Yes, You Can Use Points and Miles to Book Travel for Someone Else. Here’s How

Many airline and hotel loyalty programs allow members to use their points to buy someone else a flight or an overnight stay—and it’s easier than you think.

Two adults with roller bags and a young child silhouetted against glass wall at airport

Follow our guidelines to book flights and stays for family and friends using your points and miles.

Photo by NicoElNino/Shutterstock

While some people are protective of their hard-earned points and miles, others may be inclined to share their riches with friends or family. One way of doing so is through sharing points and miles via transfers or pooling. Another is by booking an award ticket or hotel night directly for others using your own points. Because the world of points and miles is complicated, the latter option often gives pause and begs the question: Can you use points and miles for someone other than yourself? Generally speaking, you can, and it’s easy to do so. Airline loyalty programs are rather straightforward with redeeming miles for another passenger, while hotel loyalty programs are slightly trickier. Here’s how to redeem points and miles for a friend or family member, across all major programs.

Redeeming airline miles for someone else

Earning miles in frequent flier programs can be complex, but redeeming them is simple. Once you have enough miles, booking an award seat is as easy as a few clicks on the airline’s website. After finding your desired award seat, you can enter the details for any passenger. That’s right, the passenger doesn’t need to be you. Note that if you’re logged into your frequent flier account, your information may automatically fill into the passenger fields, so be sure to clear that and enter the right info if you’re booking for someone else.

The truth is: All domestic carriers allow you to book mileage tickets for anyone—a family member, friend, or even a friend of a friend. So do most major international carriers’ frequent flier programs, including favorites like Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, British Airways, Emirates, and Qatar Airways. (Several Asia-based airlines restrict redemptions to family members, but these are smaller programs.) When booking for someone else, it’s crucial to adhere to program policies; trading or selling miles is prohibited and could lead to account termination. (Read: Don’t go on Reddit and offer your miles to the highest bidder and book a ticket in their name—you will likely get caught.) Mileage tickets should be only for others you know and viewed as gifts. Remember that you’ll also be responsible for paying taxes and fees for these award tickets because many airlines only accept credit card payments for taxes and fees from the frequent flier account holder.

I personally have booked dozens of airline tickets for family members and friends over the past several years—it’s almost tradition that I gift award tickets for birthdays or milestones. (In one case, I paid for a $21,000 family trip using mostly points and miles.) Let your giftee know that once you enter their details, such as their email and phone number, all further communication regarding the ticket will go to them. If they want to make a change or cancellation, they’ll need a record locator to ensure that the change goes smoothly or that the miles are redeposited to your account promptly—and the record locator is usually only on the ticket. You can try to look it up on your profile yourself, but most programs don’t include the record locator when deducting the miles from your account so you’ll need to get it from the ticket. The solution is to keep your own digital copy of the gifted ticket and record locator to avoid any issues.

Redeeming hotel points for someone else

Redeeming airline miles for someone else generally follows a uniform process across all airlines, but redeeming hotel points varies by program. So does redeeming free-night certificates, which are usually given as part of welcome offers on hotel-branded credit cards or as incentives for spending and keeping the credit card each year.

The IHG One Rewards program offers the simplest method for redeeming hotel nights for others: You can book rooms using points or free-night certificates directly through its website and add a name to the reservation field. Your beneficiary can then check in using the reservation number—easy-peasy. Your name will still be the primary one on the reservation but the other person will now be there, too. Note that this feature is available only on the desktop version of the IHG One Rewards site, not on the app.

In contrast, Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt operate differently. Hilton Honors requires a phone call to fulfill a points booking for someone else, although my preferred approach is to transfer Hilton Honors points directly to the recipient’s Hilton Honors account, which is free of charge and can be completed online through the website (Tip: The transfer doesn’t always work on Safari, so use Google Chrome.) Up to 500,000 Hilton points can be transferred annually between members, with a limit of six transfers per calendar year. A Hilton Honors account takes 60 seconds to open but it must be open for 60 days in order to make or receive a transfer. While transferring points with Hilton Honors is a cinch, Hilton Honors Free Night Award certificates cannot be transferred between members.

Marriott Bonvoy allows members to transfer up to 100,000 points per year for free, and recipients can receive up to 500,000 points annually. Since 100,000 Bonvoy points usually don’t go very far (a night at the Miami Beach Edition, for example, goes for 91,000 points in mid-December), it’s better to contact Bonvoy customer support to book the reservation with your points. Ask them to notate the reservation as a gifted room to a friend or family member. You will be the primary name on the reservation, but the giftee will also be listed and can check in under their name. (In the unlikely event your giftee has an issue at check-in, tell them to provide your name and there should be a note in the system that perhaps did not copy into the hotel manifest.) Such gifted reservations are limited to five per account per calendar year. In terms of free night Bonvoy award certificates, they cannot be used on behalf of anyone except the certificate holder, and the program can be quite strict about this.

Unlike other major hotel loyalty programs, World of Hyatt does allow an outright transfer of free-night certificates from one account to another. This can be accomplished online once you are logged in and provide the recipient’s account information. To make a reservation for someone else using your points, call World of Hyatt customer service to complete the transaction. Alternatively, you can transfer the hotel points to them. However, unlike Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors transfers, which are often instantaneous, World of Hyatt transfers can take a few weeks. Any World of Hyatt member can transfer points to another member at no charge, in any increment with no annual limits on giving or receiving; however, transactions are limited to once every 30 days and require emailing some paperwork.


It’s possible—and often very straightforward—to use your points and miles for others. For mileage tickets, this just requires putting in the passenger’s information in the correct fields when booking but understanding that you are gifting these miles and must use your own credit card for taxes and fees. For hotel points bookings, procedures vary by loyalty program, but each ultimately allows program members to book hotel nights for others (albeit often requiring a phone call).

Paul Rubio is an award-winning travel journalist and photographer. His byline appears in Afar, Condé Nast Traveler, Fodor’s, LUXURY, MSN, NerdWallet, Palm Beach Illustrated, Yahoo Lifestyle, and more. He has visited 133 countries (and counting) over the past 20 years and won 27 national awards for his writing and photography. When he’s not plotting out his next trip, Paul loves to spend time at home watching reruns of Portlandia and Parks and Recreation with his husband and rescue dog, Camo.
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