Frequent flyer programs are a huge benefit to people who fly often or even just a few times per year on the same airline. While it can take some time to build up your points, you will be able to redeem them for free flights.
If you are trying to build up your miles faster, you may be wondering if there are ways to do so. Such as, can someone else use my frequent flyer number?
The short answer is no; someone else cannot use your frequent flyer number to earn you points on their flights.
When you use a frequent flyer number to register your flights, the name and birthday on the account must match the name and birthday of the person flying.
So, if you are a frequent flyer member, you can earn points on your ticket, but not anyone else’s, even if they are on the same flight reservation as you. They can use their own number, and you can both earn points, but under separate accounts.
However, there are ways that you can share or give your miles to other people. The next section explains the benefits of sharing your frequent flyer miles with your friends and family. Then, there is information on how sharing and transferring points work with different airlines.
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Benefits of Sharing Frequent Flyer Miles
Sharing miles is beneficial if you need a few more miles to redeem them or if you and another person have a lot of points and want to combine them to redeem a bigger reward.
For example, say you have fifty thousand miles and want to book a flight to Brazil worth sixty thousand miles. Instead of waiting to earn ten thousand more miles, you can have your family member transfer you ten thousand of their miles, so you can book the award flight.
Or, say you and your best friend both have many miles, and you want to combine them to book a nice flight to Asia. You can combine your points and book your flights under the same reservation using the miles.
While you can’t use your frequent flyer number to earn points on your friends’ flights, they can earn points using their frequent flier number. Then you can share the points between accounts.
So how do you share frequent flyer miles with other people? Well, it depends on the airline. Some let you share them freely, and others require you to transfer them to another person.
The next few sections will help you understand the policy for sharing your frequent flyer miles from different airlines.
Frequent Flyer Programs That Allow Points to be Shared
There might not be much to write here or at all, but I’m planning to add a table with the different programs that are available.
From my research, JetBlue is the only US airline that allows point sharing among members. I added information on that, but other airlines make you transfer the points which I highlighted in the next sections.
JetBlue has one of the best point-sharing programs among US airlines. Their Points Pooling program allows up to seven members to share their points.
With Points Pooling, everyone’s points are automatically added to the pool when they join. There are no transfer fees among people in the pool, which is a huge benefit compared to other airlines’ mile-sharing programs.
Anyone 21 and older can start a JetBlue points pool, and they must add at least one other person to the pool. The pool creator can then redeem the points themselves or give the other members access to the points.
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Can I Give my Frequent Flyer Points to Someone Else?
Yes, a majority of airlines will let you transfer your points between flyer accounts. However, there are restrictions or fees that you might need to pay to transfer your points.
Each airline has different rules regarding how you can transfer your points to other people. Here are some of the most common airlines in the US and their rules regarding transferring frequent flyer miles.
- Alaska Airlines: You can transfer up to 100,000 points in or out of a single account each year. Here is the transfer policy from the Alaska Airlines website: “You can transfer 1,000 to 30,000 miles in increments of 1,000 miles at a cost of $10.00 per 1,000 miles, plus a $25.00 processing fee per transaction.”
- American Airlines: The maximum number of points you can transfer per year is 200,000 from or into a single account. The fees you have to pay to transfer AAdvantage points can vary, but they are typically around $15 per thousand miles.
- Delta: Delta restricts the number of SkyMiles transferred out of an account in a single year to 150,000 and the maximum amount transferred into an account per year at 300,000. Delta lists the fees on their website as $0.01 per mile: $0.01 with a processing fee per transaction of $30.00.
- Southwest Airlines: The maximum number of miles you can transfer into or out of an account per day is 60,000. Southwest charges a fee of $10 per thousand miles transferred between accounts.
- United Airlines: You can transfer anywhere from 500 to 100,000 miles between United’s MileagePlus accounts. According to the United website, “Miles transfers cost $7.50 USD per 500 miles plus a processing fee of $30.00 per transaction.”
How Long Does it Take to Transfer Flyer Points?
The time that it takes to transfer points between accounts will vary depending on the airline. Typically it will take up to a few days for the points to show up in the new account.
Delta will transfer your points in as little as twenty-four hours. On United, you can expect to wait up to forty-eight hours for the transfer to take place. Alaska Airlines, American, and Southwest will take up to seventy-two hours to transfer your points between accounts.
Make sure you plan ahead if you are transferring points to book flights immediately. Flight prices can change with no warning, and that is true for how much you pay in miles as well. Learn more about whether or not flights get cheaper closer to the date.
Is it Worth Transferring Miles if There are Fees?
The fees that you have to pay for transferring miles on most airlines are high. You need to consider the cost of transferring the miles and whether or not it will be worth it when the new miles holder redeems them.
For example, say you are paying $10 to transfer one thousand miles. If the one thousand miles that you transfer will be the difference between booking an award flight and paying full price for the flight, the cost is low enough that the transfer is worth it.
However, say you are transferring eighty thousand miles to a friend, which would cost $800 in fees. You and your friend need to consider whether or not the transfer of the points is worth paying $800. You could likely use that $800 to pay for a flight instead of transferring and using miles.
Ten dollars per thousand miles is low compared to many airlines, so this situation could cost you even more, making the transfer even more expensive.
If you just need to transfer a few thousand miles, it may be worth paying the fees. But, the fees can increase quickly when you want to transfer more than a few thousand miles. You need to do the math and decide whether or not the transfer is worth it.
If you want to avoid paying a fee when you transfer miles, you should use one of the following airlines and their specific programs that waive transfer fees:
- JetBlue: No transfer fees when using the Points Pooling Program
- Hawaiian Airlines: Anyone who has a Hawaiian Airlines credit card can transfer points for free
Even if you have to pay fees to transfer miles, you can save money in other ways when you travel. Read our 28 Tips to Save you Money which are great for budget travel.
Best Frequent Flyer Programs
Based on the overall program benefits, these are the top three frequent flyer programs from US airlines.
1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Alaska Airlines’ program is the best since it offers so many ways to earn points, and the points earned are higher than other airlines. Mileage Plan members earn an average of thirty percent more miles on their flights.
Unlike other airlines, you earn miles based on the distance you fly, not how much you spend to fly. Even less frequent flyers can benefit from the mileage plan since they reward you for the distance traveled.
You can redeem your miles on Alaska Airlines flights or with one of their Oneworld Alliance members to more than one thousand destinations worldwide. You can also use your miles to book hotel stays at more than four hundred thousand hotels or upgrade your seat to first class.
2. United MileagePlus
Another great frequent flyer program is United MileagePlus. Any miles you earn on United never expire, so you do not need to worry about how often you travel.
In addition to flying on United, you can earn miles when you fly with Star Alliance members, when you stay with their partner hotel brands, and when you use their shopping and dining reward programs.
United has the most destinations that are eligible for award travel out of all of the US airlines. They also offer members the most options for redeeming miles.
You can redeem your MileagePlus miles for flights, hotel stays, cruises, and rental cars. If you want to use them for something other than travel, you can buy items in their online shopping portal, redeem them for gift cards, or attend MileagePlus events like concerts and sporting events.
3. Delta SkyMiles
The third great frequent flyer program is Delta SkyMiles. You earn miles when you fly with Delta or any of their airline partners. You can also earn bonus miles with a Delta credit card or with special mile promotions.
Your SkyMiles never expire, and you can redeem them for flights to more than one thousand destinations around the world. When you redeem your miles, you can use a combination of miles and cash to book your award travel, and there are no blackout dates when you book your reward travel with Delta.