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Which Points Can Be Combined Between Different People? [2020] Ricky November 25, 2020

Which Points Can Be Combined Between Different People? [2020]

Originally published in 2019, this article has now been updated with the new Aeroplan program’s Family Sharing feature and a new section on Hilton Honors.

For those of you earning points in two-player mode or perhaps with even more participants, there are many occasions when it might be helpful to consolidate all your collective holdings in a loyalty program into one individual’s account.

You might have an uneven number of points across two people’s accounts, and harnessing them all into a single account would allow you to redeem the miles for a flight for both people. Or there might be one person in the household who has earned elite status with a program, and you’d like to make all the bookings under that account in order to fully enjoy the benefits and perks of the status. 

Which types of points can be combined across individuals in this way, and what are the rules you need to know? In this article, let’s answer these questions and maybe pick up a few tricks along the way.

In This Post

Aeroplan: Family Sharing

As of November 2020, the relaunched Aeroplan program offers a Family Sharing program that allows you to easily pool your Aeroplan points with up to eight family members.

Setting up your Family Sharing pool is very simple, and you can do so directly from your Aeroplan dashboard. 

For each member you invite, you’ll need to input their first and last name, Aeroplan number, the familial relationship, and whether or not that family member has the ability to redeem points out of the family pool. They will then receive an email inviting them to join your Family Sharing pool, and have the option to accept or decline.

Once the invitation is accepted, the new member’s points balance instantly pools into the collective Family Sharing pool’s points balance.

All of their future earnings (from credit card signup bonuses, points transfers, flying activity, etc.) will enter the pooled points balance as well, and there is no limit to how many points can be pooled. If you’re in two-player mode, it’s an effortless way to consolidate points that are earned between partners.

(If you often fly as a family, then it’s a great idea to create Aeroplan accounts for the kids as well, since they’ll earn Aeroplan points when flying on paid fares on Air Canada and Star Alliance airlines, which will contribute nicely to the family’s total!)

The most interesting part of Family Sharing is how it works on the redemption side. 

Whenever a Family member redeems Aeroplan points, there is no ability to designate whether those points are deducted from their own points balance or another Family member’s points balance. Instead, the points will come out of all Family members’ balances, and will be deducted proportionally to everyone’s respective points balances.

There are a few rules around joining and leaving a Family Sharing pool:

  • Once a member joins a Family Sharing pool, they must remain in that pool for at least three months.
  • If a member of a Family Sharing pool chooses to exit the group after that three-month period, they are not allowed to join another Family Sharing pool for a period of six months.

In the past, consolidating points between multiple Aeroplan users’ accounts was somewhat tricky, and involved perhaps adding your own Aeroplan number to your spouse’s Aeroplan credit card, or transferring your spouse’s Amex MR points to your own Aeroplan account, or something like that.

Now, with Family Sharing, there’s no need for any of those shenanigans: simply earn points collectively as a family, and you can draw from the pool when it’s time to redeem flights for any member of the family!

British Airways Avios: Household Accounts

British Airways Avios allows you to freely pool points between multiple accounts in the same household through their Household Account feature.

The member who initiates the Household Account process is designated as the “Head of the Household”, and has powers to add additional members to the household (up to six people) or to remove existing members. Note that all members of a Household Account must be registered at the same address.

By setting up a Household Account, every member of the household will have their points balances pooled together, and every member can also make redemptions using this pool of miles. With such an easy way to combine your Avios at your fingertips, you don’t really need to worry about whether or not, say, Amex MR to Avios transfers require the name to match or not. 

Simply transfer everyone’s MR points (or RBC Avion points or HSBC Rewards points, for that matter) into their respective Avios accounts, and your points can then be automatically pooled together through the Household Account feature.

Marriott Bonvoy: Send 100K / Receive 500K Per Year

On the hotel side, Marriott Bonvoy is one of the most popular and easily accessible hotel loyalty programs for Canadians. With Marriott, there’s even more of an incentive to consolidate points into one account, because the perks and qualifying nights associated with your Marriott Bonvoy elite status generally aren’t extended when the booking isn’t coming out of your account. 

For example, consider a couple who both earn Bonvoy points through the Amex Bonvoy personal and business credit cards. The couple elects to make most of their bookings under one person’s account, thus earning valuable Platinum Elite status on this account and enjoying nifty benefits like suite upgrades and free breakfasts.

But if the couple were to redeem points for a stay out of the other person’s account (which has no status), then they wouldn’t enjoy any of the Platinum Elite benefits, and the qualifying nights earned on the stay also wouldn’t go towards re-qualifying for Platinum next year. It’s therefore hugely advantageous for multi-player strategies to pool their Bonvoy points into a single account, to the extent that’s possible.

Now, Marriott Bonvoy itself does allow you to transfer points between accounts in an official capacity. Each account is allowed to send up to 100,000 Bonvoy points per calendar year to other accounts, and is allowed to receive up to 500,000 Bonvoy points per calendar year from other accounts.

You need to call up Marriott Bonvoy over the phone, and they’ll ask you to verify the information on both the sending and receiving accounts before initiating the transfers.

If you need to transfer out more than 100,000 Bonvoy points per calendar year from one individual to another, then you might try experimenting with harnessing points in multiple accounts for a certain individual and then transferring up to 100,000 points from each account on different occasions.

For example, in theory it’s possible for your spouse to collect Bonvoy points with one membership number on their Amex Bonvoy Card, while transferring their Amex MR Select points to another Bonvoy membership number, and then sending points from both accounts over to your own. 

However, keep in mind that having multiple accounts for one individual goes against the terms and conditions of the program, so this practice definitely falls into a bit of a grey area. It might be worthwhile to simply save the excess points to be transferred in the next calendar year instead.

Hilton Honors: Send 500K / Receive 2MM Per Year

Hilton Honors offers a very generous policy for sharing points among a group of travellers. You can add up to 10 other members to your pool and freely transfer Hilton Honors points in increments of 1,000, up to a maximum of 500,000 points sent and 2,000,000 points received per calendar year.

If you and your partner are signing up for the Amex US Hilton credit cards in two-player mode, then pooling your points will allow you to redeem for a single booking out of one account, thus letting you better take advantage of the Fifth Night Free benefit while also being able to book out of the account of the member with the higher status level.

Another way to take advantage of Hilton Honors’s points pooling feature is when Hilton offers 100% promotions to buy points, which allow you to acquire Hilton Honors points for an effective rate of 0.5 US cents per point. These promotions come around pretty regularly, and can be a good way to score an aspirational stay at a fraction of the usual price.

There’s typically a limit on how many points can be bought out of a single account, so that’s where points pooling comes into play, allowing you to skirt around those maximum limits by buying points out of another household member’s account and then pooling it all together.

Other Programs

A few data points on the other loyalty programs that I’ve gathered over the years:

  • There’s no easy way to pool or funnel Alaska miles into the same account, unless you’re willing to pay the fee of US$10 per 1,000 miles transferred. If you try to include an Alaska account number on your MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard application that’s not your own, then MBNA will simply discard that number and create a new Alaska account for you.

     

    Hence, if you’re collecting Alaska miles as a duo, make sure you both earn enough miles in your respective accounts for whatever redemption you’re planning, since it’s not really feasible to transfer miles from one account to the other!

     

    (As discussed in the comments, Alaska members with elite status can occasionally share miles with other accounts at no cost.)
     

  • Many years ago, RBC Avion seemed rather flexible in terms of allowing you to transfer points to accounts that don’t match the name, whether you were transferring out to British Airways Avios, American AAdvantage, WestJet Rewards, etc. Nowadays, however, they seem to be more strict on this, with points being returned to your account if the key details don’t match.
     

  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles does not allow points to be combined into the same account, and they’re also very strict that the names must match the sending account whenever points are transferred from Amex, RBC, or HSBC.
     

  • WestJet Dollars can only be transferred to other members for a fee of $50–59 per transfer, which must be paid over the phone.
     
  • Best Western Rewards is quite generous in terms of pooling points, allowing you to transfer your Best Western Rewards points in unlimited quantities to other accounts that share the same physical address.
     

Conclusion

There are many reasons why those of you who are earning points as a collective effort within the household would find it beneficial to consolidate your earnings in a single household member’s account.

Aeroplan and British Airways Avios do openly allow for this possibility through the Family Sharing and Household Account features, respectively. Meanwhile, on the hotel side, Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors are both happy to allow up to a certain maximum of points transfers.

Beyond that, relatively few programs allow you to pool points without paying a fee for your troubles. Sometimes, though, weaknesses along the points conversion process allow you to send your own points to someone else’s account in a different program; if anyone has additional data points to contribute on these possibilities, feel free to share in the comments below.

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31 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Paul

    Family sharing doesn’t work on the website at least with my account. The page doesn’t resolve. Called up Aeroplan and said they were aware of the problem and planned to have it resolved by Q1 2021. Assume if you want to pool you need to call them.

  2. Avatar
    Emily

    ANA’s mileage program also has a family program, but transaction fee costs 1k miles.

  3. Avatar
    sarah ramkissoon

    i have a family Emirates account. They allow sharing …points are tough to come by other than bonvoy conversions or US credit cards

  4. Avatar
    marcus

    I’ve read in some forum recently that if you want to use WSJ dollars on a single redemption from 2 accounts, if you call them and book over the phone, the agent can technically do it. Seems like YMMV and a good strategy would be to HUCA

    1. Avatar
      C Mac

      I have successfully booked WS flights using WS $$ (and credits) from two accounts, first try no HUCA required. You can also book in someone else’s name from an account, similar to Aeroplan and other programs; no need to transfer $.

  5. Avatar
    Terence Rebello

    Ricky,
    Can you transfer Amex points between husband & wife? Perhaps have one account.

    1. Avatar
      Matt

      No.

  6. Avatar
    Shahmir Durrani

    I think Egypt Air deserves a shout out for being the only(if I’m correct) airline to allow pooling of tier miles in addition to regular miles.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      I’ll be covering this in an upcoming update at Star Alliance Gold 😉

  7. Avatar
    santiago

    Hey Ricky
    PC Points also allow family pooling 🙂

  8. Avatar
    H.C.

    Hi Ricky. I have status and my wife does not. I can purchase Aeroplan flights at a lower point cost than my wife. If we pooled our Aeroplan points, what tiered point cost would we be paying?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Preferred pricing also gets shared across Family Sharing pools, so if you pool your points then your wife would also enjoy the discounted pricing that you see!

    2. Avatar
      Les Dorgo

      you would pay the lowest person in the fmaily. if your P2 books they pay the lower amount as well.

  9. Avatar
    Olivier

    Thanks Ricky for those helpful information. Is it possible to pool with AsiaMiles as it it for British Airways?
    Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      Andrew

      AsiaMiles doesn’t allow pooling of miles. Something else to keep in mind is the strict 3 year expiry date, even with activity. Depending on where your AsiaMiles are coming from, you may want to pool them before transferring them over.

      1. Avatar
        Olivier

        Thanks Andrew. I thought that was the advantage of the creation of a group with them. But can family members book a flight for us? I am trying to get family members involved in my travels… 😉

        1. Avatar
          Andrew

          As far as I know they don’t offer a way to pool points. It looks like they do have a "Redemption Group" which seems like a very strict scheme to limit who you can redeem your points for. If there’s something I’m missing, let me know though!

  10. Avatar
    Muhammad

    Can WJD be combined from Different accounts?

    1. Avatar
      Andrew

      You can transfer WestJet Dollars between accounts, however a nominal fee applies for this ($50-59).

      When paying for a single ticket, WestJet Dollars can’t be combined from multiple accounts. If you have multiple passengers, each ticket can be paid for with different accounts (ie. each passenger redeems their own WestJet Dollars for their own ticket). All of these more complex situations need to be dealt with through the contact center. Hopefully that helps to clear things up!

      1. Avatar
        Muhammad

        Thanks Andrew.

  11. Avatar
    Archie

    Anyone else seeing issues with adding other aeroplan accounts to your Amex account? I used to be able to transfer by adding additional account but no longer see that option. I see a message about contacting customer care instead 🙁

  12. Avatar
    Lailai

    Does RBC check that the address matches on the Avios account?

    1. Avatar
      Andrew

      There’s been data points from individuals that found RBC to check that names match, but not address. Verifying names is probably easier for them since names don’t tend to change while address can change occasionally.

  13. Avatar
    AtomX

    Surprised you didn’t mention Best Western. Transfers in family are free.

    1. Avatar
      Ricky

      Thanks for your input guys. Made a note of both of those.

    2. Avatar
      Andrew

      I’d personally expect Ricky to mention Hilton points before Best Western, but Best Western transfers might be important for 2-player teams churning the MBNA Best Western card.

  14. Avatar
    Gwen Nielsen

    Last year my husband and I had signed up for the RBC Avion with no minimum spending required (major bonus) and no annual fee. I then converted to Avios during bonus time and had actually in error but my Avios number on both accounts to transfer and lo and behold ..the points all appeared in my account.

  15. Avatar
    Fra;nk

    I have never had an issue pooling Air Miles into the same account with multiple BMO WE cards. As for Aeroplan, tried to do the same thing and they automatically generated a new member for my wife instead of using mine so we have to do separate redemptions.

  16. Avatar
    Xtina

    Super helpful tip on the BonVoy points transfer!

    1. Avatar
      Ricky

      Good tip on the Alaska transfer opportunity for elite members. I’ve added a note on that to the article.

Ricky

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