Frequent flyer programmes have been around for many years, and now gaining children’s loyalty is beginning to gather more momentum, with some airlines promoting this service amongst many other child friendly initiatives. These rewards schemes work similarly to the adult memberships and can make an important difference to your points account and help towards those family holidays or vacations.
Some schemes are purely points for the child member, which can be exchanged for flights, toys, experiences etc. Other child memberships allow the kids points to be added to a parents’ account, whereas others allow them to contribute to the ‘household’ points often known as family ‘pooling’.
Another point worth noting is check who your airline has partners with in terms of redeeming and spending airmiles. This way, you can often make sure that infants collect miles too and bypass the minimum age limit on some airmile programmes. You can then collect points and transfer them over to your preferred airlines programme. For example, Emirates does not allow infants to collect points until they are two, but Qantas does. So join your infant to Qantas Frequent Flyer, claim the points when you fly Emirates, and then transfer them over to Skywards.
Airlines Which Offer Dedicated Kids Miles Accounts
S7 Airlines is a member of the Oneworld global aviation alliance launched their new children’s loyalty programme in the beginning of June 2015 and state, “We made terms and conditions for young members even more attractive – miles credited to a child’s account have no validity term, and will not expire until the child reaches the age of 12.” Children can join from age 2 and upwards.
Emirates launched one of the first dedicated children’s frequent flyer accounts, called Skyflyers in 2003. for children aged 2-16. However the miles are only valid for 3 years and the miles earnt cannot be transferred to a parents’ account. A further option is to consider their Family Bonus program. Eligible Family Bonus Members include amongst others, children, grand children, step- children and maids! Each Family bonus member must be over 2 years of age, and they earn 20% for the Family Head’s account. If they are a member of Skywards or Skyflyers then they can’t own Skywards Miles or Tier Miles in their own right when travelling on a Family Bonus membership number. Emirates Skywards My Family allows you to pool miles that your family members earn from flying Emirates. This excludes partner flights and other ways to earn Emirates Skywards Miles.
Etihad Guest lets you pool all the miles earned by 8 family members into one single account and benefit from the added flexibility of a Family Membership – to be shared and enjoyed by everyone.
Lufthanas operates JetFriends a program for children from age 2 til 17. Children earn miles with every flight operated by one of the Miles & More airline partners or a Star Alliance member. JetFriends’ award miles are valid indefinitely as long as they are a club member but miles are not transferable.
Many other airlines, such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, do not have a dedicated airline loyalty reward program for children, but allow them to join, often from the age of 2.
With Qantas, children can start earning rewards immediately as there is no age limit in place. However, infants must be travelling in their own paid seat to be eligible to claim the rewards. )They join the main Frequent Flyer programme, and family transfers are available, allowing you to transfer points to any family member once every 12 months.
Kids can join the Joey Club. Children of any age could earn Qantas Points on flights (so long as they are not travelling on an infant fare and have their own seat), hotel bookings and more^. Kids aged 3-11 who join the Frequent Flyer program receive a welcome pack, including their own Joey Club passport.
Qatar Airways have a kids loyalty programme designed for children aged 2 to 17. The Family Programme allows families to pool their Qmiles into the main member’s Account. If you are a main member, you may nominate up to nine family members to participate in a Family Programme. Family Members may include your parents, spouse and children older than two years of age. Qatar Airways requires you to provide proof of your relationship with your Family Members such as passports, birth certificates or marriage certificates.
Unfortunately, some airlines, such as Virgin Atlantic only allow children over the age of 12 to join their frequent flyer programs. Hopefully in time this will change, as surely if a child is occupying a seat (regardless of the fact that a child fare would have been paid) they should have at least some opportunity to be earning points.
U.S. airlines with family pooling
Every major US airline allows kids to accrue miles in a frequent flyer account, as long as they are traveling on their own ticket and have their own seat. This includes infant but only if they have bought and paid for their own seat. Below are details of US airlines which allow also family pooling. Sadly, only three of the top 10 U.S. airlines allow family pooling for little to no cost – but as always there are conditions on most.
JetBlue TrueBlue (free to pool)
JetBlue allows both family and friends (up to seven people) to pool miles for free.
Family Pooling is potentially available for up to eight people, but only if the head member in the pool has either Frontier Airlines elite status or a U.S. cobranded card. More information is here if you qualify – Frontier Family Pooling.
The Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles programme will allow members to give miles to a Hawaiian Airlines U.S. primary credit or debit cardholder for free.
US Airlines Which Allow Kids to Join Frequent Flyer Programmes.
Children under 13 are not eligible for an online My Account profile, but can be enrolled in Mileage Plan by calling Alaska Airlines at 1-(800) 252-7522.
Other airlines with family pooling or equivalent
The British Airways Avios programme accepts children from birth. The primary member needs to manage the account but points can either be spent from individuals accounts or linked into a ‘household’ account. With a household account, every family member can help build up the points as well as spend them. With BA, the child receives the same amount of points as an adult does.
The Etihad Guest programme offers a Family Membership that permits up to nine family members to pool their miles together. Eligible family members include brothers, sisters, father, mother, spouse, children, grandchildren, grandparents, parents-in-law, step-parents, step-children, step-siblings, step-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and a maid.
My Family Eligible Family Bonus Members include amongst others, children, grand children, step- children and maids! Each Family bonus member must be over 2 years of age, and they earn 20% for the Family Head’s account. If they are a member of Skywards or Skyflyers then they can’t own Skywards Miles or Tier Miles in their own right when travelling on a Family Bonus membership number. Emirates Skywards My Family allows you to pool miles that your family members earn from flying Emirates. This excludes partner flights and other ways to earn Emirates Skywards Miles.
Lufthansa Miles & More
Only Gold elite status members of the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club can create a Household Account.
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