Do you help your friends, family, and significant others with award bookings? Do you ‘lend’ points to them and then get anxiety about how these points will be returned to you? I know I do.
Airlines like Delta or hotel chains like Hilton do not allow you to freely transfer points from one account to another. They make you pay for it. American does the same but often runs promos that make it worthwhile to ‘share’ your points with others who hold it in trust until you are ready to make a booking.
Right now, I have 20,000 AA points in my friend’s account that I want returned to me but have no way of getting back for free.
Two programs that do allow you to combine points provided that you adhere to their Terms and Conditions are SPG and British Avios. SPG requires that the account being combined has the same household address as your account for 30 days before initiating a transfer. I wouldn’t get too clever and change people’s address to yours in an effort to transfer points to your account unless you live in a frat house and convinced all your brothers to apply for an SPG card with your referral link.
The other, more generous program is British Avios which allows members to create a household account without having to share a common address. With a household account, each member retains his own points but the aggregate of the points can be pooled in the event that a member of the household is short a few Avios.
This would be very useful for programs like Hilton where the marginal, orphaned points can make the difference between a cash + points redemption or coming up just short.
On the other hand, maybe you aren’t like me. Maybe you just give away your points to the people who you love without expecting anything back. I do not because I gotta have my points.