Use your points and miles to book flights, hotels and travel experiences for others

The holidays are a time for gathering with loved ones, spreading joy, and giving back. For many people, it’s also a season of travel. Whether you’re planning a trip for yourself or looking to gift a travel experience to someone else, points and miles can play a key role in making family travel cheaper and more attainable.

When it comes to booking travel for someone else using your points and miles, some travel companies make it much easier than others. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks to make the process go smoother.

When it comes to booking an award ticket for someone else, many airlines make it very easy. The most important detail to remember is that you don’t need to transfer your miles to someone else to book a ticket in their name. While some airlines offer mileage transfers, it often comes at a steep price. For example, United Airlines charges $7.50 per 500 miles transferred plus a $30 transaction fee. Instead of transferring miles, you can simply book the ticket directly from your account. You’ll need personal details like their date of birth and legal name as it appears on their ID, but you can book a ticket for another passenger almost as easily as if you were booking for yourself. Some airlines even provide extra award inventory to elite members, which can be crucial for saving miles on award tickets.

However, it’s important to note that some airlines only allow you to book airline award tickets for immediate family members. For example, All Nippon Airways Mileage Club only allows you to book tickets for yourself and family members with up to two degrees of kinship. So, you won’t be able to book award tickets for your best friend or third cousin.

When it comes to booking a hotel room for someone else using your hotel points, most major hotel loyalty programs allow you to do so. However, the process may vary depending on the program. For example, Marriott Bonvoy allows you to use your points to book a room for someone else up to five times per calendar year. You’ll need to establish the booking with a phone agent, and they’ll require a credit card to guarantee the reservation. Hilton Honors, on the other hand, allows you to add your friend’s name to your reservation before confirming it. If you’d like your friend to use your Hilton Honors points for a stay without you, it’s recommended to pool your Hilton points so your friend can redeem points directly from their account.

One of the most generous programs for booking award rooms for someone else is World of Hyatt, particularly for top-tier Globalist members. With a Guest of Honor booking, you can give someone virtually all the same benefits you would receive if you were staying, including free breakfast, guaranteed late checkout, and even complimentary standard suite upgrades when available.

When it comes to transferring hotel points to someone else, some hotel chains charge a fee for the transfer, while others allow it without a fee. For example, IHG Rewards Club charges $5 per 1,000 points transferred, while Hyatt allows point transfers without a fee. However, it’s important to consider the outcome if you have to change or cancel the reservation, as modifications may be more difficult if the points are in someone else’s account.

Lastly, don’t forget about redeeming points for experiences for someone else. Many loyalty programs offer opportunities to attend concerts, races, private culinary events, and more with points. These experiences can make for memorable gifts and provide value for your points and miles. For example, Marriott Bonvoy Moments and Hilton Honors Experiences offer a range of unique activities that can be booked for someone else using points.

In conclusion, the holidays are a time for spending with loved ones and giving back. Points and miles can make family travel cheaper and more attainable, whether you’re booking a trip for yourself or gifting it to someone else. By following these tips and tricks, you can use your points and miles to book tickets and hotel rooms for loved ones, as well as redeem points for memorable experiences. Happy travels and happy holidays!

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