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I recently registered to the Miles&More frequent flyer program and I was thinking all flights I buy with reference to this frequent traveler number can earn points (miles).

For example, I bought two tickets for my parents and another time I bought return tickets for my wife, my daughter and myself. Finally only the miles I got are from the tickets I personally used (flight), not the relatives.

Is this a classic normaly way to count? Do I need to make a different card (number) for each member of my family?

It looks strange to make a card for a 2 year child, isn't it?

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Generally these programs reward the traveller, not the purchaser, so it all sounds fairly normal to me! –  Gagravarr Nov 25 '13 at 13:47
    
When I accepted the card I was thinking it will reward the money I spend (like for some shop). That way it is not too much in my advantage to continue with this: I get only 1/3 of the money I really spend. –  ruffp Nov 25 '13 at 19:47
    
If you want reward for spending money, get a points earning or cashback credit card! The idea of airline frequent traveller programs is to get the person doing the flying to want to fly with that airline instead of others, so it rewards only them. There are different programs aimed at companies to encourage them (as the one paying the bill) to send their staff with one airline, those are very different –  Gagravarr Nov 26 '13 at 0:45

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Almost all frequent flyer programs are designed to reward the flyer without regard to the purchaser, and that has always been the case since the first programs were devised in the early 1980s. There is nothing particularly odd about creating an account for a young child— there are many threads on FlyerTalk about toddlers who have earned gold status but can't use their drink certificates— but it may be difficult to track earning and expiration for the child's account.

There are only a handful of programs, mostly from Middle Eastern airlines, which allow multiple people to accrue miles directly into a single account:

  1. Emirates Skywards Family Bonus - Allows a "Family Head" to nominate up to 8 family members (defined as "spouse, parents, siblings, children, grand parents, grand children, in-laws, stepparents, stepchildren, and maids"). These members earn only 20% of the Skywards Miles, which are deposited in the Family Head's account. See Section 16 of the Skywards Programme Rules.

  2. Etihad Guest Family Membership - Allows the miles for up to eight family members ("brothers, sisters, father, mother, spouse(s), children, grand children, grand parents, parents-in-law, step parents, step children, step siblings, step grand children, niece, nephew, and one household help") to accrue directly into the account of the "Family Head." The individual members thus accrue no points of their own, but they do receive tier credit. See Terms & Conditions.

  3. Gulf Air Falconflyer - Allows up to eight family members ("spouse, children, brothers, sisters and so on") to accrue directly to the main member's account at a 70% rate. The family members do not receive any tier credit or other benefits.

  4. JetBlue TrueBlue Family Pooling - Allows up to 2 adults and 5 children to accrue to a single Family Pooling account controlled by the Head of Household at a specified contribution rate set at registration or annual renewal. See Terms and Conditions.

  5. Qatar Privilege Club Family Programme - Allows up to 9 family members (parents, spouse and children older than two (2) years of age) to accrue miles into the Main Member's account. As with Etihad, they do earn tier points. Also note

    Qatar Airways requires you to provide proof of your relationship with your Family Members such as passports, birth certificates or marriage certificates.

  6. Royal Jordanian Plus has two programs, allowing for automatic or manual transfer of points accrued by up to 8 family members (spouse, children, parents, brothers, sisters) in the Head of Account's account, while keeping tier miles. There is a charge of 1000 miles per transfer.

  7. Turkish Miles & Smiles Family Membership (Classic Plus card and above) - Allows miles earned by your "spouse and single children under the age of 25" to be pooled in your account, while they keep their tier miles. You must fax to Turkish Airlines

    your signed request together with the ID copies of your family members (inc. your marriage certificate)

  8. Virgin Australia Velocity Family Benefits - Allows up to 2 adults and 4 children residing at the same address to accrue to a single person's account. See Terms & Conditions.

There are several programs where the miles are not pooled in a single account, but can be transferred among family members or to and from a "primary" family member for free or at a substantially discounted rate.

  1. British Airways Executive Club - Household Accounts - Allows up to seven accounts at the same address to be accessible to a single account controlled by a "Head of Household." There are several major caveats. For example, redemptions are drawn proportionally from each member of the household. In a theoretical household account with 200000 miles where member A has 100000 miles, member B has 50000, and C and D have 25000 each, a 50000 mile redemption will take 25000 from member A's account, 12500 from member B, and 6250 from members C and D. Additionally, redemptions can only be made to members of the household, and elite status is based on individual, not pooled activity. See other terms and conditions.

  2. ANA Mileage Club - Family Account Service (AFA) - Allows up to 8 members who reside outside Japan and who are within two generations of the "Primary member" to share miles with the primary member. As with the BA program, miles accrue to each individual member, not to the family unit; however, at redemption, the Primary member can combine his miles with those of other family members.

  3. Asiana Club - Family Mileage Plan - A "Family representative" can add up to 4 family members (defined as spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or parent-in-law). Again, each person holds an individual account, but the miles can be transferred or pooled for redemption. The registration requirements are on the onerous side, however, as Asiana's dreadful English-language website outlines:

    Documents to Submit: The documents proving family relations (a copy of resident registration and a certificate of family relations) shall be issued in the recent six months, and have the resident registration number and the family relations. … Send the documents to Asiana Club Service Center via fax.

  4. HawaiianMiles Share Miles - Allows any HawaiianMiles member to transfer miles to any cardholder of the Hawaiian Airlines Visa.

  5. JAL Family Club - Allows up to eight family members (defined as the spouse, parents, children, and parents-in-law of the Primary member) to pool their individually accrued miles at redemption. A registration charge of 1000 miles is applied every 5 years.

  6. Korean Air Skypass Family Plan - Allows up to 5 members (defined as the spouse, siblings, parents, parents-in-law, grandparents, children, children-in-law, and grandchildren) to share their miles with the primary account holder. Like Asiana, Korean requires documentation, which can be faxed, uploaded as JPEGs, or provided at a CTO:

    For residents of Korea, acceptable forms of documentation include legal documents such as family registers or resident registration.

    For residents of other countries, acceptable forms of documentation include legal documents such as family registers, resident registration, birth certificates, marriage certificates, returns, etc

  7. Qantas Frequent Flyer Family Transfers - Allows up to 4 free transfers of 5000-100000 miles per year to an eligible family member. An Eligible Family Member is defined as

    Husband/Wife, Parent/Step-parent, Domestic Partner/De Facto, Child, including foster & step-child, Brother/Sister, Half Brother/Sister, Grandparent, Grandchild, Son/Daughter-in-law, Brother/Sister-in-law, Father/Mother-in-law, Uncle/Aunt, Nephew/Niece, First cousin

Other than the above, many airlines will allow miles to be transferred from one account to another, but with punitive fees and restrictions Delta's Share Miles program has no limit on transfers, but require a membership starting at $200/year. United charges $0.015/mi + $30 transaction fee, which comes to $180 for each 10,000-mile transfer, with a cap of 25,000 miles per year.

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Thanks for the very detailed answer. It shows that some good companies can reward the 'purchasers' (even not fully) and not only the travellers. –  ruffp Nov 25 '13 at 20:01

Make a card for everyone. Once points are accumulated transfer it to your card.

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Not every program allows transfers, and many programs impose minimum transfer amounts and/or high transfer fees, so depending on travel patterns this may or may not be the best option. –  choster Oct 10 at 13:58

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