British Airways offers family accounts. You can link up to 7 frequent flyer accounts, and all the points get pooled together when you redeem awards. The catch is that when you create a family account you can only redeem points for people to travel who are a part of the grouped family. (You can dissolve a family account and recover the flexibility to redeem points for whomever you wish.)
These family accounts are hardly unique to BA. Air Canada, JetBlue, Frontier, Air France, and Asiana (among others) offer forms of family pooling.
There’s another way to combine miles and that’s literally to move the points from one account to another. Airlines usually charge a fee for this (Hawaiian Airlines allows it for free if you have their co-brand credit card).
- A common fee is a penny per point. This is pretty outrageous, since no new miles are being created. They’re really selling you miles at a discount, and taking miles away from you at the same time.
- Some airlines will make it worthwhile by offering transfer bonuses, for instance Avianca LifeMiles does this occasionally. By giving you more than double the points when you transfer, the price can be worth it.
Interestingly, British Airways has reduced the price they charge for transfers. By a lot.
BA’s Executive Club now charges just $20 to move 1,000 – 27,000 Avios between accounts. That’s as little as 7.5/100ths of a cent per point. (Gold members can still do these transfers for free.) They used to charge tens times this much to make a transfer, e.g. $200 for 25,000 points.
You can transfer up to 162,000 points out of an account in a year, but you cannot send more than 27,000 into a single account each calendar year.
One interesting use here is to get people you know to sign up for BA credit cards and transfer the points to you, or to accumulate in their shopping portal. Make friends with travelers on the plane and ask them for their miles? Most people will be able to have all the flexibility they need from BA’s family pooling options. However low-cost transfers are a nice addition to the program.
(HT: Head For Points)