What You Need to Know About Redeeming Airline Miles With Family and Friends

Whether you want to gift frequent flyer miles to a family or friend (or want to earn points yourself), there are a few things you need to know so you don’t lose out on a lot.

According to CreditCards.com :

  • Most major US airlines charge transfer fees , so this practice makes little sense.
  • Most frequent flyer programs have severe restrictions on mileage conversion.
  • In some cases, you will only be able to share them with family members.
  • In some cases, these family members must also live in your home.
  • Many international airlines that allow mileage sharing also allow reward points to be transferred from credit card reward programs such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards.

Domestic carriers including American, Delta, Southwest and United charge a commission if you wish to combine your points. And CreditCards.com says the commission is pretty high, “usually around one cent per mile plus handling fees.” In that case, you might be better off keeping them with you or buying a ticket for someone else with your points.

Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue and Sun Country Airlines are three domestic carriers that allow you to share points without commission on CreditCards.com. In fact, JetBlue allows you to create family pools as part of its reward program. You can register up to two adults and up to five children and all your points will be pooled, which can then be redeemed for flights and other packages. The program of Sun Country UFly lets you free combine points with nine other people (they do not necessarily have to be members of the family).

It is clear, however, that the destinations and flights of these smaller airlines will be more limited. International carriers such as British Airways and Lufthansa also allow members to earn points free of charge.

You can also donate your points , depending on the airline. Southwest, for example, allows donations to be made through its online portal. You choose a charity and the number of points you want to donate and receive a transaction receipt (donating commission is not necessary, at least with Southwest ).


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