How to Gift Your Credit Card Rewards, Points, or Miles

Share your points with family and friends and fund their next vacation

If you still have a significant amount of rewards points following the pandemic-interrupted travel period of 2020 and 2021, you can give your family and friends a fabulous gift for any occasion - potentially without having to spend another dime. This article explains how.

Key Takeaways

  • Most credit card rewards programs don’t allow you to transfer your points directly to another person, but you can oftentimes convert them to airline miles or hotel points and give the person those.
  • You may, however, incur transfer fees.
  • Two exceptions are JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines, which make it easier to transfer miles free of charge.
  • Other ways to gift your points or miles include using them to buy gift cards or merchandise for the people on your list.

Gifting Your Credit Card Points or Miles to Someone Else

If you’re like many people, your travel plans were largely put on hold during the pandemic without a way to use any accumulated rewards for personal travel. So, even though travel is back to normal you may have a larger-than-usual stockpile of credit card rewards points still sitting in your account.

In most cases, you can’t transfer credit card miles or points directly to someone else; instead, you have to redeem them for airline frequent flyer miles or hotel points and transfer those to the person of your choice if they are a member of the same loyalty program. While some airlines and hotels charge transfer and service fees, there are two notable exceptions:

  • JetBlue. JetBlue’s credit cards allow you to earn points that you can redeem for flights. And with JetBlue’s Points Pooling program, you can create a pool of up to seven friends or family members. As you earn points, 100% of your points are entered into the pool, and the designated pool leader can redeem those points for award flights with zero transfer fees.However, if you wish to transfer or gift JetBlue points to another JetBlue member outside of a pooling partner there is a transfer fee involved.
  • Hawaiian Airlines. If you or the recipient have a Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard, Bankoh Hawaiian Airlines Visa check card, or Hawaiian Airlines Visa credit card-Japan, you can share your miles with other people without paying transaction fees. To do so, log into your credit card account and click on the “Share Miles” option. Enter the recipient’s name and the number of miles that you want to transfer. 

Ultimate Rewards Points

Chase allows users to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to another person for free with no limit as long as that person is a member of their household. If you’re trying to transfer Ultimate Rewards to a friend or family member, you’ll need their account number and last name to be able to add them to your transfer profile. This option is best left for close family members whom you want to gift points to regularly.

Hotel Points

If you have Marriott, Hilton, or Hyatt points, you can transfer them to another member. Marriott and Hyatt allow transfers at no cost but Hilton charges a nominal processing fee per 10,000 point transfer increment.

Marriott allows individuals to transfer a maximum of 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points per year.

Hilton allows individuals to transfer unlimited points to another HIlton member in increments of 10,000 points..

Hyatt allows individuals to transfer World of Hyatt points with no published limit.

American Express Membership Rewards Points

American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to Hilton at a ratio of 1:2. For example, you could transfer 50,000 Membership Rewards points to your own Hilton Honors account and then transfer 100,000 points to a friend’s or family member’s Hilton Honors account for free. Hilton allows guests to stay every fifth night on points for free. Those 100,000 points could equate to a five-night stay at somewhere like the DoubleTree in Venice, Italy. Not a bad birthday, anniversary, wedding, or holiday gift!

Other Ways to Use Your Credit Cards Rewards for Gifts

Because most airlines charge fees for transferring your points or miles to another person, it’s not always the best use of them. However, there are other ways that you can use your rewards to give meaningful gifts: 

1. Make Travel Arrangements for Them

While transferring miles usually incurs a fee, you can avoid that by booking another person’s travel arrangements for them. You can give them a handmade gift certificate that says you’ll cover the cost of their flight or hotel stay. Once they’ve made their plans, you can go ahead and book their travel through your credit card rewards redemption page, using your rewards as the payment method. 

2. Use Your Rewards to Purchase Gift Cards

Most rewards cards offer multiple redemption options, and many include gift cards as one of them. You can use your points for cards that you give as gifts, or you can get cards for popular retailers and use them as your payment method when you do your holiday shopping. 

3. Redeem Your Points for Merchandise

Many cards have the option of redeeming your rewards for merchandise, such as jewelry or electronics. For example, you could use your rewards to purchase a tablet, necklace, or new luggage for your gift recipient. 

4. Request a Bank Deposit or Statement Credit

If you use your card to buy holiday gifts, you can redeem your credit card rewards for bank deposits or statement credits and pay yourself back for those purchases. 

5. Donate to Charity in a Loved One’s Name

Many credit card companies offer the option to donate your rewards to select charities, so you can make a donation in someone’s name as a gift. For example:

  • American Express. You can use your Amex points to make charitable donations through Just Giving. 
  • Citi. You can redeem your points for charitable donations to organizations like American Red Cross Disaster Relief, Unicef USA, Susan G. Komen, Smile Train, and World Central Kitchen. 
  • Discover. Discover allows cardholders to donate their rewards to charities like the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, ASCPA, Make-A-Wish, or the World Wildlife Fund.

Do credit card rewards expire?

In most cases, credit card rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open and in good standing. However, some rewards—particularly those involving airline miles or hotel points that get transferred to loyalty program accounts -will expire if you don’t earn or redeem rewards at least once every 18 months. It’s worth checking your credit card or loyalty program agreements so that you know the rules. 

Can you give credit card rewards to someone else?

Most programs don’t allow you to transfer your credit card rewards directly to another person unless they also have an account with that program and are an immediate family member. To transfer your rewards to someone else outside of your household, you typically have to redeem them for airline miles or hotel points and then transfer those miles or points to someone else who is in the same loyalty program. Or, you can redeem the rewards for airline tickets, hotel nights, gift cards or merchandise and gift those instead.

Can you get a tax deduction for donating credit card rewards?

Many credit card companies give their cardholders the option of donating their points, miles, or cash back to select charitable partner organizations. However, donations of your credit card rewards aren’t normally tax deductible since the rewards were never considered taxable income.

The Bottom Line

The points, miles, and other rewards that you’ve built up in your rewards credit card and related travel program loyalty program accounts are a resource worth considering when you do your holiday gift shopping this year. But check on the rules for transferring miles or points as a gift, and watch out for any costly transfer fees. Rather than transferring points or miles, you might find that redeeming accumulated rewards directly for travel reservations for family or friends could yield the most value. Otherwise, redeeming points or miles for gift cards or merchandise can be a more convenient gifting option, even if maximum points or miles redemption value potential isn’t fully realized.

Article Sources
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  1. JetBlue. “Points Pooling.”

  2. Hawaiian Airlines. “Share Miles.”

  3.  Experian. “Do Credit Card Rewards Expire?