Traveling with loved ones is one of the most memorable experiences you can have. There is nothing more enjoyable than landing halfway around the world while on a free plane ticket. The question is, can you use the miles in your account to book an award flight for another person. The answer is Yes!
There are a number of airlines that allow you to share or transfer your points to another person. What you may have noticed is the incredibly steep fees to transfer your points to others.
Let’s talk about why it might make sense to pay to transfer points.
If your friend is 3,000 points shy of a free flight, it may make sense to pay the $80 or so to send him/her 3,000 of your points and top off their account. Occasionally, airlines will offer a discount or bonus if you share or transfer miles. This type of promotion is rather uncommon, but it may make sense if the bonus is high enough. Generally, the fees involved with transferring points to others is NOT a good option.
If you have plenty of points and are kind enough to share, you CAN book tickets for other. Keep in mind, you do not need to transfer the points to their account to do so, just hang onto them. On the booking page you will just need to input their full legal name, date of birth, and gender. Their name must 100% match what their driver’s license or passport reads, no exceptions.
Make sure to email the itinerary to the flyer so they have the confirmation number. They will need the confirmation number to check into their flight or to make any changes to the details.
Can I sell my points to my friend? The answer is a resounding NO. Every airline loyalty program has very explicit wording stating that you may not trade, barter or sell your points. If the airline caught any wind that you received compensation from booking an award flight for a friend, they will shut down your account and cancel the ticket. Your best option, book award flights for others as a gift.
Who earns the frequent flyer points if I book an award ticket for my friend? This is a trick question! (hehe)
No points are earned if a flight is paid for with points. You are only able to earn FF miles if you pay for a flight with cash/card. Note, the flyer is always the one who earns the points on paid flights, not the person who purchases a ticket. If you use a travel credit card you may earn 2x-3x points for the cost of the ticket, but only the flyer earns miles for the actual flight. If you want to earn points from flying, your butt has to get on the plane, no if’s, and’s, or err…
What about hotels, can I book free nights if I am not staying? The general answer is YES. Most hotels will allow you to use your points and add other guest names to the reservation. On the booking page, many hotels will allow you to input guest names (over 18-21 years old) which would be the name of the person who visits the check in counter first. If you are not going to be staying, don’t put your name as a guest on the reservation. Some hotels state that you, the ‘points’ holder, must occupy the room but it is difficult to enforce, especially if you add a note to the hotel to allow somebody else to check-in. If your hotel doesn’t allow you to use your points for others, you can sometimes just add a note that states “my colleague John Doe will be checking into the room prior to my arrival”. Most hotels will honor that request and never pay attention if you show up or not. Just be sure to input your colleague’s credit card for incidentals ahead of time so they don’t call the room looking for your card info.
Do you have a close friend or family member that is unable to get a travel credit card due to their income or credit history? One thing you might consider is adding them as an authorized user (AU) on your account. Credit cards that earn travel points require a high credit score, but those who are in the process of building their credit can still pitch in with earning points by being an AU. Let’s say that you have a sibling who has some credit issues. Rather than your sibling using a debit card for all their spend – earning no points – you can add them as an authorized user on your account and it will allow them to help earn you points.
Adding an authorized user does not require a credit check, the credit card company will only verify that they aren’t on their internal black list. (usually someone is blacklisted if they have filed a BK including that particular bank). Your sibling could just write you a check each month to cover their portion of expenses. Some cards, like the American Express Delta Platinum card, reward you with 10,000 MQM’s for each year that you spend $25,000 in a calendar year. Those 10k MQM’s count towards your elite status with Delta. Obviously that $25k number is easier to hit with two people spending on the same account.
If your sibling spent $1,500 a month ‘on’ your account – using their card as an authorized user – they would earn 18,000 points in a year. (points from your card and their card would funnel into your account) Having the Hyatt credit card, for example, your sibling would have racked up 18,000 Hyatt points after one year of spending. That is enough points for three free hotel nights at a category 1 Hyatt property. You can use those 18,000 points to book a room on their behalf and reward them for their spending! Keep in mind, if you keep the balances low and pay on time with the shared credit card, it will actually increase their credit score.