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

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Is it possible to transfer hotel loyalty points to a friend or partner?  Can you transfer the points for free?  In most cases, the answer is ‘Yes’.

Airline schemes are not like this.  Most frequent flyer schemes allow you to pay to transfer miles to a friend but 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.

Hotel

How can you transfer hotel loyalty points to someone else?

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:

Accor Live Limitless

Accor points cannot be transferred.

Best Western Rewards

The FAQ 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]

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, albeit across no more than six transactions, and receive up to 2 million points per calendar year.

It works well.  Every time that my wife has a Hilton stay I sweep the points across to my account.  You can find out more on this page of the Hilton Honors website.

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 when she was 1,000 points short of a redemption – in this scenario it was $5 well spent (buying 1,000 would have been $13.50).  The link to arrange transfers is here.

Marriott Bonvoy

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

There is a cap of 100,000 points per year.  There is no fee for the transfer but you need to call Marriott to get it done.  It cannot be done online.

Radisson Rewards

Radisson Rewards used to be very generous – you could make any transfer, to anyone, for free. Whilst that is no longer the case, it is still pretty good.

If you do NOT have elite status (remember that Amex Platinum comes with free Radisson Rewards Gold status) you can 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 (see 3d).

If you have status, you can still transfer points 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 within annual limits.  We wrote this article on how to transfer Club Eurostar points to another person.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. The Streets says:

    No matter what I do I can never seem to transfer points out of my Hilton account. I’ve given up asking Hilton why. However no issues transferring from my wife’s Hilton account

    • Do you get the generic “It’s not you, it’s us” error when you try and do it? When you contact anyone from Hilton they sound surprised that you’re having an issue then you get passed around between departments and end up with no resolution?

      That’s my Hilton transfer points experience, if that’s yours I’m glad I’m not alone but they really need to address this.

      • The Streets says:

        No not that, I receive a confirmation number and that it has “processed” but the points never leave the account. I follow up with the confirmation number and so on but nothing. Just a bit annoying!

  2. Crafty says:

    Re: Radisson – link to the T&C’s confirms it can theoretically be done. But how can it actually be done? Can’t find a link anywhere.

  3. Crafty says:

    Is there anything at all that 2,700 Hyatt points can be used for, assuming I won’t be visiting any hotels before they expire? The minimum for air miles transfer is 5,000.

    • Can’t you buy a small amount to extend them? They’re worth about £30 if used for hotels so shame to waste them.

  4. Heathrow Flyer says:

    How long do HH transfer points take to arrive in the recipient’s account?

    • I’ve done it a couple of times, it was pretty much instantaneous, just had to log out and back in to see the new balance.

    • Crafty says:

      Did some at the weekend and they had arrived the next day.

  5. Dezbez says:

    If you make separate bookings with IHG at the same hotel for consecutive days, one with my wife’s points and one with mine, will they potentially make you move rooms? Or is IHG pretty good at ‘merging’ the bookings into one stay so you don’t have to?

    • Genghis says:

      We’ve never had to move rooms and we do this a lot.

    • Peter K says:

      It’s rare to have to move rooms. I’ve had it happen once at a hotel 100% booked up but I hadn’t asked in advance to be able to stay in the same room or they would have done it for me.

  6. Diydegsy says:

    Can you transfer Melia points as well?

  7. Chris Heyes says:

    [email protected]@ You could add to the article A “vERY” easy way to Transfer Air Miles which wouldn’t be bad would be “Open a Household Account” Transfer for “FREE” ect, ect,
    Makes the Article more complete IMO
    If you do alter your article (feel free to delete my post)

    • Genghis says:

      Already in article
      “b) you could create a Household Account for free and pool your miles that way”

      • Chris Heyes says:

        [email protected] in article regular readers would know how to
        But any “NEW” reader would need more of a detailed article, that’s what i meant for Rob
        Headline appears to say impossible when it isn’t IMO SHOULD be expanded for new readers
        A new reader looking at the headline weeks/months from now would think “cant”

  8. Andrew says:

    Not sure the fee charged for transferring avios is ‘crazy’ since its real purpose is to stop people selling avios to complete strangers. As you pointed out in the article it’s very easy to get around if the person is a genuine acquaintance.

  9. Is it possible to transfer Club Eurostar points?

  10. Sorry – shouldn’t have jumped in before reading the whole article!

  11. What happens to Hilton points if they’re close to expiry and you transfer them, will the expiry date be reset?

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