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The web is full of posts covering techniques to earn and burn points and miles. Advice on which credit card to add to your wallet, identifying airlines and hotels that will maximize the value of rewards points, and mapping out redemption options all over the world.
One aspect of rewards travel that's a little harder to unearth reliable information for, is family pooling and transferring of program points or miles.
In this post, we’ll be highlighting transfer policies for major programs, and offering simple ‘how-to’ instructions on sharing points and miles with your family and friends.
Why Transfer or Pool Points and Miles?
A few reasons spring to mind.
- To reach a specific redemption. A no-brainer, but trying to reach a particular redemption for an upcoming trip often involves juggling points between accounts.
- Allows you to transfer rewards to an account that has elite status. Redeeming flights and stays through an account that has elite status can add a ton of value to your travel experience.
- Some programs require names to match for transfers to take place. SPG, for example, requires the account names on both the SPG account and the receiving frequent flyer account to match for the transfer to go through.
- Pooling makes it easy to utilize small numbers of orphaned points. Having multiple accounts with a small balance is frustrating as there is often no way of redeeming them. Family pooling enables you to collect rewards into a usable balance and burn them for travel and accommodation.
- When you want to cancel a card or account and need to move the points before pulling the trigger. Travel goals change from year-to-year and the cards we need to achieve them change with the goals. Transferring points and miles is often the only way to keep them alive in this case.
Family Pooling and Transferring Flexible Rewards Currencies
Chase Ultimate Rewards
You can transfer points “…only to another Chase card with Ultimate Rewards belonging to you, or one member of your household.” Chase is strict on this rule, and you risk losing your points if you violate the transfer policy. Chase business accounts also allow you to move points to other business owners. This includes points from cards like:
- Chase Freedom®
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card
- Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
- Hover the cursor over the points balance and click ‘Combine Points’ at the bottom of the pop-up
- Click the option under your card accounts to ‘Add Household Member’
- Choose how many points you want to transfer, review, and submit the request.
Citi ThankYou Rewards
Despite Citi adding a 100K limit to transfers, Citi ThankYou Rewards remains the most flexible of the big four currencies for transferring points between member accounts. There are, however, a couple of things worth noting.
- Shared points are only valid for 90 days from the time they are received, so only transfer with a plan to redeem them within 3 months.
- You can only share and receive 100K Citi ThankYou Points per calendar year.
To share Citi ThankYou Points with another member:
- Sign into your account at ThankYou.com
- Click the ‘More Ways to Redeem’ tab
- Scroll to the right and click on the ‘Points Sharing’ tab
- Click ‘Share points on ThankYou.com’
If you're already signed in, you can access the transfer page directly.
American Express Membership Rewards
You cannot transfer Amex Membership Rewards to another member account, but you can transfer points to a frequent flyer account in someone else's name, as long as that person is an authorized user on your Amex card account.
“The frequent customer program account that you transfer points into must be held by you or an Additional Card Member linked to your program account.”
Amex has the most restrictive of the points sharing options for flexible rewards currencies.
Family Pooling and Transferring Hotel Points
Members can transfer up to 100K Marriott Rewards points per year, in increments of 1,000 points.
“…Members can transfer up to a maximum of 100,000 Points per calendar year between any two accounts in good standing that have each been open for at least sixty (60) days, whether sending or receiving Points.”
It used to be the case you could transfer more than 100K if it was for immediate redemption, but that is no longer the case following the Marriott/SPG merger. You can, however, receive more than 100K points per year, up to 500,000 in fact. So you could potentially receive points from multiple family accounts to help you achieve a specific redemption.
To transfer Marriott points to another member account, call the Guest Services line at (801) 468-4000 and request a transfer.
Want to increase your Marriott Rewards account balance? Look into the or its business equivalent, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card.
World of Hyatt
Hyatt allows points transfers between any accounts that are in good standing, but only allows transfers once every 30 days.
“…A single member may only participate in a point combining transaction (transferring or receiving of points) once every 30 days…”
As we detailed in a recent post, Hilton now has one of the best points pooling options of any rewards program we’ve seen. You can combine points with up to 10 other members, sending as many as 500K points and receiving up to 2 million Honors points!
Navigate to the points pooling from your Honors account, or you can access the transfer page directly.
Our favorite rewards cards for earning Hilton points:
- Hilton Honors American Express Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Club Carlson has different transfer rules for elite and non-elite members.
- Elite members may transfer Points from their account to another Program member account upon request.
- All other members (non-Elite) may transfer Points to another Program member residing in the same household provided that both individuals have been a Program member for at least one year and the addresses for either account involved in the transfer have not been up updated within thirty (30) days prior to the transfer request.
To start transferring your Gold Points, call the Member Services line on (888) 288-8889 and request a transfer, or view the details on the Club Carlson website.
There is no limit to the number of points IHG Rewards members can transfer to other members, but the cost is high and not an action we recommend. IHG points transfers are processed by Points.com. We've only listed IHG here, because they're a standout among major loyalty programs as they charge for the transfers unlike, Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott.
“IHG® Rewards Club points can be transferred to another IHG® Rewards Club member in 1,000 point increments for $5 USD per 1,000 points. There is no limit to the number of points a member can transfer or receive…”
If you need to transfer IHG points, head over to transfer page on IHG’s website and sign into your account.
Another option for accumulating a decent stack of IHG points is the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.
Family Pooling and Transferring Airline Miles
Many frequent flyer programs charge members to move points between accounts. For example, you can transfer American AAdvantage miles to another account, but it costs 1.25¢ per mile and wipes the value out of your miles, so we’re only listing options where it is viable to pool or transfer miles without the huge costs.
British Airways Executive Club
With the British Airways Visa Signature® Card currently offering a great signup bonus, there is no doubt plenty of households now looking to share Avios. Fortunately, BA offers one of the better options for sharing miles, the BA Executive Club Household Account.
You can pool Avios with up to 6 other members of your household, and once established, you can also set up a Family and Friends List which allows you to use pooled Avios for people outside your family pool. Miles are deducted evenly for redemptions across all accounts linked to the Household Account.
Emirates allows pooling of up to 8 members — and the amount of miles pools can be controlled by the individual, from as little as 0% to 100%. Current miles are not moved, only future ones based on the contribution percentage. You'll want to setup pooling as soon as you create accounts if you're looking to pool for an upcoming trip
You can see all the details of Emirates Skywards My Family on their program page.
JetBlue also offers a great family pooling feature, although accounts are limited to 2 adults and 5 children. Unlike BA’s Household Accounts, JetBlue allows members of family pooling to nominate the percentage of points they wish to contribute to each redemption, meaning each member can contribute more or less dependent on earning patterns.
You can see all the details of JetBlue TrueBlue family pooling on their FAQ page.
Korean Air SKYPASS
The Korean SKYPASS Family Plan allows up to 5 family members to draw from one pool of miles for award redemptions.
“Members with insufficient miles for award redemption can supplement their miles with the miles of immediate family members.
Up to 5 family members, including the SKYPASS member, may redeem awards through the Family Plan. All of the member’s accumulated mileage will be used when pooling family mileage.”
Remember, SKYPASS is a transfer partner of Marriott Rewards. If you want to combine Marriott Rewards points with other family members for travel, Korean’s Family Plan offers a viable alternative as you can pool points from family members from any location, as long as you can provide proof of the relationship.
“Any HawaiianMiles member can give miles to a Hawaiian Airlines primary credit or check cardholder—free of charge…”
You can combine Etihad Guest Miles into a ‘Family Joining’ account. Although the name appears a touch lost in translation, the Family Joining account allows up to 8 members to pool points into a central account controlled by the Family Head.
“When any member of your Family Membership travels with us or one of our partner airlines, 100% of the Etihad Guest Miles earned by the Family Guest will be transferred to the Family Head's account, along with any bonus miles earned. You don’t need to travel together to accrue all the benefits of Family Membership.
Family Guests enrolled in a Family Membership continue to receive 100% of the Etihad Guest Tier Miles they earn and carry on receiving all their personal tier benefits – so they'll also be eligible for promotion to Etihad Guest Silver and Etihad Guest Gold, and all the benefits of membership of these exclusive premium tiers.”
To register for Family Joining, click through to the registration page on Etihad Guest’s website.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qantas members can transfer points to family members. The minimum transfer is 5,000 points, up to a maximum 600,000 points per transfer. Transfers attract a fee if you call a consultant, but the service is free if you use the online form.
ANA Mileage Club
ANA only allows members from outside Japan to combine miles in a family pooling account known as an ANA Mileage Club Family Account, or AFA, which allows between 2-8 members to combine miles into a primary account holders account.
“ANA Mileage Club members (the primary member) who reside outside Japan can register 2-8 family members (including themselves) for this service. The registered family members can be their spouse or same-sex marriage partner, and relatives within 2 degrees of kinship.”
Registering an AFA account costs 1,000 ANA miles which are deducted from the primary account holders account. The signup process is straightforward, simply head to the Family Account page on ANA’s website and hit the ‘Registration Form‘ button under the ‘Process for Using the AFA Service‘ tab.
Aeromexico Club Premier
Aeromexico offers a Family Program for pooling Club Premier points. There is no restriction on the number of members in your family group, but membership is limited to a spouse and direct children, and children’s last names must match that of one parent.
“Membership is limited to spousal and children’s accounts linked to the primary account.”
There is no limit to the number of points you can combine and all transfers are free of charge. You can signup to the Family Program on the Club Premier website.
JAL Mileage Bank
The family pooling option for Japan Airlines Mileage Bank, JAL Family Club, allows up to 9 family members to combine miles into a single account. The primary account holder must reside outside the US, however, family members’ country of residence is not a factor, so family members can live in Japan as long as the primary account holder lives outside Japan in a listed eligible country.
There is an initial fee of 1,000 miles to set the Family Club account up, and an additional 1,000 miles for every family member you bring on. JAL charges 1,000 miles each member every 5 years, there is no annual membership fee.
The primary account holder can signup for a Family Club account via the link at the bottom of the Family Club website.
Norwegian Rewards CashPoints
Norwegian Rewards allows you to connect your account up to a Family Account that includes up to 7 members. Norwegian Rewards also sports the loosest definition of ‘family,' putting it on the record that a family account can include anyone you know (or don't know if you want to push the limits).
“You can freely choose to invite whoever you want. Although Family Account was designed for families to earn CashPoints together, we do not restrict it for other uses – such as inviting your friends or similar.”
Technically, with those definitions, you could pool points from any seven accounts into a family account, with the only stipulation being that members of a family account must remain members of the account for a minimum of three months.
There are a few rules and regulations to wraps your head around, but overall the Norwegian Rewards Family Pooling feature is more flexible than any of its US counterparts.
Virgin Australia Velocity
Virgin Australia's Velocity Frequent Flyer is another program to offer flexible family pooling, allowing members to pool Status Credits in addition to Velocity points. You can connect up to 6 family members living at the same address.
You need to register the family pooling account prior to commencing the flights you wish to credit to the beneficiary account. A Velocity family account can only contain two adults over the age of 18, with the remaining members required to be under 18 years of age.
Lufthansa Miles & More
From May 2018, Lufthansa's Miles & More program will allow members to pool miles for up to two adults and five children. The Miles & More family pooling option only applies to award miles, status miles cannot be pooled. Either adult can redeem miles for award travel from the combined family account.
The ability to combine points and miles into a single account for family members to draw on is a big drawcard for any rewards program.
BA’s Executive Club is the stand out for airline rewards, being able to combine your Avios into a centralized account which, after registering friends & family, can be redeemed for rewards for a host of different family members and friends offers great flexibility.
Hilton’s new points pooling is also a highlight, offering the ability to connect with members outside your immediate family. And with transfer limits running into the millions of points, more generous than competitor programs.
If you have any questions about any of the programs or policies mentioned, please reach out in the comments. Likewise, if we’ve missed any programs that offer convenient (and low-cost) transfers and family pooling opportunities, please get in touch, and we’ll update the post accordingly.
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