The Gift That Gives…Free Travel for Your Family!

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Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. One of the best perks of being a points & miles enthusiast is sharing amazing travel experiences with family and friends!
The Gift That Gives Free Travel For Your Family
Traveling Is Better When You Can Share the Experience With Loved Ones!

Million Mile Secret Agent Susan commented:

Can I use my Capital One Venture miles to fly my grandson to California as a gift?

And Agent PJ asked:

Are there any restrictions on booking a Southwest flight using my Citi ThankYou points for my spouse?

You’re both in luck, because you can use miles from the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Citi ThankYou points to book travel for friends and family.  This is true for most, but not all points & miles.

But there is a difference between booking travel for others and transferring points to someone else’s account!

What to Know About Booking Award Travel For Someone Else

You can usually book award travel for anyone!  This is true for most airline miles and hotel points, and cash back points like Capital One Venture miles or US Bank FlexPoints.

When you book an award flight for someone else, they will NOT benefit from your elite status.

But family and friends can potentially benefit from your hotel elite status.  You just have to add their name to a reservation booked under your account.  They are NOT guaranteed to receive your elite benefits if you aren’t staying with them.  Depending on the hotel or region (Europe) you are booking in, the rules might be stricter.

The Gift That Gives Free Travel For Your Family
Elite Status Perks Do Not Apply to Award Flights Booked for Family, but Family & Friends Might Benefit From Your Elite Status (With Lounge Access!) on Hotel Award Stays

Million Mile Secrets team member Jason took advantage of his wife’s Hyatt Globalist elite status by booking 3 award nights at the Hyatt Centric Times Square under her account.  He added his family member’s names to the reservations after booking.

Now they’ll save $350+, because they’ll get free breakfast for everyone and free valet parking! 🙂

What to Know When Transferring Points to Friends & Family

You can use airline miles, transferable points, hotel points, or cash back points to book travel for family.  But they each have different rules.

1.   Transferring Airline Miles

When transferring airline miles to someone else’s account, you will generally pay high fees.

The Gift That Gives Free Travel For Your Family
It’s Not Cheap to Buy or Transfer American Airlines Miles

I do NOT recommend transferring airline miles unless they are going to expire or a friend needs them for an award.  Otherwise, you’re better off booking the flight from your own account.

2.   Transferring Flexible Points

For flexible points, transfers are free – but limited to certain people.  Here are the transfer rules for the 4 major transferable points programs:

With flexible points you could pay for someone else’s travel with points.  Not only would your friend travel for free, but they could earn frequent flyer miles at the same time!

3.   Using Hotel Points or Cash Back for Friends & Family

In most cases, you won’t need to transfer hotel points to book free nights for family.  You can simply book the hotel under your account and add their name to the reservation.  Hyatt hotels even have a “Guest of Honor” policy.  It explicitly allows their top-tier elite members to share their benefits with others.

For cash back, it’s even simpler.  Cash back or cash back points do not transfer.  But they don’t need to!  You can just book the travel for your friends or family, and then erase the charge!

Bottom Line

Booking award travel for friends and family is one of the most rewarding ways to use points & miles!  And in most cases, you book award flights or nights for other people the same way you would for yourself.  Just know your loyalty status perks won’t transfer for airline awards.

But when you book hotel award nights for other people under your account, they might benefit from your elite status.  But it’s NOT guaranteed.

Usually, it’s easier to book travel for others from your loyalty account.  But sometimes you’ll want to transfer your points to friends.  In that case, make sure you know the rules for the points you want to transfer.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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