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When it comes to award redemptions, families and couples may need to do extensive digging to find multiple award seats together — and have a big enough stash of points or miles to afford them. It may seem like it’ll take forever to save up enough credit card rewards for just one redemption, let alone two, three or four. That’s where pooling your rewards comes in.
While sharing your hard-earned rewards with others may burn a little — especially if you’ve recently coupled up or added a new addition to the family — if you’re able to pool rewards from multiple accounts into one account, it may make it easier to reach that perfect redemption.
But leveraging rewards pooling, like most things in the rewards world, is a game that comes with rules. Each credit card issuer has different regulations when it comes to sharing rewards with family members. If you want to end up with that coveted family redemption and vacation of a lifetime (or maybe, just fly the whole family to Cleveland to see grandma over the holidays), here’s how you can pool credit card rewards with major issuers.
Which credit card rewards programs allow you to pool rewards?
From Chase’s more lenient transfer options to Amex’s authorized user rules, each credit card rewards program has its own regulations when it comes to pooling credit card rewards with family members. Here’s what you need to know for each major issuer.
American Express Membership Rewards
American Express states that Membership Rewards points “aren’t transferable to any other person or account.” This is the case regardless of which credit card you hold.
However, if you have a card like The Platinum Card® from American Express or American Express® Gold Card, you can transfer Membership Rewards points to Amex airline or hotel transfer partners. You can then transfer points to your own frequent flyer or hotel loyalty accounts, or else transfer points to an authorized user’s account (assuming they’ve been added as an authorized user to your card at least 90 days prior to transferring).
In the case of authorized users, the process would work something like this:
- Add your family member as an authorized user on your Amex card.
- Then, wait at least 90 days before linking any of their loyalty programs that are Amex transfer partners to your account.
- Next, make sure you have a redemption in mind for a particular airline or hotel that’s an Amex partner.
- Finally, transfer your Membership Rewards points to their specific hotel or airline loyalty account.
Keep in mind that this option works for anyone that’s an authorized user on your account; it isn’t limited to family or household members. Just be sure that you trust whomever you add to your account as an authorized user as you’ll be responsible for the charges they accrue.
Transferring Amex points to your own loyalty program accounts is a similar process to transferring points to an authorized user’s account.
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Eligible Chase cardholders — including those who have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® — can share Chase Ultimate Rewards points with one member of their household.
However, it’s unclear how Chase will enforce this policy. The Ultimate Rewards program agreements for the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve state that if Chase suspects you’re misusing the program in any way, such as by “by moving or transferring points to an ineligible third party or account,” you may be temporarily prohibited from earning or using points.
While Chase’s policy seems relatively straightforward and generous, it’s best not to push things. Make sure to only transfer points to one member of your household, like a spouse, so you won’t risk losing your points or, even worse, having your account closed.
Remember, if you plan to redeem Chase points in the Chase travel portal, points are worth 1.25 cents each with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and 1.5 cents each with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This means if you hold the Preferred, transferring to a family member in your household that has the Reserve may make Chase travel portal redemptions more lucrative as your points will be worth more.
To combine points with a household member, follow these steps:
- Log in to your account and go to your Ultimate Rewards dashboard.
- Then, click the menu in the top-left corner. Select “Combine Points.”
- Choose the accounts you’d like to move the points to and from.
Capital One miles
You can share Capital One miles with family members, friends or pretty much anyone that has a credit card that earns Capital One miles, such as the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card.
There are no fees or expiration dates to worry about when transferring your miles and you can transfer as many miles as you’d like. The only catch? You may have to call the number on the back of your card to make the transfer.
Also, note that you can’t transfer Capital One miles to anyone else’s airline or hotel loyalty accounts. But since you can easily share Capital One miles for free, this is the best way to pool rewards with family members and beyond.
Citi ThankYou Rewards
Eligible Citi ThankYou Rewards members can transfer up to 100,000 Citi ThankYou points to other members, and receive up to 100,000 points, in a calendar year (terms and conditions may apply). The person you transfer to doesn’t have to be a family or household member or an authorized user — they just have to have to possess a Citi ThankYou account.
There’s just one small, yet essential, detail to note: Shared points may only be valid for 90 days after the transfer and then they’ll expire. Ensure that before transferring, you have a selected redemption in mind. This way, the person receiving your points can use or transfer them to one of their loyalty programs well within the 90-day period.
While several Citi cards allow points transfers to other members, you may want to consider transferring points to a card like Citi Premier® Card, which offers added options and value when transferring to partner loyalty programs.
Follow these steps to transfer points:
- Log in to your Citi account.
- Then, place your cursor over the “More Ways to Redeem” tab and click “Points Sharing.”
- Then, choose your account, the recipient and the number of points to begin sharing.
Best cards for pooling rewards
The Platinum Card from American Express: Best for sharing Membership Rewards points
The Platinum Card from American Express is a premium travel credit card. Couples and families can benefit from perks like extensive lounge access and higher rewards rates on select prepaid travel bookings through American Express Travel. Although it costs $175 to add an authorized user, you’ll then be able to transfer Amex points to an authorized user’s loyalty program(s). The authorized user will also get their own airport lounge membership (handy for larger families), as well as other perks.
Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best for sharing Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Although you can transfer rewards if you hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve, we recommend considering the Reserve — at least for the recipient. This way, your Chase Ultimate Reward points can be redeemed at a boosted value of 1.5 cents per point through the Chase travel portal. In comparison, the Preferred offers a value of 1.25 cents per point for Chase travel redemptions. Plus, since cardholders can earn 3X points on general travel and dining purchases, it’s easy to earn a lot of points quickly.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Best for sharing Capital One miles
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a solid card for couples or families who want to pool Capital One miles. It’s easy to transfer miles between accounts, and you can do so as often as you’d like. Plus, you can add up to four authorized users for free, meaning you can start building up your teen’s credit or add your parents to the card. Authorized users also get their own airport lounge memberships, so larger families can benefit from this, too.
Citi Premier: Best for sharing Citi ThankYou points
The Citi Premier Card is ideal for families or couples that mainly focus on everyday spending. With 3X points on restaurant, supermarket, gas station, hotel and air travel purchases, it’s a solid option for families that want to build up points and pool them for a dream trip redemption. You’ll want to transfer Citi ThankYou points to this card as it has ample options for transferring points to other travel loyalty programs.
The bottom line
Pooling rewards is a relatively easy way for couples, families or household members to reach a redemption. While it does take some organization, planning and reading the fine print, it can all be worth it when you and your family are on the way to the Bahamas or Paris.
But it’s essential to understand the best way to pool your chosen rewards currency. Create a strategy based on your preferred redemption(s) or rewards currency, then get the right credit card(s) and follow the rules to make sure you end up pooling in ways that don’t violate any terms or let your hard-earned rewards expire.