Recently I started traveling across US quite frequently – once a month or so, and by that time I haven't registered for Frequent Flyer program in any of the airlines. I flown by American Airlines, Virgin, United and JetBlue, and at some point I decided to create my FF account in all of these.

I was quite surprised when I realized that I cannot claim my miles for all these flights that I had before.

Well, if that was a traditional 'welcome' by a brutal western capitalism, please let me know. Otherwise I would like to find a way to claim these miles. I paid for those tickets, and even though I wasn't a registered frequent traveler yet, I truly believe I have rights for those miles.

  • 3
    It really depends on what the T&C's say.. but if you didn't register, and the T&C's don't give the ability to back claim, there's not a lot you can do other than register in advance for new airlines next time.
    – Tim Malone
    Jul 19, 2016 at 5:23
  • Same applies for a lot of FF programs. Qantas - you can only claim from when you joined, Emirates gives you a month's grace before you joined.
    – Mark Mayo
    Jul 19, 2016 at 7:15
  • Qantas does give you some leeway - I think about a month. I remember claiming flights from just before I joined. Jul 19, 2016 at 12:46

2 Answers 2


Airlines have a certain time limit till which you can claim missing miles. I am a Qatar Airways frequent traveler and they have the following conditions

Time limit when becoming a new member = 30 days prior to the start of membership

Time limit for claiming miles for existing members = 6 months after the flight date

for your case please refer to the following links American Airlines : https://www.aa.com/AAdvantage/requestMileageCreditAccess.do

Virgin Atlantic : https://www.virgin-atlantic.com/en/us/frequentflyer/youraccount/managefcaccount/missingmiles.jsp

United Airlines : https://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps/mileageplus/mileagecredit/ePlusSubscriptionsCredit.aspx

OR you may have to log in to your mileageplus account and navigate to the earn mileageplus miles and go to request/claim missing credit/miles

JetBlue : https://trueblue.jetblue.com/group/trueblue/manage-my-points

I hope this helps

  • Thanks! American Airlines and United seem to be the biggest troublemakers for me so far – they refused to accept my ticket info. It went well with JetBlue though.
    – wintermute
    Jul 19, 2016 at 5:47
  • 1
    And it seems like there is no automated process in Virgin America web-site to claim miles. You have to log a support ticket (sic!)
    – wintermute
    Jul 19, 2016 at 5:48
  • 1
    i would suggest to write an email to AA and United and attach your e-ticket. They will surely help you out. I used to do this on Oman Air and Etihad.
    – Newton
    Jul 19, 2016 at 5:53

If you have a significant number of flights in a small period, besides investigating the credit prior to enrollment policy of the airline that you flew, it may be worthwhile investigating partner airlines that you might be able to credit the flights to.

For example, these are all the airline mileage programmes that you could credit an American Airlines flight to on wheretocredit.com

AB  Air Berlin
AS  Alaska Airlines
BA  British Airways
CX  Cathay Pacific Airways  
EY  Etihad Airways  
AY  Finnair
IB  Iberia  
JL  Japan Airlines
9W  Jet Airways 
KE  Korean Air  
LA  LAN Airlines
MH  Malaysia Airlines
QF  Qantas Airways
QR  Qatar Airways
S7  S7 Airlines 
UL  SriLankan Airlines

Mostly, there are greater restrictions on credit prior to enrollment when the flight was on a partner airline. For example, see this old thread on flyertalk regarding Star Alliance crediting.

Incidentally, it seems your Virgin flights are on Virgin America rather than Virgin Atlantic and Ts&Cs are provided here.

Eligible travel must occur no earlier than 30 days prior to your Elevate Program enrollment date as displayed in your Elevate Program account

Potential partner airlines are here.

EK  Emirates    
HA  Hawaiian Airlines   
SQ  Singapore Airlines  
VS  Virgin Atlantic 
VA  Virgin Australia

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