Can I transfer hotel points to my spouse’s airline account?
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Recently, a friend asked me if it’s possible to transfer points from his Marriott Bonvoy account to his spouse’s Southwest Rapid Rewards account. Specifically, the couple needed a few thousand Southwest points to top-up points for an award ticket and didn’t have Chase Ultimate Rewards points on hand to transfer.
The short answer to this question is no — at least not directly. All the major hotel loyalty programs explicitly require your airline loyalty program to be under the same name as your hotel loyalty account. For example, Marriott’s terms and conditions state the following:
“For most Loyalty Program airline partners, the Points being transferred from a Member’s Marriott Bonvoy Account must be transferred to that Member’s account held in the same name for the frequent flyer program. In other words, both the Member‘s Marriott Bonvoy Membership Account name and airline frequent flyer program account name must match in order to successfully complete the Points to Miles conversion.”
Attempting to transfer points to someone else’s airline account will likely cause the transfer to be immediately rejected. You may also run into account shutdowns if the hotel suspects fraud too, so it’s not worth taking your chances for a few thousand miles.
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Transfer to your spouse’s hotel account first
But not all is lost. You can get around this restriction with hotel loyalty programs that allow members to transfer points between hotel accounts. So, you’d first transfer hotel points to your spouse’s account and then have him or her transfer those points to their respective frequent flyer account.
For example, my friend can transfer his Marriott Bonvoy points to his spouse’s Marriott account. Then, his spouse would transfer those points from her Marriott account to her Southwest account. This results in the same outcome as a direct airline transfer since Marriott points transfer 1:1 between member accounts.
These hotel loyalty programs let you transfer points to other members:
- Best Western Rewards: Members can transfer points to another member with the same physical address. Call Best Western customer service to initiate a points transfer.
- Hilton Honors: Hilton has a points pooling feature that lets up to 11 members create a points pool. Members can share up to 500,000 points and receive up to two million points per year. You can create a Hilton points pool here. All accounts must be active for at least 30 days and have a minimum balance of 1,000 points to pool points.
- IHG Rewards: Members can send and receive as many points as they’d like, but each transfer is charged $5 per 1,000 points sent. This diminishes the value of IHG points, so avoid this option unless you need to transfer a small number of points to top up another account.
- Marriott Bonvoy: Members can transfer up to 100,000 points and receive up to 500,000 points per calendar year. Members can transfer points to any other Marriott member, provided both accounts are in good standing and have each been open for at least 30 days with qualifying activity or 90 days without qualifying activity. Qualifying activity includes earning with hotel stays and credit card spend. Call Marriott to initiate a transfer.
- Radisson Rewards: Members can transfer points to another member in the same household. Both accounts must be open for at least one year and the addresses on both accounts must not have been updated within the 30 days before the transfer. Call Radisson Rewards to initiate a points transfer.
- World of Hyatt: Members can share points and other eligible awards with other members. This includes Free Night and select room upgrade certificates. Fill out this form (PDF link) to transfer points to another World of Hyatt member or call Hyatt to transfer certificates. You can transfer and receive points once every 30 days. Further, the fine print states that you’re allowed to combine “a sufficient number of points to redeem a particular award,” but the form doesn’t ask how you plan to redeem the points.
Most hotel loyalty programs won’t let you transfer your points to a spouse’s airline account directly, but many let you transfer to another hotel account. It’s not the most convenient option, but it can come in handy when you’re a few thousand miles short of an award ticket.
One final word: here at TPG, we don’t usually recommend transferring hotel points to airlines. Most hotels have poor transfer ratios that cause you to lose value on the transfer. That said, it can sometimes make sense if you need to top-up miles for a specific award ticket or want to earn with a hard-to-earn airline program. Always run the numbers and see what works best for your situation.
Feature photo by Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images
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