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How do I check my mileage balance?

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Photo: PhotoDisc
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on February 1, 2005. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Erica Silverstein, frequent flyer, mileage earning.

Every traveler is different when it comes to keeping track of frequent flyer miles. Some people get monthly e-mail updates from their airline, while others subscribe to a service that keeps track of miles from multiple airlines in one place. If you've been wondering how many miles you've accrued in your frequent flyer accounts, here is the lowdown on all your options for tracking your miles.

Ask your airline

Your airline is keeping track of how many miles you have and when those miles will expire, even if you aren't. The simplest way to check your mileage balance is to call up your airline's frequent flyer customer service number and ask. You will need to provide your account number. If you've lost that number, the airline can usually look it up for you based on personal information, usually your name and address. You should keep this number in a handy place, so you'll be able to look it up quickly the next time you need to check your account balance or earn miles for a flight.

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Alternately, you can look up your mileage balance yourself on the airline's website. You'll need your account number and a password or PIN number. If you haven't created a password, you can do so online by providing your account number and other personal information. Again, your account number is essential, so if you've forgotten it, you'll have to call the airline and ask them to provide it for you.

The following list provides the major U.S. carrier's frequent flyer department phone numbers; click on each airline's name to be redirected to its account log-on page. If your airline is not listed here, you can find all of this information on your airline's website.

Air Canada: 800-361-5373

Alaska Airlines: 800-654-5669

America West: 800-247-5691

American: 800-882-8880

Continental: 713-952-1630

Delta: 800-323-2323

Frontier: 866-263-2759

Midwest: 800-314-7125, 414-570-7000

Northwest: 800-447-3757

Southwest: 800-445-5764

United: 800-421-4655

US Airways: 336-661-8390

Sign up for e-mail updates

Almost every airline offers e-mail newsletters that update you on your current mileage balance, as well as inform you about the airline's latest frequent flyer news and offers. You can sign up to receive these e-mails on your airline's website, and you won't have to hunt down your mileage balance because it will come to you each month. Plus, several airlines such as Alaska, Northwest, and US Airways offer 500 to 1,000 bonus miles for signing up for these e-mail updates.

Use a mileage tracker

If you have several mileage accounts and find it difficult or time-consuming to look each one up individually, you could subscribe to a mileage tracker, such as MileTracker, Mileage Manager, and Yodlee. These sites will keep track of all of your accounts in one place. However, with most of these sites, you have to pay to use the service.

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