The Strange Reason American Now Requires You to Enter Your Last Name at Login

Now that US Airways Dividend Miles is being combined into American AAdvantage, the American website login process requires you to enter your frequent flyer number and password.. and last name.

You can log into the American or US Airways sites with either your Dividend Miles or AAdvantage account number. If you were a Dividend Miles member and not an AAdvantage number you may not even know your new American Airlines frequent flyer number yet.

Here’s why they need to know your last name.

  • US Airways frequent flyer numbers from before the airline’s merger with America West are 7 alphanumeric characters. (When the airline moved to a new platform post-merger they went with longer numeric accounts, and have since automatically added preceding zeroes to the earlier accounts for uniformity.)

  • American’s frequent flyer account numbers are 7 alphanumeric characters.

  • Therefore the same frequent flyer number can exist in both the US Airways and American systems.

  • The combined program is sticking with American numbers. Customers who were members of both programs keep their AAdvantage number. Customers who were Dividend miles-only get a new AAdvantage number. Those old Dividend Miles account numbers will be retired.

  • But in transition people will still use their Dividend Miles numbers to look up account information, and with some frequent flyer program partners.

It’s highly unlikely of course that two people with the same account number will also have the same password. But checking last names lets American know whether you’re trying to log into the account number as it existed on the American side, or on the US Airways side.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The Strange Reason American Now Requires You to Enter Your Last Name at Login….. What?

    Wow, it’s a hard life!! meanwhile, let me just review the latest situation in Haiti, Vanuatu, Ukraine, homeless America,, German Wings tragedy…..

    Goodness me VFTW, time to cut down on quantity and start focussing on quality that we know you are capable of. Take a break mate, reset yourself. there are travel issues that are important, and those that are not. Honestly, is this the best you can come up with?

  2. Thanks for the info. I wondered about the new additional step, but am relieved not to have to endure “captcha”.

  3. 15 years ago, AA and US had a loose mileage alliance. In those days, you could even redeem miles from both accounts for a single award ticket. US had to make its systems work with AA’s so they gave everyone new seven-character account numbers. Then the merger with cactus came along and they changed account number format again.

    I’ve had three different US numbers across these changes. Now, perhaps thankfully, they’re give for good.

  4. Delta has required you to enter your last name for as long as I’ve been a SkyMiles member.

    @robbo- “meanwhile, let me just review the latest situation in Haiti, Vanuatu, Ukraine, homeless America,, German Wings tragedy”

    You do realize that this is a miles/points blog, right? And, therefore, the first four things you listed are irrelevant to the content of the blog, right? Only the fifth could be said to be related, and unless Gary’s an expert in plane crash investigations, he can’t say anything that isn’t being said by others?

  5. @Nick – Criticism of a blogger (or of anyone else, for that matter) should be relevant. Robbo’s criticism is the exact opposite of relevant.

  6. what if you have two people with the same frequent flyer number, the same password and the same last name? The odds are low but not impossible: two people with a common name like “Jones”, who selected a silly, too-easy password — like “password1”

  7. @robbo Just another for the author to get his blog at the top of the list of most recent BA articles and get eyeballs for the affiliate links on his page

  8. What about those with both accounts that were not able to combine them before? (I tried online, but it didn’t work, and I never had time to call the phone #.) Am I now going to have 2 AA #s and have to fight to get them combined?

  9. AA also has accounts that are all numbers. The first 1 million people that signed up in 1981 got all numbers.

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