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One of the advantages of having a family as big as I mine is that you can work together to pool your points and miles. That way, you can save for a trip together. It may sound complicated, but family pooling of points and miles is much easier than you think.
How Family Pooling Works
In short, family pooling is one of the easiest ways to share miles and points with other people. It's also one of the ways teenagers can earn points and miles without flying. Certain loyalty programs allow you to share your points and miles with other people in your family — for free. Putting everyone's points and miles into one account helps you make award redemptions sooner.
In most programs that allow family pooling, you have to designate one person as the pool owner. Only this person can make redemptions for the pool. Some programs require everyone in the pool to be family members; other programs, like Frontier Airlines, allow anyone to join a pool.
Programs That Allow Families To Pool Points and Miles
Family pooling isn’t just for airlines. There are many programs that allow this function, including hotels. Here are some of the friendliest policies on pooling points and miles:
- Air France–KLM Flying Blue: Flying Blue family pooling lets you share miles with up to eight members (two adults and up to six children).
- British Airways Executive Club: British Airways has Household Accounts, designed to make family pooling easier. You can make a pool with up to five other members, transferring Avios freely, but members need to live with you.
- Emirates Skywards: You can share points and miles with up to eight people, and you can control how many of your miles you share.
- Frontier Airlines: You can add up to eight members to your pool, and you don't need to be related. However, you need to accomplish one of two things to start family pooling: reach elite status or sign up for the FRONTIER Airlines World Mastercard®.
- Hilton Honors: In Hilton Honors, you can share points with up to 10 people. You can send up to 500,000 points and receive up to two million in a year.
- JetBlue TrueBlue: TrueBlue also allows you to control how many points and miles you share. However, JetBlue only allows you to share with two adults and five children.
- Marriott Bonvoy: Marriott Bonvoy members can transfer up to 100,000 points per year. You can receive up to 500,000 points a year.
Getting Elite Status With a Family Pool
Another bonus of pooling with your family is that pool members can enjoy extra perks if one member of the pool has elite status. This could provide benefits to the other members, such as priority boarding, lounge access, or free checked bags.
For example, with Egyptair, you can have one family member earn all of the elite credit for connected family members. In this program, a family of four would earn elite status (for one family member) four times as fast. This program is unique in allowing you to credit flights to someone else's account and could be a great way for your family to get Star Alliance elite status.
Another strategy applies to American Airlines' revamped AAdvantage program and its use of Loyalty Points. To be clear, AAdvantage doesn't provide free family pooling with miles. However, it makes sense for everyone in your family to credit their non-flying activity toward one person's account, helping that person earn elite status without flying. Your family members will benefit from elite perks when traveling together on the same reservation as the person with elite status.
When Pooling With Your Family Makes Sense
Family pooling is one of the best strategies for traveling with a large family. It also makes sense for people who travel solo sometimes but want to work together for a family trip at some point.
Here’s one example of how pooling with your family might work:
- A family of four flies a round-trip flight, with each ticket earning 1,200 miles.
- In a program without family pooling, each person earns 1,200 miles in their own account — a long way from a flight redemption in most programs.
- In programs with family pooling, the four people combine their miles into one account for 4,800 miles.
Family pooling also helps you use small amounts of points that might expire in a pool member's account.
When Not To Use a Family Pool
As good as family pooling can be, there are times when it’s better not to use it. For example, if you don’t have a large family, then pooling your points and miles together may not make much sense. It might not speed up your progress toward an award in any meaningful way.
Some family pooling programs (like Frontier Airlines) allow you to define your family however you want, so you could create a pool with a group of friends. Just make sure you trust the head of the pool, because they can redeem miles whenever they want. If you aren't sure you trust someone with your points and miles, this won't make sense.
It also doesn't make sense to use a pool if you rarely redeem points and miles for other people. Lastly, you may not be able to create a pool in some programs — because they don't offer it or because you don't meet their definitions of a family.
Pooling points and miles with your family can be an amazing tool for traveling with a large group. There are so many airlines and hotel programs that permit it (many for free), and it’s very simple to use. Pooling points and miles with your family isn’t for everyone, but it can be a great way for families to unlock their next award redemption much faster.
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