You work hard to maintain your airline credit cards account, so you want it to work for you. When it comes to utilizing the benefits, you want to be able to do that at every possible opportunity so you can make the most of it.

Sometimes there are reasons why an individual may not be able to use their airline card to purchase their airfare. This can be rather heartbreaking if there are certain boarding privileges that a person could take advantage of if they were able to use their airline credit cards.

Some of the reasons why a person may not be able to use their airline credit card are: there is not enough available credit on the card due to it being maxed out, the card has been lost or stolen and yet to be replaced, or the ticket had to be purchased with a company card due to traveling on business. There can be a number of individual reasons why the ticket has to be purchased with another card.

Nonetheless, this brings about the question of what a person can do to keep their priority boarding privileges when they own the airline card, but they had to purchase the ticket using another credit card.

If you are not familiar with what priority boarding is, it is simply the ability to board and exit a plane easier. For instance, you may be on a crowded flight. Someone who doesn’t have priority boarding privileges and who enters the plane first may be asked to take their luggage and leave the plane in order to re-board with the last group. This allows those with priority boarding privileges to board the plane first. Everyone else boards last. If there is an issue with the flight or it turns out the flight was overbooked, those without priority boarding privileges could be booted from the flight and rescheduled.

Cardholder Status

The answer to this common question is that you have to ask for cardholder status upon issuance of your boarding pass. If you do this and it is granted, then you can qualify for priority boarding privileges.

It is important to look at the terms and conditions of your card. For instance, it may state that the primary card member and the card member’s companions on the same reservation may qualify for priority boarding. However, the terms may further state that in order to receive priority boarding privileges, the primary card member must provide their rewards member number at the time of their reservation.

Sometimes it is as simple as providing a member number in order to qualify, regardless of the card that is used. However, other terms and conditions may state that the airline card absolutely has to be used to purchase the tickets in order to qualify for benefits.

If it is just a matter of having a membership number in order to receive priority boarding, then the membership should come up when the number is entered at the airport. This then automatically results in qualification for the card’s benefits. Even if the card was in your wallet, not having the proper code on the ticket can result in a cardholder being treated just like another passenger waiting to board the plane. The card can’t simply be flashed like a pass.

Boarding Groups

Other than the obvious reasons why priority boarding is important, there are other benefits. Look at United Airlines, for instance. They have five boarding zones. The first two zones consist of individuals who receive priority boarding privileges. If your card member status is not indicated on your boarding pass, then you could be placed in group 3, 4, or 5. Groups 3 to 5 are considered the “general boarding masses” and these are the individuals that may or may not have a seat on a crowded flight.

At the same time, the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program may state that a benefit is not guaranteed. In other words, a person can provide their membership number, but may still not be guaranteed priority boarding privileges. While this is rare, it does happen. The boarding zones don’t start boarding until after certain passengers have pre-boarded. These passengers include those with disabilities, military personnel, and Global Services. These individuals are boarded first no matter what.

Account Status Impact

It is also important to note that the airline credit cards issuer reserves the right to deny benefits if the account is not in good standing. However, any points can be credited to a partner loyalty program if there is one. They are usually credited automatically.

But if you do fall behind and your card is not in good standing, you may lose certain benefits. It is best to refer to the terms and conditions regarding your specific card so you can see how this works. In many cases, benefits are not totally taken away unless the card issuer cancels the account or the cardholder closes the account. Without an active account, there are no cardholder benefits since a person is no longer a cardholder when there is not an active account. This is the reason why the card itself cannot be used as a pass. Instead, the membership number has to be acquired at the time of flight booking so that the code indicating your boarding zone can be specified on your boarding pass.

In order to protect all of your card benefits, it is important to ensure that the account remains in good standing. That way everything that you have worked hard for remains intact. When it remains intact, you can use your benefits to save.

Final Word

When you have a credit card that affords you certain benefits, it is important that you are able to take advantage of all of those benefits. Be sure when you book your flight that you provide membership information regardless of the card you use to pay. However, be sure to consult with the terms and conditions first.