Earning points can be tedious if you’re doing it alone. Credit card welcome bonuses only go so far and if you’re trying to save up for premium cabins or family travel, it can take a while. Sometimes you fall short and your only options are to buy more points or transfer them from someone else’s account. The fees associated with points transfers make this a less-than-ideal choice.
That’s where point pooling comes in. Several airlines and hotels allow you to pool your points for free. All you do is add one or more family members (or friends) to the pool and you’ll be able to share points with them, sans fees. Of course, not all programs allow you to do this, and each has its own rules around who can join your pool.
We’ve got all the details outlined on which programs let you pool points and what the significant restrictions are.
Why You Should Pool Points
Pooling points is a free way for families and friends to share points and earn award flights faster. For example, if you’re 1,000 points short of an award flight, you can create a pool with another member who haspoints to spare. Points pooling programs allow you to share points without fees or long transfer periods.
Why You Shouldn’t Pool Points
Pooling points has a few risks. For example, if the pool is hacked, multiple people will be inconvenienced and their information potentially compromised. You might also encounter disagreements about who gets to redeem points. You want to ensure the people in your pool are trustworthy since anyone can use the points. Set guidelines about how points should be used and ensure everyone is onboard.
Who Can Redeem Points From a Points Pool?
Most airlines allow the pool “lead” to manage permissions, including who can redeem points. It’s important to agree on this before joining a points pool. Regardless of whether you have permission to redeem points from a pool, you can always redeem your own balance.
Which Airlines Let You Pool Miles?
There are currently 16 airlines that allow members to pool miles free of charge. Some restrict transfers to family members and even require proof of relationship. Others let you pool miles with anyone. Here’s a look at what the requirements are for each one:
Aegean Airlines’ Miles+Bonus loyalty program allows Silver and Gold elite members to pool their points with up to five members. The five members don’t need to be elite members, though the head of the account does. To set up a Together account, follow these steps:
- Login to your Miles+Bonus account
- Select “Activate Together Account” under your account menu
- Invite up to four members to join the account
To reach Aegean Silver status, you’ll need to complete the following requirements:
- Fly Aegean or Olympic Air at least twice and earn 12,000 Tier Miles within 12 months
- Earn 24,000 Tier Miles flying any airline within Aegean’s partner network
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada’s Family Sharing program allows up to eight family members to share their points without fees. All points earned by members of a pool go into a shared balance, where members with redemption privileges can use them. Redemption privileges are determined by the Family Lead.
An added bonus of having a Family Sharing account is that if one person is an elite member, all members can benefit from preferred pricing on award flights.
All Nippon Airways Mileage Club
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is a Membership Rewards transfer partner with some bargain redemption rates. But earning ANA miles isn’t easy outside of transferring them from Membership Rewards. That’s where ANA Mileage Club Family Account (AFA) Service comes in. ANA Mileage Club members outside of Japan can register for an AFA account and combine points with up to seven other members.
AFA members are restricted to spouses, same-sex partners and relatives within two degrees of kinship. In other words, you can’t combine miles with a friend or distant family member. A “registration fee” of 1,000 ANA miles will also be deducted from the primary member’s account.
Asiana Airlines is a Star Alliance member, but the miles are difficult to earn. You can transfer Marriott points to Asiana at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred. There’s also the Bank of America Asiana Airlines Visa Signature Card, which is not currently open to new applicants.
However, if you and your family have accrued Asiana miles, you can set up a points pool and share miles. You can have up to eight family members in a pool and need to provide proof of relationship. The following are eligible to join your family pool:
- Grandparents (including grandparents of a spouse)
- Son or daughter-in-law
British Airways Executive Club
British Airways is a Oneworld Alliance member and transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Chase Ultimate Rewards. So chances are, you’ve got some Avios saved up. British Airways lets you set up a Household Account where you can share Avios with up to seven household members. These individuals must live at the same address as you.
While this sounds restrictive, the “Family and Friends list” expands the number of people you can redeem Avios for. You can add up to five friends or family members to your list. These individuals don’t have to live at the same address as you or your household members.
With an Emirates My Family account, you can invite up to seven family members to pool their miles with you. You can even choose the percentage of miles you want to contribute to this joint account. Emirates considers the following individuals as “immediate family members” eligible to join your mileage pool:
- Husband, wife, or partner
- Son or daughter
- Step‑son or step‑daughter
- Mother‑in‑law or father‑in‑law
- Domestic helper
Etihad™ Guest’s Family Membership allows members to pool miles with up to eight family members. The Family Head must be at least 21 years old and can add the following family members to the account:
- Parents and step-parents
- Siblings and step-siblings
- Children and step-children
- Grandchildren and step-grandchildren
- Mother-in-law and father-in-law
- Nieces and nephews
- Domestic helper
Etihad may request proof of relationship, in which case you’ll have 14 days to provide documentation.
Air France and KLM’s joint Flying Blue program lets you share miles as part of the Blue Family program. Each Blue Family account can have up to eight members: Two adults and six children. This stipulation is a bit more limiting than other airlines that offer points pooling.
But it is a useful benefit for families who frequently travel together and want to pool their miles for faster award redemptions.
Frontier Airlines has a simple Family Pooling program that allows members to pool miles with up to eight family members and friends. Anyone can join the pool, regardless of relationship, though only the head of the pool can redeem miles.
The catch? You must be either an Elite 20K member or a Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® holder to qualify. To reach Frontier Elite 20K status, you need to fly 20,000 miles. The Frontier credit card is a faster and cheaper option since it has an $89 annual fee that’s waived in the first year.
JetBlue allows you to pool points with up to six friends or family members. You must be at least 21 years old to start a pool, though there is no age restriction for other members. Once you have your group picked out, 100% of your earned points are added to the pool.
Each pool member can redeem the points they’ve contributed to the account, but the Pool Leader can designate members for redemption privileges beyond their own balance. If you decide to leave (or are removed) from a pool, you’ll retain your personal point balance.
Transferring Hawaiian Miles typically costs 0.01 cents per mile, plus a $25 service fee. If you have a Hawaiian Airlines credit card, you can share miles without a fee.
All fees, including the service fee, are completely waived. There also is no minimum or limit on the number of miles you can transfer.
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
Japan Airlines’s (JAL) Family Mileage Pool lets you combine miles with up to eight family members. This option is only open to Mileage Bank members outside of Japan and all pool members must be at least 12 years old to qualify. Eligible “family” members include spouses, children, parents, and spouses’ parents.
There is a 1,000-mile application fee, as well as a renewal fee for the same amount. Additionally, you’ll need to pay 1,000 miles for any new family member application. However, you can earn back the application and renewal fees. Primary members earn 1,000 bonus miles after taking an international JAL flight within one year of enrollment and renewal.
Korean Air’s SkyPass program lets members pool miles with up to four family members. The program is strict about verifying family relationships. You’ll need to provide proof via birth or marriage certificates, tax returns, or other official documents. Once you complete this process, you’ll be able to pool miles without a fee and even book award tickets for family members.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Through Family Transfers, Qantas allows eligible family members to transfer miles without fees. The minimum transfer amount is 5,000 miles, while the maximum is 600,000 within 12 months. Qantas makes these transfers easy, allowing you to submit your requests either online or over the phone.
Eligible family members include:
- Spouse or domestic partner
- Child (including foster and step-child)
- Siblings (including half-siblings)
- First cousin
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Qatar Airways’ Family Programme lets you pool Avios with up to nine family members. Eligible family members include your spouse, children (aged two or older), parents and spouse’s parents. To set up a family pool, you’ll need to provide proof of relationship and follow these steps:
- Log in to your account and select “My Profile”
- Under “My Family,” uncheck “I don’t want to add a family member right now”
- Click on “Add family member” and attach supporting documents proving your relationship
Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program allows parents to link their children’s frequent flyer programs to their own to combine miles. To do so, you’ll need to set up a Parental Link on the personal details section of your account. Once your accounts are linked, you can transfer miles from your child’s account into yours. You can transfer up to 50,000 KrisFlyer miles completely free. Beyond that, you’ll pay $5 or 500 miles for every 5,000 transferred.
Note that you can’t transfer miles in reverse (i.e., from a parent’s account into a child’s). So it’s not quite a points pool like other programs offer. But it’s still a great way for families to combine rewards, especially if they have small children.
Which Hotels Let You Pool Points?
If you’re planning a vacation of a week or longer, hotel costs can easily outnumber the miles you’ll redeem for every flight. This is especially true on international trips. While none of the major hotel loyalty programs allow you to pool points, three of them allow free point transfers. These transfers aren’t limited to family members, providing ultimate flexibility. Here’s a look at the three hotel programs that allow free point transfers between members:
Hilton Honors allows up to 11 members to pool their points together, free of charge. Hilton free nights range from 5,000-150,000 per night, so being able to combine points is definitely a useful program feature. Members can transfer between 1,000-500,000 points into a pool each calendar year.
Any member of the pool can redeem the points how they see fit. The only stipulation is that you have to be a Hilton Honors member for at least 30 days and have a minimum point balance of 1,000 points to participate.
World of Hyatt
While Hyatt doesn’t have a points pooling program where members can combine their points into one account, they do allow free transfers. You can transfer or receive Hyatt points once every 30 days by filling out a transfer request form. Once you submit the form, the transfer will take just a few days.
Like Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy allows free point transfers between members. However, there are several restrictions. For starters, both members must have a Bonvoy account open for 30 days with qualifying activity or 90 days without. So if you haven’t earned or redeemed points in the last 30 days, you may not be eligible to transfer or receive points from another member.
Once you meet the qualifications, you can transfer up to 100,000 points and receive up to 500,000 per calendar year.
Transferrable Rewards currencies
Transferrable rewards currencies are among the most valuable, thanks to their multiple uses. You can cash them out for statement credits or transfer them to airline and hotel programs. Transferrable rewards are virtually devaluation-proof, since you’re not stuck with a single currency. If one transfer partner devalues, you can transfer them to another. Best of all: You can transfer them to other cardholders, free of charge. Here’s a look at each program’s specific rules:
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Chase allows the transferring of Ultimate Rewards points between members of the same household only. The exception is for business cardholders. For example, if you have an Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can transfer points to a business owner affiliated with your card.
These are fairly generous rules and allow you to share points easily with common travel companions. For example, you and your spouse could both get a Chase Sapphire PreferredⓇ Card and then combine your points through a transfer to book a trip together. From there, you can transfer points to 14 airline and hotel partners or redeem them toward Ultimate Rewards Travel bookings at 1.25 cents each.
Our partner, Citi, is a bit more lenient than Chase. You can transfer Citi ThankYouⓇ points to any other member – regardless of whether they live in your household. This versatility allows you to share points easily with anyone. There is no fee for transferring points; you can share and receive up to 100,000 ThankYou points per calendar year.
A major downside worth noting: Once transferred, your points are only valid for 90 days. So you definitely shouldn’t transfer points (or have someone transfer them to you) unless you have an immediate use in mind.
Pooling points is an excellent way for families and travel companions to earn free flights and award nights faster. Before setting up a pooling account, you’ll want to make sure everyone is on the same page about how the points get used. For most of these accounts, only the Head gets to redeem points, making this a crucial step if you’re pooling points with friends or people outside your immediate household.
So whether you have some “Orphan points” from a flight you took years ago or your family consists of ambitious points collectors, these points pooling programs can be excellent ways to combine your rewards without paying a fee.