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What to Know About Sharing Airline Miles With Family and Friends

Alicia Adamczyk Aug 10, 2018. 2 comments

If you want to gift your frequent flyer miles to a family or friend (or would like to accept the points yourself), there are a few things you should know so that you don’t lose out on a ton of value.

According to CreditCards.com:

  • Most major U.S. airlines charge transfer fees that make the practice barely worthwhile.
  • Most frequent flyer programs place heavy restrictions on miles transfers.
  • In some cases, you’ll only be able to share these with family members.
  • In some cases, too, those family members must live in your home.
  • 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.

Domestic carriers, including American, Delta, Southwest and United, charge a fee if you want to pool your points. And CreditCards.com reports the fee is rather high: “usually, around one cent per mile, plus processing fees.” In that case, you might be better off keeping them to yourself, or buying a ticket for someone else with your points.

Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue and Sun Country Airlines are three domestic carriers that let you share points sans fee, per CreditCards.com. In fact, JetBlue lets you set up family pooling as part of its rewards program. You can sign up two adults and up to five children, and all of your points will be pooled, which can then be redeemed for flights and other packages. Sun Country’s UFly program lets you pool points with up to nine other people (they don’t have to be family members) for free.

Obviously, though, destinations and flights will be more restricted with these smaller airlines. International carriers like British Airways and Lufthansa also let members pool points for free.

You can also typically donate your points , depending on the airline. Southwest, for example, lets you donate through their online portal. You select the charity and how many points you want to donate, and you’ll receive a receipt for the transaction (there’s no fee to donate, at least with Southwest).

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