|by Jason Steele|
Thanks to the recent promotion from British Airways and Chase, myself and two other of my family members will be receiving the 100,000 miles in British Airways Executive Club. That’s a lot of miles, but it won’t get you everywhere even if you are traveling alone. In order to really utilize these miles, it would be best if you could collect them into a single account. Fortunately, British Airways is one of the few programs that will allow you to do that. Their Executive Club program has a feature called household accounts where multiple people can pool their miles together. This program is unique to my knowledge in that redemptions will be deducted equally from all of the accounts in the household. They also restrict you from adding or removing more than one person every six months.
Other Programs That Allow You To Share Miles
Hawaiian airlines program has traditionally allowed family members to share miles between accounts. At some point, they changed the rules to require that the account holders have their credit card. The Starwood Hotels Preferred guest program also allows people to share miles between family members living at the same house. This is in keeping with so many of the amazing features of the Starwood program. Since you get a 5,000 point bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to miles, you would be crazy not to pool your miles in order to get the bonus. Keep in mind that transfers can take a few days with their program. I am sure that there are some other programs that allow this, but these are the only ones I know of. None of the major domestic airlines allow these free transfers of miles.
Other Options To Share Miles
In many cases, sharing miles is unnecessary. There is absolutely nothing wrong with redeeming an award from your account in the name of someone else.If you do not have enough miles in one account for the award you are looking to redeem, consider booking multiple one-way awards from different accounts. Most programs now allow one way awards, although you they may not allow you to book them online.
The only problem with redeeming an award for someone else is when you sell or barter the miles. Doing so is not illegal, it is merely against the rules of just about every loyalty program. If caught, the airlines are within their rights to void the ticket and suspend your account. The airlines are far more likely to catch you doing so if the person flying on the award is not flying with the account holder and he or she has a different last name. In those circumstances, it may be wise to provide that person with a gift letter stating that the award is provided without any compensation or consideration. Include your name and your contact information on that letter.
It is fairly common for people in my family to give each other mileage awards. Certainly we expect to be repaid by each other, but short of subjecting us to a polygraph, I am not sure how the airlines would ever prove these are not gifts. As far as I am concerned, their rules cannot apply to our intentions which are none of their business.
Paying To Give Or Transfer Miles
The airlines are happy to charge you to transfer your miles to another person’s account. The prices they charge just to transfer existing miles are often more than a reasonable person would value those miles to be. On occasion, some airlines will offer additional bonus miles for these transactions that can make it worth your while under the right circumstances. US Airways has offered such generous transfer bonuses that some have found it worth their money to transfer miles back and forth between each other.
So whatever you do, always be sure to investigate the possibilities of pooling your resources when you are planning an award. Your airline may not have a free way to do so, but there are other creative ways to utilize all your available miles to get you to your destination.