I received an email this week from a reader named Lindsay. She wrote:
When applying for my southwest credit card in my name, I put my husband’s rapid rewards number down, as his was the account we were trying to get to the companion pass. The points posted today to his account.
First and foremost, we need to establish that this is definitely one of those ‘your miles may vary’ situations. I’d hate for someone to try this and it not work out. Also, this may be common knowledge to all of you. I’m just hoping that someone doesn’t share a link and we find out this is common knowledge. Either way, I’d rather share it in case you’ve wondered.
However, if this does work, as Lindsay says it does, I can see several advantages.
Situations Where it Makes Sense to Get a Card with Someone Else’s Account Number
1. If you’re trying to get the Southwest Companion pass.
I know that a lot of you would like to get the companion pass, but don’t like the idea of getting a business card. Instead, a husband and wife could team up and both get a card when it’s offering a 50,000 point bonus. Both applications would use the same Soutwest number and the account holder would end up with 100,000 Southwest points, which is only 10,000 shy of a Companion Pass.
2. By combining miles, you can have a free flight instead of two half flights.
Let’s say John and Sally are trying to plan a trip to Europe. For some reason that I can’t explain, let’s imagine that they want to use Delta miles. With the Delta card, they can earn 30,000 miles. Unfortuantely, a flight requires 60,000 miles, so 30,000 in two accounts is going to be pretty useless. However, if they both put the sign up bonuses into one account, they’d have 60,000 miles and a free trip to Europe (plus taxes and fees). When it comes to flights, two halves do not make a whole.
3. Taking advantage of status.
Can we use John and Sally for another example? In this case, Sally travels a lot and has 1K Status with United. Her benefits extend to anyone who travels using points from her account, and they also avoid booking and cancellation fees. Thus, if John were to sign up for a United card, he might rather have those points post to Sally’s account instead of his own since the points are more valuable in her account.
This Only Makes Sense for Certain Mileage Programs
There are some programs where this does not matter because you can transfer points and miles anyways. This includes programs like American Express Rewards or Ultimate Rewards where you can deposit the points into any mileage account you wish. It also doesn’t matter for reward programs like British Airways which has a family account option or Starwood that allows you to transfer points to a spouse.
Remember, your miles may vary, but this might be worth a try if you find yourself in one of the situations mentioned above.