Quick points: Save miles on infant and child award tickets with these 3 programs

May 13, 2022

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Traveling with little ones can be costly. Saving enough miles for one or two award seats can be difficult enough — but when you have a family, you suddenly need miles for three, four, five or more seats.

Most airlines allow you to bring a lap infant under the age of 2 on board free of charge when flying within the United States. However, when traveling internationally, airlines typically generally charge 10% of the adult price for that privilege. Fortunately, some frequent flyer programs have more family-friendly policies than others. 

Today we’ll take a quick look at some of the best airline programs for planning award travel with infants and children.

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Best programs for lap infants

Air Canada
(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Air Canada Aeroplan

Air Canada Aeroplan offers by far one of the most generous lap infant policies.

Aeroplan requires just $25 CAD or 2,500 miles for a lap infant to fly with you, even on long-haul premium cabin flights. You can also book your lap infant right on Air Canada’s website with a paying adult, so you won’t have to call.

You can transfer points to Aeroplan from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Bilt and Marriott Bonvoy.

Related: How Aeroplan’s Family Sharing prevents ‘gaming’ while letting you rack up rewards faster

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Another good option for lap infant awards is Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Lap infants on Flying Club award bookings are charged the following rates:

  • Economy: 1,000 miles per sector, plus taxes/fees.
  • Premium Economy: 2,000 miles per sector, plus taxes/fees.
  • Upper Class: 5,000 miles per sector, plus taxes/fees.
Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class
(Photo by Nicholas Ellis/The Points Guy)

You can transfer miles to Flying Club from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, Bilt and Marriott Bonvoy.

Related: Save money on lap infants by booking awards through Virgin Atlantic

Honorable mentions

Asiana Club, British Airways Executive Club and Korean Air SkyPass charge 10% of the adult award price plus taxes/fees for lap infants. Depending on the cost of your award ticket, these can be solid booking options as well.

Related: Avoid spending hundreds of dollars to fly holding your baby: tips for lap infant award travel

Best programs for kids

Most airlines do not offer discounts for children’s award tickets. After all, if a seat is occupied by a child, it can’t be sold to a full-fare adult.

There’s one notable exception, however.

Air France/KLM Flying Blue

Flying Blue recently launched its Flying Blue Family program, which allows families to pool their points and save 25% on all non-promotional award tickets for children ages 2-11 in any cabin.

While 25% might not sound too significant, the savings can add up.

For example, a one-way business class flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) on July 11 costs 75,000 Flying Blue miles at the time of writing. The child ticket, however, prices at 56,250 miles. While children will still have the pay the same taxes and fees that the adult pays, the nearly 20,000-mile discount is terrific.

Booking a flight from JFK to CDG
(Screenshot from airfrance.us)

You can transfer points to Flying Blue from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One, Citi ThankYou, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Bilt and Marriott Bonvoy.

Related: How to plan a multigenerational family trip

Bottom line

Traveling with your family can be a special — albeit costly — experience. Some airlines charge more than others for lap infants and child awards, but there are programs like Aeroplan, Flying Club and Air France/KLM Flying Blue that allow you to save.

If you’re traveling with infants or children, you should familiarize yourself with an airline’s policies to ensure you’re getting the best value from your awards while limiting your out-of-pocket expenses. We recommend that you do this before transferring your credit card points, so there are no surprises during the booking process.

To further maximize your family’s travels, check out our guide on pooling miles.

Featured photo by Tang Ming Tung/Getty Images.

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