22 airlines that allow families to pool miles

Aug 31, 2020

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Frequent flyer programmes were historically designed so that the person who is sitting in an aeroplane seat on an eligible paid ticket is the one who earns the miles.

Depending on the programme, that person may be able to use their miles to book award tickets for friends and family members, but most frequent flyer programmes didn’t typically allow members to pool their miles together or transfer miles from one account to another without charging a hefty fee.

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That’s tough for families who may be purchasing multiple airline tickets, but ultimately end up with relatively small frequent flyer balances spread across each travellers’ individual accounts. Five family members who each have 5,000 miles in their respective accounts may not be able to do much with their miles. However, if those balances could be combined into one pooled account, then you’re looking at 25,000 total miles, which is probably enough to book an award flight.

Thankfully, in recent years, some frequent flyer programmes have become more family-friendly in this regard than others. This includes an upcoming all-new “Family Sharing” option coming from Air Canada’s Aeroplan.

(Photo by Orbon Alija/Getty Images)
(Photo by Orbon Alija/Getty Images)

U.S. airlines with family pooling

Of the top 10 U.S. airlines, only three have the option to combine miles from several accounts into just one for little to no cost, and two of those have some sort of restriction as to who can pool miles. Only one major U.S. airline allows free pooling for anyone in its programme, and that’s why we’re leading our list with …

JetBlue TrueBlue

JetBlue is the most family-friendly frequent flyer programme in the U.S. when it comes to allowing both friends and family members to pool their miles together to book awards faster.

All JetBlue TrueBlue members are eligible to pool miles without a fee with up to a total of seven friends or family members. The Pool Leader will manage all of the points in the Points Pooling account. You’ll be able to contribute points to the Points Pooling account upon joining Points Pooling initially and with each future transaction for zero transfer fees.

Frontier Airlines

In June 2018, Frontier introduced Family Pooling for up to eight people, but only if the head member in the pool has either Frontier Airlines elite status or a U.S. cobranded card. If you do qualify for Frontier Family Pooling, the eight invited members of the pool do not have to be from one family — they can be anyone you wish.

A person can only be a member of one Frontier Family Pool at a time and must wait 90 days between switching pools. If you have a family, also keep in mind that kids can fly free at select times on Frontier.

Kids can fly free on Frontier (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Kids can fly free on Frontier (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Hawaiian Airlines

The Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles programme does not offer family pooling in the traditional sense, but they do permit HawaiianMiles members to give their miles to a Hawaiian Airlines U.S. primary credit or debit cardholder free of charge. There are no minimums or maximums on the number of miles that can be transferred, but a Hawaiian Airlines debit or credit cardholder may only receive ten transactions in a calendar year.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Other airlines with family pooling

Once you get outside the U.S., the options for pooling miles with an airline grow fairly quickly. As compared to only three U.S. airlines with family pooling, at least 18 international carriers have some form of points pooling. Some of these carriers may not be on your radar, but the first couple are likely familiar to anyone with an intermediate knowledge of points and miles.

Air Canada’s Aeroplan

Aeroplan is overhauling its frequent flyer programme with largely neutral to positive changes.

Family Sharing will be coming soon to Aeroplan for up to eight total people. Each member who joins the Family Sharing account will have their points balance added to the pool of points, including points that were earned before the Family Sharing account was created.

Once the family has accumulated enough points for a redemption, they can use the sum of the shared pool to redeem for each member of the family. When someone from the Family Sharing account makes a redemption, Aeroplan will deduct points from all members’ accounts in proportion as to create a fair experience.

What makes this programme cool is that if one member of the family has elite status or holds a cobranded credit card, all members of the Family Sharing account will be able to take advantage of the preferred award pricing granted to the status holder.

Photo by Heather Dunbar/Shutterstock.
Photo by Heather Dunbar/Shutterstock.

Related: Guide to Aeroplan’s Family Sharing

British Airways

Within the British Airways Executive Club, the only way for children to earn Avios is to be part of a Household Account.

A Household Account is comprised of up to seven people who live at the same address. Otherwise, children cannot earn and spend their own British Airways Avios until they are 18 years old. Just like with an individual account, your Household Account Avios stay with you as long as you collect, spend, purchase or share some Avios at least once every 36 months.

The downside to the British Airways Household Account used to be that if you were a member of a Household Account, you couldn’t redeem your Avios for others who were not on the Household Account. This was a dealbreaker for me, as I like to redeem Avios on occasion for friends, aunts, cousins, grandparents and more. However, British Airways now offers a Family and Friends list to accompany a Household Account. This means you can redeem Avios award tickets for up to five additional persons added to your list who don’t live within your household.

British Airways A350 Club Suite (Photo by Nicholas Ellis/The Points Guy)
British Airways A350 Club Suite (Photo by Nicholas Ellis/The Points Guy)

Related: The guide to British Airways Household Accounts

Etihad

The Etihad Guest programme offers a Family Membership that permits up to nine family members to pool their miles together. Eligible family members include brothers, sisters, father, mother, spouse, children, grandchildren, grandparents, parents-in-law, step-parents, step-children, step-siblings, step-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and even one household staff member. The terms indicate that Etihad may audit Family Memberships and request proof of family relationships.

Once added online, the added members above 13 years will receive an email for them to accept the request. Members under 13 years old will be included in the household without email acceptance.

Emirates

Emirates First Class Lounge.
Emirates First Class Lounge.

Emirates Skywards offers family pooling of miles via its My Family programme.

Up to eight family members ages two and up with an eligible family relationship may participate. This includes husband, wife, partner, mother, father, step-mother, step-father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son, step-son, daughter or step-daughter. Members of the Etihad My Family programme can pool up to 100% of their Skywards Miles earned on Emirates flights. Family Members may be requested to provide Emirates Skywards with additional proof of their relationship to the Family Head.

EgyptAir

Star Alliance partner EgyptAir offers a very unique Family Programme in that it’s not only redeemable miles that are pooled together, but also elite qualifying miles. With an EgyptAir Plus Family Miles account, up to five members with a “first-degree family relationship” can pool their miles into one account to earn both award flights and elite status faster. Only the head family member will earn elite status, but that person could then use some of their perks to benefit accompanying family members. Members must be two-years-old and up.

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

You must email a copy of each potential member’s passport to customeraff@egyptair.com and specify their relationship to you. The family member must be at least two years old to be eligible. Each member will have their own membership number, but miles earned will all be pooled into the head member’s account.

Related: Review of EgyptAir business class from Cairo to New York

Lufthansa Miles & More

Lufthansa Miles & More allows family pooling for up to two adults and five children in its app to members in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. All the members’ award miles can be collected in your pool and the two adults can redeem pooled miles. The adults do not need to be partners or married. In fact, friends can earn miles together.

Virgin Australia

The Virgin Australia Velocity Family Points Pooling programme allows up to six family members living at the same address to pool both Velocity Points and Status Credits. Their Family Points Pooling can include up to two members 18 years or over, and up to four members less than 18 years of age.

You can choose to pool either just Velocity Points or both Velocity Points and Status Credits to the beneficiary. This means that one family member can earn elite status within the Velocity programme much faster by having the whole family’s flights count toward status.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members with Gold elite status can create a Household Account and link a maximum of nine Flying Club Memberships with the same household address as the Gold Member. All miles earned by Household Account-linked members will automatically transfer to the Gold Member’s account after each mileage transaction is complete, but each member will earn their own Tier Points toward earning elite status.

ANA

The ANA Mileage Club permits Family Accounts for its members who reside outside of its home country of Japan. Those ANA members outside of Japan can register two to eight members — including the head member — for a Family Account. Eligible members can be a spouse, partner or relatives within two degrees of kinship. This means that a grandchild or a grandparent would be eligible members of your Family Account, but not a great-grandparent or great-grandchild.

There’s a registration fee of 1,000 miles to add members to the Family Account. Mileage is accrued by each ANA Mileage Club member’s number and then combined to book awards as needed. To use ANA Family Account miles to book an award on a partner airline, the members contributing miles must have accrued miles on at least one ANA international flight within the last three years.

Japan Airlines

The Japan Airlines JAL Family Club permits family pooling for miles and is open to JAL members who reside outside Japan. A JAL Family Club can have up to nine family members including the Primary Member’s spouse, children, parents and spouse’s parents. There is a 1,000-mile fee for each added member to the Family Club, as well as a 1,000-mile renewal fee every five years.

Korean Air

The Korean Air Skypass programme permits up to five family members to join their Family Plan. Eligible family members include a spouse, children, parents, siblings, parents-in-law, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandparents and grandchildren. You must submit documents showing proof of the relationship, and these can take a couple of weeks to process.

When pooling family mileage, you can designate the amount of mileage to pool. The Family Plan may not apply to some of the award programmes. Certain types of awards, such as SkyTeam awards, cannot be booked via the Skypass Family Plan.

Qatar Airways

The Qatar Airways Family Programme allows members to nominate up to nine family members to their Privilege Club membership, including a spouse, children older than two years old and their parents. You’re required to attach documentation of the relationship with the application form.

All Qmiles earned by family members are credited to the main member’s account, but family members’ flight activities don’t earn Qpoints towards status. Once added, family members cannot be replaced for 24 months. However, family members more than 12 years old can delink from the family account and have their own membership accounts as main members. The Qmiles earned before delinking will remain in the main member’s account.

Related: Ultimate guide to the Qatar QSuite

Qsuite seat (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
Qsuite seat (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Aeromexico

Aeromexico allows families to create a Club Premier Family Group to transfer points between eligible accounts free of charge. Membership in a Family Group is limited to spouses and children. The last names on the accounts must match, or you can write to soporte@clubpremier.com to qualify your legal guardianship in other cases.

Children in the Family Group account must be under 21 years of age, though members can delink their accounts from the Family Group once they turn 18 years of age if they wish.

Alitalia

The Italian-based Alitalia MilleMiglia frequent flyer programme doesn’t have family pooling in the traditional sense, but it does have a feature for children 2 to 13 years old where the miles they earn on Alitalia flights are funnelled directly into one parent’s frequent flyer account. Then when the child turns 14 years of age, the link automatically ends, and the teenager can earn miles in his or her own account via the MilleMiglia Young programme, complete with up to 4,000 bonus miles to get them started.

Air France

(Photo by Joel Carillet / Getty Images)
(Photo by Joel Carillet / Getty Images)

The Air France Flying Blue programme has a Share & Fly option that allows you to share miles with any additional cardholders on a Flying Blue American Express credit card.

Turkish Airlines

Miles&Smiles, the Turkish Airlines frequent flyer programme, permits families to collect miles into a Family membership, provided that the head member has the airline’s Classic Plus elite status or higher. A family membership allows the miles from the head member, his or her spouse and unmarried children under 25 to pool together as “Family Miles.”

With a family membership, all of your family members’ miles earned from Turkish Airlines flights, Star Alliance member flights and programme partners will be added to your Classic Plus account. Each family member will have his or her own account, and activities of family members will be added as Bonus Miles to the Classic Plus member’s account. The flights of family members will be added to their own account as “Status Miles” to let them upgrade their membership level.

To open a family membership, you must complete a feedback form and send it along with photocopies of the marriage certificate and ID cards relating to your family members (partner and children), their Turkish ID numbers and a signed request that includes your full address, telephone and email.

Aegean

Aegean allows its Silver and Gold elite members to activate a Together account and add up to five members, regardless of the additional members’ elite status levels. All of the award miles earned by Together members are automatically transferred to the head member’s account. Individual members retain their own elite qualifying miles, but redeemable miles get pooled into one head account.

Qantas

Qantas allows the transfer of points to eligible family members such as spouse, parents, domestic partner, child, sibling, grandparents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. You can transfer 5,000 – 600,000 points per transfer with an unlimited number of transfers each year, up to a max of 600,000 points. Family transfers don’t count as a valid activity for point expiration purposes.

Norweigan Reward

Norweigan Reward allows up to seven members to pool CashPoints into one account. While the programme was designed with families in mind, it can be used by friends, too. When joining or creating a Family Account, you accept being part of it for at least three months, and know that if you leave the family account, you won’t be able to take any of the pooled points with you. Children under 16 can be Family Account members and can leave the pool once they turn 16 if they wish.

A guardian can set up a child account at Norwegianreward.com/household.

Photo by Westend61 / Getty Images
Photo by Westend61 / Getty Images

Bottom line

As you can see, not all airlines and frequent flyer programmes permit families to share and pool miles in the same way. But, thankfully, there are a growing number of programmes that do permit families to put their miles together in a variety of ways to achieve that next award flight faster. So if you’re collecting miles for each of your family members, consider whether you might be better off putting all your eggs in one basket.

Feature image by Granger Wootz/Getty Images

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