Sharing miles with friends, family: These airlines allow it

Learn how to make the best of traveling with family and friends

Summary

Many airline loyalty programs allow you to pool miles into a single account or share them with other members, giving you access to better rewards without having buy any missing extra miles.

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You want to fly your family to Disneyland for the holidays. Problem is, you’re 40,000 miles shy of qualifying for four free tickets, one each for your partner, yourself and your two children. Your partner, though, has built up 50,000 miles with the same airline. If only you could pool your miles, you’d be able to there for free.

Here’s some good news: Many airlines allow you to pool miles with family members or friends. By transferring your points to another frequent flyer’s account – or accepting miles from one – you can rack up miles faster and qualify sooner for free flights.

However, there are some considerations you need to keep in mind:

  • Most major U.S. airlines charge transfer fees that make the practice barely worthwhile.
  • Most frequent flyer programs place heavy restrictions on miles transfers.
  • You may only be able to share these with family members – and possibly only members of your household.
  • Many of the international airlines that allow mile sharing also let you transfer rewards points from credit card rewards programs such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards.

If you happen to fly an airline that does allow miles sharing, you might find yourself booking more free flights in the future. Keep reading to explore how mile sharing works and which airline loyalty programs allow you to pool or share miles with family and friends.

Which airlines allow you to pool points?

Airline and programPool with immediate familyPool with extended familyPool with friendsCost
JetBlue: Points Pooling$0 transfer fees
Hawaiian Airlines: Share Miles$25 service fee and 1 cent per mile transferred if a member doesn’t have a Hawaiian Airlines credit or debit card
Frontier Airlines: Family Pooling$0 transaction fees
British Airways: Household Account$0
Qantas: Family Transfers
  • $0 for online transfers
  • $35 each transfer when completed through a consultant
Asiana Airlines: Family Mileage Plan$0
All Nippon Airways: Ana Mileage Club
  • 1,000 miles to start pooling service
  • 1,000 miles for each additional member registration
Japan Airlines: Jal Family Club
  • 1,000 miles for initial registration
  • 1,000 miles for automatic renewal every 5 years
  • 1,000 miles for each additional member
Emirates: My Family$0

Benefits of pooling miles

You can rack up miles faster to book flights that you might not be able to afford otherwise by pooling with relatives and friends.

According to Scott Wainner, founder of the flight comparison app Fareness, this can be a great way to rack up miles. However, he said there is a potential pitfall for sharing miles: One person might end up contributing the larger number of miles, which could lead to resentment.

“Before you share points, ask yourself if you are willing to give all your points away and whether sharing points would create issues in a friendship or within your family,” Wainner said.

Can children earn miles?

Your children probably don’t rack up many airline miles. But they can earn miles when they travel with you for family vacations. Here’s how to maximize those miles:

  • Set up frequent flyer accounts for them with your preferred airline – one that allows you to share airline miles for free.
  • Next, enroll them in the airline’s miles-pooling program.
  • You can then transfer your children’s miles to your account when you need to travel without them.
  • Those extra miles from the children might pay off in a free ticket.

Few U.S. airlines allow free mile pooling

Most domestic airlines, including Southwest, United, American and Delta, don’t allow free pooling. While they let you share miles with friends or family, the fees they charge are very high – usually around 1 cent per mile, plus processing fees.

In that case, using your own miles to redeem a flight for a family member or friend, instead of transferring them to their account, would be a more viable – and affordable – option.

Only two domestic airlines let you share miles at no cost – JetBlue and Frontier Airlines. These airlines offer great flexibility when it comes to pooling miles but the network of destinations where they fly isn’t nearly as extensive as other major U.S. airlines.

However, many international carriers do offer this service at no or very low cost – and many of them are partners with U.S. airlines and/or let you transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards and/or American Express Membership Rewards.

Domestic frequent flyer programs that allow sharing or pooling miles

JetBlue’s TrueBlue

JetBlue’s pooling program is one of the most generous offered by airlines:

  • It’s free.
  • Any TrueBlue member 21 years of age or older can create a Points Pooling account and they’ll be the “Pool Leader” who invites other members, grants permissions and redeems points.
  • A Points Pooling account can have up to seven members and only one of them needs to be 21 years of age or older.
  • You can invite any other TrueBlue member to join – they don’t have to be family.
  • Members are required to contribute 100% of their points earned on every transaction starting the moment they join the Points Pooling account, but they can still redeem travel through their individual accounts.
  • The Pool Leader can enable other account members to redeem pooled points.
  • There are some restrictions listed on the JetBlue site.
  • You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to JetBlue at a value of up to 2 cents per point.

Hawaiian Airlines’ Share Miles

Hawaiian Airlines also offers a generous sharing program, called Share Miles:

  • You can share your HawaiianMiles with anyone else who has a HawaiianMiles account.
  • Miles transfers are free between any Hawaiian Airlines primary check card or credit card account holder.
  • There are no transaction or per-mile fees.
  • The program doesn’t limit how many miles you can transfer in a transaction or in a year, but you can only receive 10 share transactions in a calendar year.
  • You can also share miles with members who don’t have a Hawaiian Airlines credit or debit card, but this will cost you a $25 service fee and 1 cent for every mile transferred. (You also must share a minimum of 2,000 HawaiianMiles.)
  • You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Hawaiian Airlines at a value of up to 2 cents per point.

Frontier Airlines’ Family Pooling

Frontier Airlines stated that there are “no minimums, maximums or hidden fees” on its Family Pooling transactions:

  • Frontier Airlines World MasterCard from Barclays* cardholders automatically qualify.
  • Eligible family members are defined by you: friends, siblings, coworkers, etc.
  • Up to eight members can be part of a Family Pooling program.
  • You have to reach an Elite tier status to qualify for Family Pooling or be a Frontier Airlines World MasterCard cardholder.
  • Family Pool contributors can withdraw at any time.
  • When you withdraw from Family Pool you can’t create or join previous Family Pools for 90 days.

International airlines that allow mile pooling, sharing

British Airways’ Executive Club household account

British Airways offers one of the best pooling programs out there:

  • Members of the airline’s Executive Club can create a household account that includes up to seven people. They must, however, be family members who live in your household.
  • The head of household must be a member of the Executive Club.
  • Not everyone on the family account must be an Executive Club member, just the person designated as head of household.
  • This person also manages the account and is the only one who can remove or add members and make address changes.
  • You can create a Family and Friends list to share your points with others outside your Household Account by redeeming for up to five nominated individuals who do not live at the same address.
  • Household Account members still earn tier points individually and can redeem points from the pooled amount.
  • You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways at a value of up to 2 cents per point.
  • You can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to British Airways at a value of up to 2 cents per point.

Qantas Family Transfer

Australian carrier, Qantas, runs its own family transfers program:

  • Members of the airline’s frequent flyer program can transfer points to an eligible family member.
  • Eligible family members include spouses, domestic partners, step-parents, parents, children, brothers, grandchildren, in-laws, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and first cousins. Note: They must have their own Qantas frequent flyer account.
  • You’ll have to transfer a minimum of 5,000 miles with each transaction and a maximum of 600,000.
  • You have an unlimited number of transfers in any 12-month period, up to a maximum of 600,000 Qantas Points.
  • You can transfer points online or by calling the Frequent Flyer Service Centre.

Asiana Airlines Family Mileage Plan

Based in Seoul, South Korea, Asiana Airlines offers its own points pooling program, the Family Mileage Plan:

  • You can transfer miles to a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and parent-in-law.
  • You will, however, have to provide documents proving your relationship with the family members you want to include.
  • Up to eight family members (including the family representative) can be part of this program.

All Nippon Airways ANA Mileage Club Family Account

Japan-based All Nippon Airways’ ANA Mileage Club Family Account allows members of the carrier’s AMC loyalty program who reside outside Japan to register for a pooled family account:

  • ANA Mileage Club members can register from two to eight family members for miles sharing, including themselves.
  • Eligible family members can include their spouses or same-sex partners and relatives within two degrees of kinship.
  • This program is only open to members who live outside of Japan.
  • Members must pay a registration fee of 1,000 miles to begin the pooling service – sharing miles after that is free.
  • You can redeem pooled miles for ANA domestic or international flight and upgrades awards, as well as partner airline flight awards.
  • You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to All Nippon Airways at a value of up to 2 cents per point.
  • You must provide documentation of relationship, address and date of birth of family members registered.

Japan Airlines JAL Family Club

Tokyo-based Japan Airlines allows members of its frequent flyer program, JAL Mileage Bank, to pool miles with family members:

  • This program is only open to members who do not live in Japan.
  • You must be a Jal Mileage Bank member to join
  • You can pool miles for your family free of charge.
  • Eligible family members include spouses, parents, spouse’s parents, children and children’s spouses.
  • You can add up to eight family members to a JAL Family Club account.
  • There is a 1,000 mile fee for each of the following: initial registration, renewal every five years and each additional family member you add to your account after initial registration.
  • You’ll get bonus mile giveaways for first flight after enrollment (for those who enroll overseas), first flight after renewal and an extra bonus mileage promotion for JALCARD members.
  • The program also offers relocation and repatriation services and benefits.
  • Membership will discontinue automatically if the automatic renewal fee can’t be deducted.

Emirates Skywards My Family

Dubai-based Emirates allows members of its Skywards rewards program to pool miles with family members:

  • Eligible family members include spouse, partner, children, step-children, parents, spouse’s parents, step-parents, grandchildren and domestic helpers.
  • Pool miles to a family account every time you or a family member flies with Emirates, flydubai Airline or other partners, shops with Emirates partners or transfers miles from any of their conversion partners.
  • Each account can have up to eight family members, with a nominated family head who manages it.
  • You can spend pooled miles on Classic Reward flights, Upgrade Rewards prior to flight departure (excluding instant upgrades on-board), Cash+Miles and donating miles.
  • You can designate what percentage of your newly earned miles to contribute to the pooled account and you can change or stop your contributions online.
  • Your previous miles stay in your personal account.
  • You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Emirates at a value of up to 2 cents per point.

Bottom line

Several airlines, both domestic and international, allow frequent flyers to either pool or share miles with others. That said, some airline loyalty programs are better than others when it comes to fees, limits and pooling flexibility.

If you and your family are frequent flyers, pooling or sharing your points is a great way to make better use of everyone’s balances. If you do decide to create a pooled account, make sure to discuss how points are deducted, how much each member contributes to the account and how you’ll choose what to spend your points on.

*All information about the Frontier Airlines World MasterCard from Barclays has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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