25 airlines that allow families to pool miles
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Frequent flyer programs were historically designed so that the person who is sitting in an airplane seat on an eligible paid ticket would be the one who earns the miles toward elite status and that next sweet award ticket redemption.
But the origins of frequent flyer programs are now 40 years behind us, and the way people travel has changed. Families are able to fly much more frequently together today than they were in the early 1980s.
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And as a result of flying more, kids earn frequent flyer miles. 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 programs have become more family-friendly in this regard than others. The four largest U.S. frequent flyer programs — American AAdvantage, United MileagePlus, Delta SkyMiles and Southwest Rapid Rewards — still don’t permit families to pool their miles. But some other frequent flyer programs do allow families to pool miles, both within the U.S. and internationally.
US 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 program, and that’s why we’re leading our list with …
JetBlue is the most family-friendly frequent flyer program 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 (must be age 21 or older) 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.
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 the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®. If you 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. The information for the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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.
The Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles program does not offer family pooling in the traditional sense. However, it permits HawaiianMiles members to share their miles with a Hawaiian Airlines primary credit or debit cardholder free of charge. There are no minimums or maximums on the number of miles that can be transferred. However, Hawaiian Airlines debit or credit cardholders may only receive 10 transactions in a calendar year.
This method of sharing miles could work for a family if one person has an eligible Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard, and the other family members send their miles to that cardholder’s account as needed.
The information for the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
International 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, 22 international carriers have some form of points pooling. Some of these carriers may not be on your radar, but some are likely familiar to anyone with an intermediate knowledge of points and miles.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to qualify your legal guardianship in other cases.
Children in the Family Group account must be under 21 years of age and only the account holder can break the links of the accounts of their children, except when the child is over 18.
Air Canada’s Aeroplan
Aeroplan recently overhauled its frequent flyer program with largely neutral to positive changes. One of the positive changes was the introduction of Family Sharing 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 earned before the Family Sharing account was created.
Once the family has accumulated enough points, they can use the shared pool to redeem awards for each family member. 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 program 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.
The Air France Flying Blue program has a Share & Fly option that allows you to share miles with any additional cardholders on a Flying Blue American Express credit card. While this may be very helpful for some international members of the Flying Blue program, it won’t help many U.S.-based members, as Flying Blue Amex cards aren’t available within the United States.
Air India has a family pooling program, known as Mera Parivar. It allows two or more individual members — who are related to each other — to link their individual accounts for automatic transferring and pooling with the head of the account. The head of the account is the only member authorized to redeem points from the pool.
There can be a maximum of nine members in the pool and children must be at least 2 years of age.
There’s one major caveat to the pooling program — the head of the family pooling account must be an Indian resident. However, members who are not Indian nationals or Indian residents can still join a family pool.
The Italian-based Alitalia MilleMiglia frequent flyer program doesn’t have family pooling in the traditional sense. It does have a feature for children 2 to 13 years old where the miles they earn on Alitalia flights are funneled directly into one parent’s frequent flyer account. 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 program, complete with up to 4,000 bonus miles to get them started.
The ANA Mileage Club permits Family Accounts for its members who reside outside 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.
Related: Ultimate guide to ANA Mileage Club
Asiana Airlines allows up to eight family members to be part of their Family Mileage Plan, which can include the family representative’s spouse, children, parents, paternal/maternal grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and parents of the spouse.
You’ll need to submit a Family Mileage Plan registration form and proof of family relationships.
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 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 people added to your list who don’t live within your household.
The Etihad Guest program 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, stepparents, stepchildren, stepsiblings, stepgrandchildren, 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 members above 13 years old will receive an email for them to accept the request. Members under 13 years old will be included in the household without email acceptance.
Related: Ultimate guide to Etihad partners
With the Emirates My Family program, up to eight family members ages 2 and up with an eligible family relationship may participate. This includes a husband, wife, partner, mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son, stepson, daughter, stepdaughter, brother, sister, granddaughter, grandson and domestic helper.
Members of the Etihad My Family program can pool in all or just a percentage of their Skywards miles earned on Emirates flights as well as miles earned from other partners. Family members may be requested to provide Emirates Skywards with additional proof of their relationship to the head member.
Star Alliance partner EgyptAir offers a unique family program 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.
You must email a copy of each potential member’s passport to customeraff@ and specify their relationship to you. The family member must be at least 2 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.
The Japan Airlines JAL Family Club permits family pooling of miles and is open to JAL members who reside outside of Japan. A JAL Family Club can have up to nine family members, including the primary member’s spouse, children and parents and the spouse’s parents. There is a 1,000-mile fee for each member added to the Family Club, as well as a 1,000-mile renewal fee every five years.
The Korean Air Skypass program 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 number of miles to pool. The Family Plan may not apply to some of the award programs. Certain types of awards, such as SkyTeam awards, cannot be booked via the Skypass Family Plan.
Lufthansa Miles & More
Lufthansa Miles & More allows mileage pooling for up to two adults and five children for members in select countries. These countries currently are: Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia.
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.
Norwegian Reward allows up to seven members to pool CashPoints into one account. While the program 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 you won’t be able to take any of the pooled points with you if you leave the family account. Children under 16 can be Family Account members and can leave the pool once they turn 16 if they wish.
Qantas doesn’t allow you to pool your points, per se, but they do allow you to transfer points to eligible family members — such as a spouse, parents, domestic partner, child, sibling, grandparents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. — for no fee. You can transfer 5,000-600,000 points per transfer with an unlimited number of transfers each year, up to a maximum of 600,000 points. Family transfers don’t count as a valid activity for point expiration purposes.
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 2 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 primary member’s account, but family members’ flight activities don’t earn Qpoints toward status. Once added, family members cannot be replaced for 24 months. However, family members over the age of 12 can unlink from the family account and have their own membership accounts as main members. The Qmiles earned before unlinking will remain in the primary member’s account.
Related: Ultimate guide to the Qatar QSuite
The latest airline to include a family pooling program is Singapore Airlines. With this brand-new KrisFlyer for Families program, it allows parents and guardians to link their child’s (2 years and older) account to theirs and they’ll then be able to pool miles earned. Up to five child accounts can be linked to one adult account and you can transfer up to 50,000 KrisFlyer miles per child’s account each calendar year.
Unfortunately though, unlike many other programs on the list, there’s a fee to transfer points. It’ll cost $5 or 500 miles for every 5,000 KrisFlyer miles (or part thereof) transferred from your child’s account. That means you are looking at a total cost of $50 or 5,000 miles if transferred in increments of 5,000 miles, up until the 50,000 cap. Compared to the many other domestic airlines that charge a fee, this is still very inexpensive.
Keep in mind though, that you aren’t able to transfer miles from your account to your child’s account. This means that parents are not able to move points around to combine their own points — it’s truly a link only between a single parent and the children. And once an account is linked, it cannot be unlinked until the child is 16 years old.
With this new program, the first 5,000 parents or guardians who link their child’s account to theirs between now and Aug. 31 will earn also 500 bonus miles. However, you can only link a child’s account that has earned at least 1 mile from a flight in the past 36 months.
Miles&Smiles, the Turkish Airlines frequent flyer program, permits families to collect miles into a family membership, provided that the head member has the airline’s Classic Plus elite status or higher. 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 program partners will be added to your Classic Plus account. Each family member will have his or her own account. Family member activities will be counted 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.
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 points toward elite status.
The Virgin Australia Velocity Family Points Pooling program 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 over 18 years old and up to four members under 18 years old.
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 program much faster by having the whole family’s flights count toward status.
As you can see, not all airlines and frequent flyer programs permit families to share and pool miles in the same way. Thankfully, a growing number of programs allow families to put their miles together in various 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.
Additional reporting by Jennifer Yellin
Featured photo by Westend61/Getty Images.
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