Do You Remember Your First?

Rewards program membership, that is. Sorry to disappoint if you thought I was asking about something else.

I found these old Delta and Northwest tags while cleaning out my desk. I really wish I had saved all the airline and hotel cards from the beginnings of my business travel in 1987. I never, ever saw myself traveling as long as I have been doing so and never could have imagined I’d be writing about travel.

Delta and Northwest old award cards

Yes, I do remember my first.

Continental Airlines and Holiday Inn around 1988. Followed soon thereafter by Air Canada and Best Western. You never forget your first (or your second either, in my case). National Car Rental was my first of the car programs in the early days of “Emerald Aisle.” After that, it gets fuzzy for me. So many airline, hotel and car rental programs have been in my life between then and now.

My most recent: IcelandAir and Rica Hotels.


What about you? Do you remember your first (rewards program membership, that is!)?


  1. My technical first was with Southwest Airlines. Back in the day, you collect stamps (either physical, stick on stamps or imprinted) on your Rapid Rewards application at the gate while getting your plastic boarding pass. After the 16th stamp, you send it in for your permanent card and the first RR flight voucher with a drink coupon booklet.

  2. My first was south african airlines and I still know my ff number by heart although I haven’t clown with them for more than 5 years. Then followed miles and more (swiss international airlines). Now I am working for the very same airline – so no more airmiles collection on work related travel

  3. Hi Chris. Yes, I wonder how many of us will continue to remember our frequent flyer #s even when Alzheimer’s sets in — probably very many of us, since they’re stamped on our foreheads forever 🙂

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