Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Why transferring hotel points to a friend is good (but transferring airline miles is bad)

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Most frequent flyer schemes allow you to pay to transfer miles to a friend.  It is usually a terrible deal.  The price is often only modestly cheaper than buying miles outright but no new miles are being created – you are paying a high fee simply for the loyalty programme to move them from one account to another!

Here is British Airways pricing for Avios transfers.  Transferring 13,000 Avios points from yourself to a friend will cost a crazy £100 unless you are a Gold member.  This is especially crazy given that a) you can issue a reward ticket for someone else from your account and b) you could create a Household Account for free and pool your miles that way.

In general, you should think long and hard before paying to transfer airline miles to someone else.

With the hotel loyalty schemes, it is a totally different game.


Most of the hotel schemes make it very easy to transfer points around – and you often don’t need to pay.  Here are some examples:

Best Western Rewards

The Q&A on the UK website says:  “Yes. Points can be transferred between accounts that share the same physical address. To arrange a point transfer, please contact our Rewards Team at [email protected]”.  Easy.

Hilton Honors

Hilton used to make a nominal charge ($12.50 per 5,000 points) to make transfers.  This has now changed – points pooling, as they call it, is now FREE.  You can send up to 500,000 points and receive up to 2 million points per calendar year.

You can find out more on the Hilton Honors website here.

IHG Rewards Club

You can transfer points to anyone else for a flat fee of $5 per 1,000.  I did this once to top up my Mum’s account from 14,000 to 15,000 for a redemption – in this scenario it was definitely $5 well spent (buying 1,000 would have been $13.50).  The link to arrange transfers is here.

Le Club AccorHotels

Accor points cannot be transferred.

Marriott Rewards / Starwood Preferred Guest

Marriott allows you to transfer your points to anyone.  Full details are here.

Following the Marriott Rewards / SPG merger there is a cap of 100,000 points per year unless the points are being combined with those of another member and redeemed immediately.  There is no fee for the transfer but you need to call Marriott to get it done.

Radisson Rewards

Radisson Rewards used to be super-generous – any transfer, to anyone, for free. Whilst that is no longer the case, it is still pretty good.  If you are NOT elite (Amex Platinum comes with free Radisson Rewards Gold status) you can still transfer points to anyone who has shared your address for at least 30 days, as long as both accounts are at least a year old.  Details are on the website here.

If you have status, you can still transfer anything to anyone for free.

World of Hyatt

Hyatt points can be transferred to any other member for FREE by filling in this PDF form. You can only make a transfer once every 30 days. In theory you are meant to redeem them as soon as the transfer is complete but my understanding is that this is not enforced.

There is one unpublished rule, which I came a cropper with a couple of years ago.  Both the giving and receiving accounts must have had a qualifying Hyatt stay during the previous 12 months.  This is what it means when the PDF form says that both accounts must be ‘active’.

PS.  It is worth knowing that Club Eurostar also lets you transfer points to anyone for free.  See the Eurostar website here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (9)

  • Adam says:

    If you ever do have to transfer Avios to someone, you are better doing it several times in smaller increments.

    Up to 6,000 miles cost £25 and you can do this several times meanings it’s cheaper than 1 larger transaction.

  • The streets says:

    I have really struggled to transfer Hilton points between accounts. At the outset it worked fine but in the last six+ months nothing. I follow the process and get a confirmation code but the points won’t move. Customer service have been useless

  • Judge says:

    Melia transfers are free and instant, AND they count as activity for both you and the recipient. Normally points expire a year after your last stay, so transfers are a great way to reset the clock.

  • Steve-B says:

    Let’s be honest, IHG transfers at a shocking rate…. 0.38p /pt is a truly awful deal given you can buy close to that in their bonus promos.

  • PAL says:

    When you say except a gold member for BA – does this mean transfer of airmiles is free?