Skip to content

Quick points: Book award travel faster by pooling your points

May 06, 2022
5 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Apart from credit card sign-up bonuses, it can sometimes be difficult to earn enough points and miles for a free flight or hotel night. This is particularly true for families or infrequent travelers who generally accrue small amounts of points and aren't particularly loyal to one program.

Transferring points between members can be costly. Thankfully, however, some programs allow you to combine (or pool) your points for free. You may not be able to do much with your points on your own, but when pooled from multiple accounts, you could have enough for a redemption.

Here's an overview of when you should pool your points and which major programs allow this.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

When you should pool your points

By transferring your Marriott points to a friend, the two of you might have enough points for a night at Pine Cliffs, a Luxury Collection Resort. (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

Pooling your points and miles can make sense in several scenarios. For one, as previously alluded to, it's useful if you don't have many points yourself but have friends or family members who can give you a boost. For instance, 15,000 miles spread across four family members' accounts isn't very useful, but when pooled together, could be enough for a free flight.

Another time it can make sense to pool your points is if you're traveling with someone and they have a higher status than you. For example, if you and a friend are planning a Marriott stay and they have Platinum Elite status while you have no status, you should book the entire stay from their account. This way, you'll receive elite benefits like free breakfast that you wouldn't have received if you made the booking from your account.

Lastly, if you are thinking about canceling a credit card, you might forfeit unused points. By transferring your points to another member, you could avoid letting your hard-earned points go to waste.

Programs that allow points to be pooled

Airlines

(Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy)

Of the U.S. airlines, only JetBlue, Frontier and Hawaiian allow some version of award pooling. There are also a number of international carriers that allow pooling, including Air Canada, Air France and KLM (Flying Blue) and British Airways.

For the most up-to-date list of airlines that allow pooling, see this guide.

Hotels

The Andaz Singapore. (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

With the exception of IHG One Rewards, most major hotel chains allow you to share or pool points at no charge.

  • Marriott Bonvoy: You can transfer up to 100,000 points and receive up to 500,000 points from another member per calendar year. While both account holders will need to call Marriott Bonvoy together to transfer points, the transfer is generally instantaneous.
  • World of Hyatt: Every 30 days, you are allowed to participate in up to one point sharing activity. While you'll need to complete and send this form (PDF link) to Hyatt, point transfers do not have limits. If you're a Globalist member, note that Guest of Honor bookings are intended to be a gift and you shouldn't be reimbursed points from the other member.
  • Hilton Honors: You can pool points with up to 10 other members (for a maximum of 11 people in the group). Each member is able to contribute up to 500,000 points to the pool, and no member can receive more than 2 million points from the pool. You can make up to six pooling transactions per calendar year.

Credit cards

(Photo by The Points Guy)
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: Chase allows points to be transferred to a member of your household. Of course, this policy is inherently limiting as you can't transfer points to anyone who doesn't reside with you.
  • American Express Membership Rewards: American Express doesn't allow Membership Rewards points to be transferred. The only exception to this rule is if you have had an authorized user on your card for at least 90 days, in which case you can transfer your points directly to their airline or hotel accounts.
  • Citi ThankYou Rewards: Citi allows you to transfer up to 100,000 points per calendar year between ThankYou Rewards accounts. However, your friend will only have 90 days to use your shared points from the time that the points are received, so you should only transfer points if your friend has a plan to use them within three months.
  • Capital One miles: At the time of writing, you'll need to call Capital One to do it, but you can share Capital One miles without fees or limits. This is a great way to transfer your Capital One miles to someone else before you close your account.

Related: The best travel credit cards

Bottom line

Pooling your points can help push you over the threshold and subsequently have enough miles for a free trip. From enjoying elite benefits to saving points that would have otherwise been forfeited, it's worth your while to familiarize yourself with the policies related to pooling your points.

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski.

Featured image by Grand Hyatt Kauai (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases