The ability to pool points together can make booking award travel a lot easier. Usually frequent flyer programs make you pay a transfer fee (usually about 1 cent per point plus fees), which greatly decreases the value of those points, since these days redemptions are usually between 1 and 2 cents per mile/point (though certain promotions like the current 100% bonus from US Airways can be extremely lucrative if leveraged appropriately).
Today JetBlue announced Family Pooling, which allows up to 2 adults and 5 children to essentially share a single account. A key differentiator between JetBlue’s program and British Airways Household Account is that JetBlue allows you to decide how many points to contribute to the account upfront (for free) versus British Airways that automatically pools all existing points into the Household Account and then proportionately takes points out for redemptions based on each member’s percentage of the total pool. Another big difference is that only two adults can be a part of JetBlue’s Family Pool whereas British Airways lets anyone who has the same account address join a Household, regardless of age.
JetBlue also allows members to set what percentage they want to contribute to the Family Pool on an ongoing basis per transaction. However, any Point transfers you make after accepting the Family Pooling invitation will be subject to the applicable transfer fees and rules.
Other key rules (full list of T&C here):
- Families can consist of up to 2 adults and 5 children. At a minimum, there must be 2 individuals in a Family Pooling account.
- The Head of Household will manage all of the points in their Family Pooling account.
- Any adult can start a Family Pooling account and be the Head of Household. You just have to be a TrueBlue member to get started.
- An adult is anyone over the age of 21. A child is anyone under 21.
- Changes in contributions can be made once a year starting on the date the family account was formed.
- Members are not permitted to join multiple different Family Pooling accounts.
- If you leave a family pooling account or the head of household removes you from the account, your Trueblue points will remain in the family pooling account.
- You must contribute at least 10% of the TrueBlue Points that you earn to the Family Pooling account for every transaction starting after you accept an invitation to the Family Pooling .
- You can only change your contribution percentage one time per year, beginning one year after your family pool creation date
- If you leave a Family Pool, you can’t rejoin that Pool or another one for at least a year
JetBlue seems to be pretty liberal with who can join a Family Pool- on the enrollment list “Friend” is an eligible member, so it does not look like there has to be a same address rule, like British Airways.
Overall, this is a nice way for families to be able to combine points so rewards can be achieved quicker. It is nice to see a waiver of fees too, for initial sign-ups at least. Here is a quick rundown of other loyalty programs that allow some sort of pooling from our recent post on Maximizing Family Travel. Feel free to comment if I missed any!
British Airways. The Avios program has a household accounts feature that allows members to pool miles between up to 7 residents at the same address. Interestingly, points are also redeemed across members of the household, so be sure to calculate your mileage usage before any redemptions. Read more about these features in this post on Maximizing British Airways Avios Series: Household Accounts.
Etihad. The Etihad Guest Programme allows family members to pool miles in one account. Families nominate a Family Head and up to eight Family Guests. Have a look at this post for the other basics of the Etihad Guest Programme.
Hawaiian. The Hawaiian Miles program offers the Share Miles feature, but only to holders of their credit or check cards.
Japan. The JAL Family Club allows members to share miles between relatives at different households. There is a $30 fee per family that is charge to the account of the designated “Primary Member”.
Korean. Immediate family members can combine SkyPass miles to issue awards.
Qantas. Travelers can combine miles between eligible members of their extended family once every 12 months with a maximum of 100,000 miles per transfer.
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