Frequent Flyer Programs

Miles for Dummies: Family Pooling

Unlock the full potential of your travel dreams with family pooling in airline loyalty programs. We talk about the many benefits of this feature including eliminating orphaned points and helping you reach redemption thresholds faster. Discover airlines like Air Canada, Air France, and British Airways, among others, that generously embrace family pooling.

Miles and points are a smart and efficient way to travel, they allow you to take those luxurious getaways while not having to spend extravagantly.

However, it can be challenging to accumulate enough miles for a big trip if you’re the only one earning points, either directly with the program or through credit card points transfer. Even if you have more than one “miles earning” member in your family, be it your spouse, kids or parents, when miles are orphaned across accounts they might not be good even for a single redemption. That’s where family pooling comes in, it allows you to combine points across multiple members in your family and accumulate them in a single account to make a redemption, ushering you closer to your travel goals!

Why Should I Bother?

There are many benefits to family pooling. It allows you to pool the miles of all family members even if they don’t live together or travel together all the time. This can help you reach the minimum miles required for an award ticket or upgrade much faster.

Secondly, family pooling can help you avoid orphaned miles. Orphaned miles refer to those points which are either left over from a previous redemption or those which could never amount to even the cheapest redemption in the program. These miles usually end up expiring if they’re not used within a certain time period. When you pool your miles, they’re all in one account and they’re less likely to expire. It also makes tracking easier as you get away with having to monitor multiple accounts and expiry dates.

Lastly, it gives you the flexibility to earn reward points on multiple credit card accounts for different members of your family and pool them in one account of the loyalty program without violating T&C. This is particularly helpful when you are chasing sign-up bonuses, spend milestones etc on credit cards which are usually great ways to quickly accumulate miles in a sizeable chunk.

If you travel often as a family, pooling is a great way to maximize your miles and save money for your next vacation. Family pooling is usually restricted to airline frequent flyer programs, however, not all of these are easy to navigate posing unique challenges either in the form of tier requirements or complicated T&Cs.

We save you the trouble of going through intricate terms for each of the programs out there and capture even the minutest of details in this article spread across two sections – airlines which have straightforward pooling for all members and those with restrictions or hoops in the program.

Airline Programs – Liberal with Pooling

This section covers those frequent flyer programs which have family pooling baked into their loyalty program as a standard offering for all members including those in the base tier. They are not very stringent with T&Cs and don’t have a lot of prerequisites for pooling points.

Air Canada – Aeroplan

Air Canada’s Aeroplan is one of the more popular programs out there especially because of its lucrative redemption options across the Pacific and ability to book premium Etihad cabins for much cheaper mileage.

Aeroplan allows up to 8 family members, who can join together to share points while keeping their own Aeroplan accounts. All points earned by members are added to a shared balance, including their existing points balances. Members with redemption privileges can use points from the shared balance to redeem for rewards.

All points are redeemed from the family sharing balance, no matter who the redemption is for. Points are redeemed proportionally from each member, so everyone contributes a balanced amount.

If any one of your family members is a primary Aeroplan credit card holder or has an elite status – everyone in the family account can benefit from their preferred pricing.

A few things to note:

  • Members must stay in the pool for a minimum of three months before they can leave.
  • Air Canada needs to be contacted on call for removal – this can usually lead up to 2 hours in wait times.
  • Must wait 6 months before joining or starting a new family pool.

Air France and KLM – Flying Blue

Air France and KLM are popular carriers for direct flights to Europe from India. They also have competitive mileage requirements considering they operate some of the very few direct sectors between the two continents. Flying Blue also opens up some lucrative options for short and medium intra-Europe flights if you require checked-in baggage.

Their FFP – Flying Blue allows for family pooling of miles with 8 members consisting of 2 adults and 6 children. You can join a Flying Blue Family as soon as you receive an invitation from a Flying Blue Family leader. Once you accept the invitation, you become a member of the Flying Blue Family. You can only join one Flying Blue Family at a time, and you will be part of a Flying Blue Family for a minimum of six months.

The Flying Blue Family leader is the only person who can transfer Miles from the Flying Blue Family members’ accounts. The Flying Blue Family leader can transfer miles partially or in full. After each transfer, all Flying Blue Family Miles will be valid for two years. Miles transfers are final, and you will be notified by email if your Miles have been transferred.

Moreover, the Flying Blue Family program now also offers a 25% discount on non-promo award tickets for children. Detailed T&Cs can be found here.

Air India – Flying Returns

While Air India’s program flying returns might not be very popular for its value. Frequent flyers of Air India who have accumulated a significant amount of miles can probably make some sensible use of it.

MeraParivar is the name of the family pool programme offered by Air India to its Frequent Flyer Programme members. Family Pooling allows two or more individual members, who are related to each other, to link their accounts. This allows all the accruals in each account to be automatically transferred to the account of the ‘Pramukh’ or head of the family, who can redeem the Flying Returns points.

Pramukh can invite their spouse, parents, their spouse’s parents, siblings, and their spouse’s siblings to join the family pool. Each member will still have a different account number, but they can use miles from the connected accounts when making a redemption.

There can be a maximum of nine members in the pool and children must be at least 2 years of age.

There’s one major caveat to the pooling program — the head of the family pooling account must be an Indian resident. However, members who are not Indian nationals or Indian residents can still join a family pool.

The airline is undergoing a massive overhaul and we wouldn’t be surprised if this feature of the program is treated with some amendments under the upcoming frequent flyer program under the banner of Tata-owned airlines. Detailed FAQs can be found here

ANA – Mileage Club

ANA Mileage Club has a Family Account Service – AFA, for members who live outside Japan which allows you to combine the miles earned by your family, and to redeem awards such as ANA and Partner Flight Awards, and ANA International Upgrade Awards.

Members (the primary member) can register 2-8 family members (including themselves) for this service. The registered family members can be their spouse or same-sex partner, and relatives within 2 degrees of kinship.

A registration fee of 1,000 miles shall be required for registration of this service. To use ANA Family Account miles to book an award on a partner airline, the members contributing miles must have accrued miles on at least one ANA international flight within the last three years.

Detailed information docket can be browsed for further details.

British Airways – Avios

This OneWorld member is one of the most sought-after airlines for travel to the UK and it allows family pooling through household accounts.

Executive Club is the FFP of British Airways allows you to create a Household Account, and add a list of family and friends. It’s free to create and means you can pool your Avios with up to six people who live with you, letting you make full use of the collective balance. Even children can join, so everyone in the family can collect Avios each time you travel.

Everyone in a Household Account will continue to collect Tier Points and move through the tiers of the Club individually, but they can also spend Avios taken from the pooled Household Account. When any Avios are spent, we will deduct a proportional amount from each Member’s balance in the Household Account.

One catch is that you cannot redeem your Avios for others who are not on the Household Account

There are a few important things to remember about a Household Account:

  • Members of a Household Account cannot redeem their Avios for anyone outside of the Household Account
  • Changes to the registered Household Account address can only be made once every six months
  • Executive Club Members must be 18 years or older before they can spend their Avios

Terms and Conditions of the Household Account can be found here.

Etihad – Guest

Etihad, another airline known for offering a host of premium cabins across different aircraft as well as the renowned hard product in First Class also offers the opportunity for family pooling of miles via Family Membership under their Etihad Guest Program.

An Etihad Guest Family Membership allows everyone to earn miles individually through travel or any one of our partners, then look forward to enjoying them as a family. Each family member can redeem their own miles, or the head of the family can use them all on flights for everyone.

Each family member must have their own Etihad Guest account. Including the Family Head, a total of 9 members can be part of your Family Membership. The terms indicate that Etihad may audit Family Memberships and request proof of family relationships.

More details can be referred from the official website.

Emirates – Skywards

The Middle Eastern carrier provides family pooling via the My Family Program. Any Emirates Skywards member aged 18 years or above can become a Family Head and create a My Family account.

You can invite up to 8 members (ages 2 & up) of your immediate family to join. If they’re not already Emirates Skywards members, they’ll just need to register first before you can add them. Immediate family members include the following: Husband, Wife, Domestic Partner, Son, Step‑Son, Daughter, Step‑Daughter, Mother, Mother‑in‑Law, Step‑Mother, Father, Father‑in‑Law, Step‑Father, Brother, Sister, Granddaughter, Grandson and Domestic Helper.

You can spend the Skywards Miles pooled in your My Family account on Classic Reward Flights and flights purchased using Cash+Miles. You can also use them for Upgrade Rewards at check‑in if you’re travelling with the Family Head.

Miles earned on Emirates partners can also be contributed to the family account. Read here for detailed FAQs.


Under their Frequent Flyer program – Qantas allows Family Transfers that enable you to transfer a portion of your points to an eligible family member, who is also a frequent flyer member, in any 12-month period.

Eligible Family member includes Husband/Wife, Parent/Step-parent, Domestic Partner/De Facto, Child, including foster and 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 and any other First cousins.

Unlimited number of transfers in any 12-month period. Minimum: 5000; Maximum: 600,000 Qantas Points

Family transfers don’t count as activity on your account, or the account you transfer points to, for the purpose of preventing your points from expiring.

Qatar Airways – Privilege Club

Another airline which embraces the Avios currency, Qatar Airways Privilege Club offers members to pool miles from up to nine family members, including their spouse, children older than two years, their parents, and their spouse’s parents.

Once added, family members cannot be replaced for 24 months. However, family members over the age of 12 can unlink from the family account and have their own membership accounts as main members.

Going forward, all Avios earned by family members will be credited to the main member’s account and the Avios earned by family members are based on the tier status of the main member. This offers a nifty boost to your family if you hold an elite status with the airline. Flight activities by family members, however, do not earn QPoints. The IndusInd Avios Credit Card is an easy way to obtain Gold status with Qatar Airways. Read our review and in-depth analysis of the card to determine if it is a suitable fit for you.

Details of the family programme along with complete Terms and Conditions can be found here.

Airline Programs – Stringent with Pooling

Although some programs don’t offer great flexibility or a full-scale family pooling feature they might be extremely useful in specific circumstances. We discuss some of these programs in the section below and identify situations where they may be of additional value.

Virgin Atlantic – Flying Club

This Sky Team member allows pooling up to 9 family members via their Household account. However, this privilege is only extended to their Gold Elite status flying club members.

The program is fairly simple, all miles earned by household account-linked members will automatically transfer to the Gold member’s account after each mileage transaction is complete, but each member will earn their own points toward elite status. The Gold member can then book an award ticket using miles for any of the family members in the Household account.

Singapore Airlines – Kris Flyer

The only form of family pooling that Singapore Airlines allows is with children. Up to five child accounts can be linked to one adult account and you can transfer up to 50,000 KrisFlyer miles per child’s account each calendar year.

Unlike most programs, the airline charges are $5 or 500 miles fee per 5,000 miles transferred from your child’s account. Additionally, keep in mind that you aren’t able to transfer miles from your account to your child’s account. This means that parents are not able to move points around to combine their own points — it’s truly a link only between a parent and the children. And once an account is linked, it cannot be unlinked until the child is 16 years old.

While this may seem restrictive in nature it is a wonderful opportunity for parents with young kids to accumulate those extra miles and use them for future redemptions.

Turkish Airlines – Miles & Smiles

Turkish Airlines allows family pooling of miles under their Classic Plus Family Membership program, provided the head account has a Classic Plus status or higher under their Miles&Smiles program.

Family membership allows the miles from the head member, their spouse and unmarried children under 25 to pool together as “Family Miles.”

With a family membership, all of your family members’ miles earned from Turkish Airlines flights, Star Alliance member flights and program partners will be added to your Classic Plus account. Each family member will have their own account. Family member activities will be counted as “Bonus Miles” to the Classic Plus member’s account. The flights of family members will be added to their own account as “Status Miles” to let them upgrade their membership level.

If you request family membership as a Classic Plus, Elite or Elite Plus member, you can share your signed request along with the photocopies of your family members’ ID cards (including marriage certificate) via their feedback form.


Each program has its own rules and T&Cs, so it is important to understand the fine print before committing to the transfer of points to any loyalty program. However, most programs or at least one from the prominent alliances are liberal in allowing families to enjoy the benefits emanating from travelling together.

Whether you’re newly married or a family of 4, earning those additional miles on your loved ones travelling does not hurt. All it takes in most cases is creating different FFP accounts for them.

Because a lot of times when we find ourselves short on miles; more often than not, the difference is small enough to be covered by pooling.

🔔 Signup for Instant Alerts

Some of our content can be time-sensitive such as limited-time deals or offers. Subscribe to our email alerts to receive an email as soon as a new post is published. No spam, no ads. Pinky promise!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *