Want to merge you points with someone else’s so you can redeem a reward? Not all programs make this free and easy. (Skip ahead for our list of programs that let you transfer points to others).
If you’re hoping to join forces with a spouse, friend or family member to earn your next reward trip, here’s what to know.
First, why would you want to pool points?
Those traveling together might have several good reasons for wanting to combine their points or miles.
1. Neither party has quite enough for a reward: Redeeming for a rewards night or flight for two isn’t as easy as splitting the check at a restaurant; only one rewards account can make the redemption.
Let’s say your chosen reward hotel stay requires 24,000 points. You’ve accrued 20,000 with your rewards card, and your travel buddy has 4,000. Your points combined yield a free vacation. So, transferring the other person’s points into your account (or vice versa) before redeeming is necessary.
2. One of you has elite benefits: Perhaps only one person has a hotel card that gives automatic elite status, or has achieved elite status with an airline. To take advantage of the elite perks (which might include seat upgrades for airlines or late check-out for hotels), the person with status needs to book the reward. If that person is short on points, the other person will need to move some points over.
3. One person has a card with special benefits: You have a Chase Freedom, while your spouse has the Sapphire Preferred, which allows point transfers to various hotel and airline partners. Both of those cards are part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. You might transfer over all the points you earned with the Freedom from your Ultimate Rewards account to your spouse’s, in order to use the point-transfer perk for an upcoming flight.
Programs that let you combine points
Some rewards programs allow you to mix points for free with anyone, while others require both parties to be married to each other.
Here are a few examples of programs and their rules, as of November 2015 (along with screen shots from the relevant terms and conditions). Keep in mind that these terms are subject to change at any time.
The rules: You can transfer from your Capital One rewards account to any other, for free:
Participating cards: ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier, Prestige, Chairman
The rules: You can share your points with anyone who has a ThankYou account (up to 100,000 points per calendar year), for no fee. However, shared points expire 90 days after they’re received.
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Participating cards: Sapphire Preferred, Ink cards
The rules: You can transfer for free, but ONLY to a spouse or domestic partner.
Starwood Preferred Guest
Participating cards: Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express (a CreditCardForum advertising partner)
The rules: You can transfer to someone who resides at the same address, as long as they’ve resided at that address for at least 30 days.
Participating cards: Marriott Rewards Premier card
The rules: Marriott recently made its point-sharing program far more flexible (compared with its previous rules). Now, you can transfer at least 1,000 points (up to 50,000 per year) to any other Marriott Rewards member for a fee of $10. If you are a Gold or Platinum member, this fee will be waived.
Hyatt Gold Passport
Participating cards: Hyatt Rewards card
The rules: You can combine points once every 30 days with any Hyatt Gold Passport member at no cost when redeeming a specific reward. To do so, you must email, fax or mail in “Point Combining Request” form (posted on Hyatt’s website):
(This offer is temporarily unavailable on CreditCardForum. The following information is for reference only)
Participating cards: British Airways Visa Signature
The rules: British Airways allows you to create a “Household Account” with up to seven people who live at your address. Any member over 18 can redeem for rewards. One person is designated as Head of the Household and can add or remove members. In addition, a Household Account can add up to five other people for whom members can redeem reward flights.
Participating cards: JetBlue card
The rules: Up to two adults and five children (under 21) can share a Family Pooling account. Only the person designated as Head of Household can redeem award flights. Each member of the Family Pooling account can request a one-time free transfer of points from the family account into their individual accounts. All members must agree to contribute at least 10 percent of all the TrueBlue points they earn to the family account.
Participating cards: Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard, Hawaiian Airlines Business MasterCard
The rules: Cardholders can transfer miles to other cardholder for free. Each cardholder may receive up to 10 transfers each calendar year.
Updated Sept. 19, 2016