This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CardRatings.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. What is written in the article is the editor's opinion.
I recently booked American Airlines award flights from Dallas to Albuquerque with British Airways Avios points. I booked it pretty fast and let my British Airways loyalty number auto-populate in the spot for “Membership Number.”
It’s a “blink and you’ll miss it” type thing and easy to overlook.
But, if you have elite status on American Airlines, or certain AAdvantage credit cards with Barclaycard or Citi, you’ll want to change it.
In This Post
Why to add your American Airlines number
If you have any type of elite status with American, you’ll get Priority boarding. And if you have certain AAdvantage cards with Barclaycard or Citi, you’ll get Group 1 boarding.
This is essentially meaningless as it’s all a cattle call anyway. But, it does provide one ancillary benefit: overhead bin space. If you board near the end, you’ll be hunting for a place to put your bag. I never check a bag, so I try to board as early as possible.
Adding your American number will get you this – even on an award ticket.
Free checked bag
As mentioned, I don’t check bags unless absolutely necessary. I might actually check a bag for my upcoming trip to Hawaii. Reason being: sunscreen.
I can get it cheap here in the mainland, but they really price gouge certain items in Hawaii. Sunscreen is pretty much a necessity – and believe me, they know it ($$$$).
If you have a co-branded credit card that gives you a free checked bag domestically, be sure to add your American number at least 7 days before your flight to make sure it all links up correctly. Otherwise, you may get stuck paying.
If you have status, it doesn’t matter when you add your number – so long as you do it before you fly.
Flight tracking and boarding pass
I use the American app to alert me to flight delays. I don’t know what’s going on lately, but my past, say, 10 flights have ALL been delayed.
No reason going to the airport to hurry up and wait. You can track flight status through your British Airways number, but it’s a roundabout process. It’s much easier to add your American number and track it on the app.
Look at that delay! ^^^
I also like having access to my boarding pass. This lets me walk directly to security when I get to the airport. So so easy.
If you have status, you can also select “Main Cabin Extra” seats at no additional cost. The seat isn’t really all that different, other than it’s nearer to the exit. Quick escape once you land!
I always always pick these seats. It’s nothing life-changing, but better than being stuck in the back of the plane if you don’t have to be.
You might accidentally earn miles!
Short story for ya!
So yesterday, my original flight was at 6:18pm. I got to the airport super early, planning to sit and get some work done for a few hours.
On the departures board, I noticed 2 earlier flights were going out non-stop to DFW from the same gate as mine (B1).
So I went down to see if I could get bumped. Tickets were selling for $778!
I explained to the gate agent that I was traveling with a carry-on and that Dallas was my final destination – no connections. And that, if it would help operations, I was ready to hop on an earlier flight.
She pulled it up and said, “Your flight is oversold. So I’ll bump you to the next one – there are still open seats.”
Then she handed me a new boarding pass. I noticed I was now in the “Y” fare class, which is often the fare class they rebook you into at the gate.
I had a stray thought. “Hmm. Maybe I’ll earn miles for it.”
This morning, I noticed my AA balance had gone up a little. I ended up earning 911 miles for the flight. I value that around $18. Nothing crazy, but I’ll take it! I also earned some more EQMs in the process.
Now, I’m not saying to expect this. But it does happen from time to time. And it wouldn’t have happened at all had I not simply switched the number.
How to add your American number
You can manage your bookings with these airlines on the site:
- British Airways
- Royal Jordanian (duh)
- Cathay Pacific
And with it, you can:
- Change frequent flyer number
- Obtain other airline’s record locator
- Verify fare buckets
- Easily check flight duration and aircraft type
- Email yourself a receipt
- Get a ticket number
These are all helpful functions with, obviously, a variety of uses. There are many reasons why you’d want to check or alter your reservations. I tend to prefer the Royal Jordanian website for no reason other than old habits die hard. But you can do all of this via Finnair, too.
Open your reservation with your British Airways booking reference.
On the Royal Jordanian site, scroll down to “Traveller details”:
Add your AA number, press Save and you’re done. Then, you can use your AA reference number to change your seat, track your flight, get a boarding pass, and all that good stuff on the AA website or app.
On the Finnair site, click “Update details” and you can easily save your AA number to your reservation.
If you book award flights on American Airlines with British Airways Avios points (like these 5th freedom flights, expensive hopper flights, or connecting flights) – and you have any type of status or co-branded AA card – there are a lot of reasons you should go ahead and add your American number to the reservation.
It’s not hard, and you’ll end up saving time in the long run. You might even, on occasion, earn some unexpected miles (but don’t count on it).
It’s most useful for getting your boarding privileges, free checked bags, and premium seat selection. If you’re entitled to it anyway, don’t miss out by skipping this step.
All these little things add up and can help improve your overall experience when you get ready to fly your award flight.
BEST Current Credit Card Deals
- Chase Ink Business Preferred - Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points and 3X bonus points for travel, internet, cable, and phone service
- Chase Sapphire Preferred - Earn 50,000 Chase points with the BEST card for beginners
- Chase Ink Business Cash - Earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points and 5X bonus points for office supplies, internet, cable, and phone service with NO annual fee
See if you're targeted to save 20% at Amazon by using 1 Amex point!