The Basics of Direct Transfers of Points from 1 Account to Another Account For Those Not in the Same Household
Direct transfers of miles to others is often not worth it due to cost if available, so in most cases, making redemptions directly for others is best, whether the donor does it themselves or gets help from the organization receiving the donation. Also keep in mind that with some points/miles (i.e. Singapore Airlines) the miles have a definite expiration date (3 years w/ Singapore) and can't easily be extended. Often when transfers are possible, it's only possible to family and those that are in the same household. Often accounts need to be at least 30 days old for a transfer to be possible (i.e. Hilton).
The points that cost too much to transfer (or are unavailable to non-family/household/elites or can't be transferred at all) include but are not limited to:
Among Hotels: Accor, Best Western, Choice Hotels (unless you get them indirectly via a Citi ThankYou Points Transfer if the recipient has a Citi ThankYou Rewards annual fee incurring card like the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige or if you transfer points via Radisson Rewards at a 2:1 ratio if you're an elite member), Hilton, IHG,
Among Airlines: AA, Aeroplan, Air France, Alaska Airlines, Avianca, British Airways (unless a gold member), Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Qantas, United, Southwest, Virgin Australia
Exceptions Where Direct Transfers of Points from 1 Account to Another Account are Viable Beyond One's Household (i.e. Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One Miles, Hyatt, Marriott, Radisson Rewards)
There are a # of exceptions regarding direct transfers where it is viable for ministries (typically using an individual account)/ministers/missionaries, such as:
1. You can effectively donate & receive up to 100k Citi ThankYou Points per year to an individual or organization of your choice. If the organization is a holder of an annual fee-incurring Citi ThankYou Rewards card like the Citi Premier, they would then have 90 days to transfer those points into a hotel or airline partner.
2. Capital One Miles makes it much easier (see "How to Share Capital One Miles with Others"), with no expiration date, no max number of points, and the ability for an organization or individual to have a no-annual-fee card in order to effectively use the miles. Also, donors with Capital One cashback cards can acquire a no-annual-fee miles card to convert all of their cashback to miles if they want to.
3. Marriott allows you to transfer up to 100k points per year to other accounts, and receive up to 500k points per year.
4. "Hyatt allows point transfers “to have a sufficient number of points to redeem a particular award” without a fee. Hyatt also only allows you to transfer or receive points once every 30 days, and you’ll be required to fill out a form and send it in, so allow some time for the transfer to happen since the process is manual (TPG)." Supposedly the immediate redemption terms aren't enforced.
6. Radisson Rewards Members with elite status can transfer points to anyone for free. If you don't have status, transfers are only available for those who are part of your household. To combine points, call 1-888-288-8889.
7. "Club Eurostar also lets you transfer points to anyone for free within annual limits"
Points Pooling (i.e. British Airways, Frontier, Hawaiian, Hilton, Jet Blue)
Some Rewards Programs don't offer a viable option to transfer directly, but have points pooling available including to friends. Examples include:
British Airways Household Account allows pooling with friends
Frontier Airlines allows pooling with friends called family pooling
Hawaiian Airlines allows share miles with friends with the significant caveat that it's not worth it unless the recipient has a Hawaiian Airlines credit or debit card due to a 1 cent per mile transferred policy if they don't.
JetBlue - Pool of up to 7 friends/family members, though keep in mind "Participants may use Points Pooling for personal purposes only and not for any business, commercial or other use."
Points pooling with Hilton sounds a lot like a direct transfer, but unlike transfers, points pooling is free. "Hilton Honors Members can transfer Hilton Honors Points to another Hilton Honors Member through Points Pooling or 1-to-1 transfer in increments of 1,000 Points and up to 500,000 Points. Each Hilton Honors Member is limited to sending no more than five hundred thousand (500,000) Points and receiving two million (2,000,000) Points via Points Pooling or Transfers combined per calendar year. Each Hilton Honors Member is limited to making six (6) transfers to other member accounts and six (6) Hilton Points Pooling transactions per calendar year (terms)."Where to transfer
Booking Directly for Others
When bypassing the typical donor methods, most miles/points make it easy to book for someone else with points/miles, while others make it impossible except under very limited circumstances. For instance:
1. With Singapore Airlines, your miles via redemptions can only go to 5 other people that you designate, and if you have 5 designees already, a $30 fee or 3000 miles charge applies to swap out someone unless you are elite silver (where it's $15 or 1500) or gold or higher (where it's free).
2. With ANA, "You can only book tickets for your spouse and relatives within two degrees of kinship. This includes your parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles"
3. Qantas miles are for family or for a domestic partner. "Eligible family members" are pretty broad (i.e. in-laws, 1st cousins, nephews, nieces, aunts/uncles, grandparents, etc.) and defined here.
4. With Choice Hotels, redemptions can be made only for immediate family "spouse, partner, children, parents, in-laws, brothers and sisters"
"Asiana Club only lets you redeem miles for immediate family members
British Airways Executive Club only limits who you can redeem Avios for if you have a household account; if you do, you can only redeem Avios for someone in your household account, or up to five nominated travelers
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles lets you redeem miles for up to five redemption nominees; they don’t have to be related to you, and removing a nominee can cost up to $50
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank only lets you redeem miles for relatives within two degrees of kinship
Korean Air SkyPass only lets you redeem miles for immediate family members"
If you have a donor available, here is the information that will sometimes be needed, depending on the airline, for the person or people whose flights are being booked.