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Loyalty programs: transferring your points & miles between accounts

This post is also available in: FR

What are your options if you need to transfer miles or points to another account (spouse, friend, relative…)? Review of the different possible paths.

Foreword

It’s not always easy to use your miles when you’re traveling together. Miles and points accounts are predominantly individual accounts. Few loyalty programs offer the option of a “joint/family” account. But there are a few more or less easy ways to make transfers in order to gather points in the same account.

Most programs offer the ability to transfer miles and points directly to third party accounts… but the price is not attractive at all. This is not a real solution for couples or families.

Why transfer points? Pros:

  • Be able to complete an account with the few points needed to make a reservation,
  • Enjoy benefits such as a free fifth night with Marriott Bonvoy
  • Take advantage of the status a family member has acquired with the loyalty program
  • Convert points into an airline program at a discounted rate, such as Marriott Bonvoy at 60,000 points

Membership number when applying for a credit card

When applying for a credit card, you may be tempted to enter your spouse’s/friend’s membership number to consolidate points into one account “at source”.

Be aware that while this is technically possible for some programs, others have put up barriers to prevent it. And what is valid today, may not be valid tomorrow. Here are some pointers to the major credit card programs and issuers:

AIR MILES

bmo air miles world elite mastercard fr 1When you sign up for an AIR MILES credit card, issued by American Express or BMO(both offer 14!), you can provide your spouse/friend’s account number. The miles will then go into the same account.

However, if your credit card offers benefits – such as the free companion ticket for some offers BMO® AIR MILES® World Elite®* Mastercard®*), you will not be able to use it twice if you and your spouse sign up for the same card and provide the same AIR MILES account number.

The benefit is attached to the AIR MILES account, not the credit card.

Our advice: always indicate YOUR membership number when signing up for a credit card, you will be sure to get the bonus and the points linked to the purchases.

Aeroplan

aeroplanplus gold card

When you sign up for an Aeroplan credit card, issued by American Express, CIBC or TD, such as the AeroplanPlusMD* American ExpressMD Gold Card, you will have the option to provide your Aeroplan membership number.

We strongly advise you to indicate this when you apply, to avoid the card issuer creating a new number for you. But don’t you dare give out another Aeroplan membership number: it usually won’t work, with a few exceptions!

Best Western Rewards

mbna best western rewards cardWhen you sign up for the Best Western Rewards Mastercard credit card, you cannot provide a membership number: MBNA will provide you with a membership number from Best Western Rewards(available at the bottom of your statement).

If you already have a Best Western Rewards membership number, you’ll need to call MBNA shortly after receiving the card to mention it. But don’t bother giving out another Best Western Rewards membership number – it usually won’t work!

And that’s not necessary: Best Western Rewards allows you to transfer points from one account to another for free, as we’ll see below!

Marriott Bonvoy

bonvoy aec2When you sign up for the Marriott BonvoyTM American ExpressMD Card or the Marriott BonvoyMD Corporate American ExpressMD Card, you will be given the opportunity to enter your Marriott Bonvoy membership number.

We strongly recommend that you indicate this when you apply, so that American Express does not create a new number for you. But don’t you dare give another Marriott Bonvoy membership number: it won’t work! And it will be difficult to recover your points, lost between American Express and Marriott Bonvoy!

And it’s not really useful: Marriott Bonvoy allows you to transfer 100,000 points per year from one account to another for free, as we’ll see below!

Transferring points between accounts, program by program

Here we will study the transfer of points between accounts of the main loyalty programs:

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Marriott Bonvoy

Transferring Marriott Bonvoy points between accounts

Marriott Bonvoy allows all members of its loyalty program to transfer points to another member, free of charge, up to 100,000 points per year by calling +1 800 228 2100.

Note: you can transfer points to any Marriott member: spouse, relative, friend, co-worker…

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It’s convenient for a couple to go hunting for welcome bonuses credit cards linked to the Marriott Bonvoy program ! 100,000 points per year, allows you to combine everything into one account for easier booking and/or higher status on one account than the other!

When applying for a Marriott Bonvoy, do not include your spouse’s Marriott membership number ! Each cardholder must have their own membership number. Once the points are in your Marriott Bonvoy account you call Marriott to transfer those points from one account to another!

Transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to other program accounts

Marriott Bonvoy allows you to convert points to miles from airline programs like Aeroplan. But the account name must match the name of the air program.

We therefore advise against converting Marriott Bonvoy points from your account to your spouse’s Aeroplan account, for example.

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Best Western Rewards

Transferring Best Western Rewards points between accounts

You can transfer your points from one account to another, free of charge! You have to call Best Western Rewards Customer Service.

transfert point best western

The only condition: Best Western Rewards accounts must be at the same address.

To call Best Western from Canada or the United States, the number is 1 (800) 237-8483. All the members of the facebook group “Travel for free (or almost…!) with your points & miles – milesopedia” who had to call customer service to transfer their points had only good comments to make about the quality of the customer service!

Transfer of Best Western Rewards points to other program accounts

Best Western Rewards allows you to convert points to miles from airline programs such as Aeroplan. But the account name must match the name of the air program. We do not recommend that you convert Best Western Rewards points from your account to your spouse’s Aeroplan account, for example.

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Hilton Honors

Transferring Hilton Honors points between accounts

Great benefit of the Hilton Honors program: the ability to pool points with up to 10 other members!

This means that points from 11 Hilton Honors accounts can be combined without any fees!

Transferring Hilton Honors points to other program accounts

Hilton Honors allows you to convert points to miles from airline programs like Aeroplan. But the account name must match the name of the air program. We do not recommend that you convert Hilton Honors points from your account to your spouse’s Aeroplan account, for example.

aeroplan programAeroplan

Transferring Aeroplan Miles between accounts

The loyalty program is like many others: very limited because very expensive. Transferring miles between Aeroplan accounts costs between 1.5 and 2 cents per mile redeemed.

If you have an American Express Membership Rewards account then those Membership Rewards points can be transferred to a third party Aeroplan account, details in this article.

Transferring Aeroplan Miles to other program accounts

Transferring Aeroplan Miles to other programs is almost impossible, except by dealing with platforms like Points.com, but the conversion rate will not be advantageous.

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AIR MILES

Transferring AIR MILES miles between accounts

Like Aeroplan, AIR MILES charges a very high fee for transferring miles between Collector accounts: $0.15 CAD/mile. To transfer 2,000 miles from one account to another… it would cost $310 CAD + taxes!

air miles transfer cost

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We strongly advise against doing so! The only way for you to do this is to provide the membership number you want when you sign up for one of the 14 AIR MILES affiliated credit cards.

This will make the welcome bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES miles from the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card easy to put into your account…or your spouse’s/friend’s.

But remember: what is valid today, may not be valid tomorrow!

Transferring AIR MILES miles to other program accounts

Transferring AIR MILES miles to other programs is not possible.

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British Airways Executive Club

Transferring Avios miles between accounts

British Airways Executive Club is one of the only airline frequent flyer programs to offer “Family & Friends Accounts”.

You will be able to group your partner/spouse into your account, but also your children. By creating this account, you will become “The Head of the Family“.

British Airways Executive Club Household Account - family

There are three components to know about your British Airways Executive Club Account:

  • My family account (7 people)
  • My family and friends (5 people)
  • My travel companions

This will allow you to transfer RBC Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards points into your own British Airways Executive Club account, and then pass them on to your family members!

That comes in handy when you take advantage of a welcome bonus like the 25,000 American Express® Gold Rewards Card Membership Rewards… which gets you the equivalent of 25,000 Avios miles!

To learn more about British Airways Executive Club family and friends accounts, check out this article!

Transferring Avios miles to other program accounts

Transferring Avios miles to other programs is not possible.

privileged points amex logo

American Express Membership Rewards

Transferring Membership Rewards points between accounts

American Express Membership Rewards points cannot be transferred between accounts.

Transferring Membership Rewards points to accounts in other programs

Membership Rewards points cannot normally be transferred to other programs that do not have your name on them… with the known exception of Aeroplan.

Aeroplan has confirmed this ability, allowing you to transfer Membership Rewards points from your account to the Aeroplan account of your choice (relative, friend, spouse).

That comes in handy when you take advantage of a welcome bonus like the 25,000 American Express® Gold Rewards Card Membership Rewards… which gets you the equivalent of 25,000 Aeroplan miles!

Bottom Line

Here’s a quick overview of how you can transfer points between accounts. For unlisted banking programs such as BMO Rewards or Scotia Rewards, please note that it is simply not possible to transfer points from one account to another.

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This post is also available in: FR

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Jean-Maximilien
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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