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In my view the best miles and points programs for families are the ones that allow families to pool their points to some extent. If I have 70,000 points, my husband has 30,000 points, and the award we want to book for ourselves costs 100,000 points it isn’t very helpful if the program doesn’t allow for a reasonable way to put our points together to be able to achieve that award. By and large hotel programs are more generous with combining points without fees than airlines, but it does vary greatly from program to program in terms of what is allowed, what it costs, etc.
A way around the individual program restrictions is to focus primarily on earning your miles or points in a credit card program such as Chase Ultimate Rewards since it permits point transfers to a variety of different travel partners such as United, Southwest, Hyatt, British Airways, etc. not only for the cardholder, but historically to your spouse or a domestic partner’s hotel and airline accounts, too. In fact, the Chase Ink Business cards have also permitted you to move points to the Ultimate Rewards accounts of joint business owners, too.
However, reports are that these limits on who you can share your Chase Ultimate Rewards points with will be changing effective on Sunday November 15, 2015, but before you get too worked up it isn’t all bad news. I have received notice of this change via secure message from Chase.
It seems that personal card accounts will allow for transfers to one’s own travel partner accounts as well as one additional household member who is an authorized user on your card account. Theoretically this actually loosens up who you can share points with since this person could now be a boyfriend/girlfriend, parent, adult child, friend etc. as long as they reside in the household and are an authorized user on your account. However, you will have to actually go through the action of adding them as an authorized user whereas now they don’t have to actually be on your accoun
For Chase business card accounts that earn Ultimate Rewards you will be able to transfer to your own travel partner accounts as well as to another owner of the company who is listed as an authorized user on the account.
Now, what I admittedly am unclear on is how this impacts combining points between different card accounts, if it does at all. For example, currently if I had a Chase Freedom® and my husband had a Chase Sapphire Preferred I could combine my Freedom points into his Sapphire Preferred card points and then they could from there be transferred to hotel and airline partners. This type of points combination does not require anyone to be an authorized user on anyone else’s account, so I’m not sure if that is also changing…though it seems we will learn soon enough since these changes kick in this Sunday.
My best advice is if you want to transfer points to your spouse or domestic partners account and they aren’t an authorized user on your account (or vice versa) then do it before Sunday. In the meantime you may want to add your spouse/domestic partner/other household member as an authorized user on your card so you will be able to put your points into their hotel and airline accounts going forward.
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.