Which Loyalty Programs Allow Family Points Pooling?

Apr 28, 2017

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“Reader Questions” are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

Sharing points and miles with others isn’t easy when it comes to airlines, but what about hotels, as TPG reader Efrem asked us in an email…

Are there any hotel point plans that allow a husband and wife to combine their points?

TPG Reader Efrem

This is a timely question since one of the major hotel chains just added family pooling to its points program. When Hilton Honors changed several features of its loyalty system in January — including introducing Points & Money awards and dropping the second “H” from its name — it also announced members would gain the ability to pool points, and that feature became available this week.

But what other programs allow members to pool points? Well, it’s much more common on the hotel side of things than it is with airlines. In fact, Hilton joins Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, Best Western and Club Carlson in allowing some form of points sharing at little to no cost. Some programs such as Best Western require you to have the same physical address as the person you’re pooling points with, while others like Club Carlson allow elite members to transfer points to pretty much anyone at all.

jetBlue airplanes on the tarmac at JFK (John F Kennedy) Airport in New York. (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
JetBlue is the only major US airline with family pooling. Photo courtesy of James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images.

So if you’re looking to combine hotel points, you’ve probably got some options. On the other hand, if you want to share frequent flyer miles, the possibilities are much more limited. JetBlue is the only major US airline that allows family pooling for free, although Hawaiian offers the feature to a subset of its customers who have its credit card or check card. If you include international carriers, you’ll have a few more choices — British Airways has household accounts in which seven people in the same household can combine points, as does Etihad for up to nine family members. Asiana, Korean and Qantas have more restricted forms of pooling, and Japan Airlines will register you for the JAL Family Club for a 1,000-mile initiation fee.

As far as American, Delta and United, they’ll be happy to let you share miles with others… for an outrageous price. The amount varies depending on the airline, but in all cases it’s almost certainly not worth the cost. But remember, you can always book a ticket for someone else using your miles — just put their name on the ticket when redeeming the award.

Hope this helps, Efrem, and thanks for the question. If you’re a TPG reader with a question you’d like answered, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or send an email to info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured image courtesy of Hero Images via Getty Images.

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