Ever wondered if you can combine miles between two accounts in the same program? As in, you have some American Airlines miles and your wife does too, and you want to pool them together to redeem on one award ticket?

The answer is technically yes, but most of the time* there are transfer fees above one cent per mile, and often transaction fees on top of that, that make this a bad idea. The fees depend on how many miles you transfer. The more you transfer, the lower the per mile cost, but transfers are always a bad deal.

*I said most of the time because JetBlue does allow you to pool points, as well as some foreign airline loyalty programs whose miles you can earn directly through American credit cards, like British Airways Avios, Hawaiian Airlines, and Asiana Airlines.

But transferrable points are a totally different story. The big four transferrable points programs allow you to transfer points between accounts, albeit each has different stipulations and restrictions. Today I’m going to review what those stipulations and restrictions are for the following types of points:

  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou Points
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards

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ThankYou Points have (had?) some of the most lenient policies for transferring points between accounts. You don’t have to be married nor even living together. But as a backlash from what I can only assume was people selling large amounts of points, Citi has recently tightened their rules. Now you’re only allowed to transfer 100,000 ThankYou Points per year between two people’s ThankYou accounts, which is probably a big blow to families trying to book group trips together or share points amongst one another.

But 100,000 ThankYou Points is something. The other stipulation is that the ThankYou Points expire 90 days after the transfer, so only do it when you’re ready to redeem.

Transfers are instantaneous and free.

Starpoints (SPG)

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You can transfer your SPG Starpoints to another person’s SPG account as long as you and that person have the same household address on both of your accounts. You don’t need to be married, just living together at the least.

You also must make transfers in 1,000 point increments. This could result in some orphaned Starpoints if the award you’re redeeming miles for isn’t a round number.

Transfer between accounts normally take three to five days and are free.

Ultimate Rewards

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Transfers between two people’s Ultimate Rewards accounts are allowed as long both people live at the same household or are married. There isn’t anything in their terms that requires you to have accounts actually registered to the same address– like SPG– but if they find out that you don’t live in the same place or are married, they could shut down your account and you would loose all your points. You can also only choose one person in your household to share points with.

Policy for transferring Ultimate Rewards earned by the Ink Plus (business) card is a little different. You can transfer those Ultimate Rewards to another owner of the company that doesn’t necessarily have to be a member of your household.

Transfers are instantaneous and free.

Membership Rewards

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Out of all the big transferrable points, Membership Rewards have the strictest policy for transfers between two members accounts– you generally can’t do it. However, there is a simple workaround to this rule. You just have to add the person you would like to pool Membership Rewards with as an authorized user to your American Express card.

But watch out for two big caveats to that workaround:

  1. Being an authorized user on someone’s credit card account will count towards the number of cards you’ve opened in the eyes of Chase, so if the person you want to add is keeping an eye on their 5/24 count, you probably don’t want to do this.
  2. It costs $175 to add authorized users to American Express Platinum cards. Boo. Although they do get to enjoy lounge access and other travel benefits of the card if added, so it could be worth it in that sense.

Transfers are instantaneous and free.

Bottom Line

Transferring points amongst accounts can be advantageous for many reasons. Maybe you need just a few thousand more miles to top off an account for a specific award, or maybe you want to be able to book multiple awards on one ticket for your family that plans on traveling together. Or maybe you have a Chase Freedom Unlimited card but no other Chase cards, and your domestic partner has a Sapphire Reserve, so you want to transfer those Ultimate Rewards to their account to take advantage of airline transfer partners rather than just redeem for cash back.

  • You can transfer 100,000 ThankYou Points between any two ThankYou accounts per year
  • You can transfer SPG Points in 1,000 point increments between accounts who have had the same address on file for 30 days
  • You can transfer Ultimate Rewards between the accounts of spouses, household members, or (in the case of the Ink Plus) another business owner
  • You can transfer Membership Rewards to another persons’ account as long as they are designated as an authorized user

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