earned. It’s up to you to put in all the information correctly, book an eligible rate, keep your paperwork and make sure you get credit for what you deserve. If you don’t get it, you need to follow through and be persistent. They’re your points, so make sure you get them.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary