Most frequent flyer programs will allow you to redeem your points for not only your own travel, but also for friends and family members. This can be handy if you want to book award flights for other people, such as relatives, using your own frequent flyer points.
But the exact rules vary by frequent flyer program. Some will only allow you to redeem your points for immediate family members. Others place a limit on the number of other people you may book award flights for.
Virgin Australia Velocity is one frequent flyer program that allows you to book award flights for other people. There is no need to prove that the flyer is related to you. Most American frequent flyer programs, including American Airlines AAdvantage, United Mileage Plus, Delta SkyMiles and Alaskan Mileage Plan, have similar policies.
While many airlines will allow you to book award flights for anyone, it is against the rules of almost every frequent flyer program to sell award tickets to other people in exchange for money. If you are caught doing this, the airline may cancel the ticket and even close your frequent flyer account.
Some airlines only allow you to redeem points for family members. For example, Qantas points can be used to reward seats for “eligible family members”, as outlined on the Qantas website. This includes de-facto partners. You would just need to be able to prove that you are related in some way.
Air New Zealand’s rules for Airpoints members are even more restrictive. Airpoints can only be redeemed for family members living at the same address. Although, Air New Zealand does allow Elite and Gold members to gift rewards to up to four other people per year. Arguably the most restrictive program is Korean Air Skypass. Korean Air not only restricts award bookings for other people to family members, but they also require proof of the relationship (such as a marriage certificate).
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles allow you to redeem miles for people that aren’t family members. But you may only nominate up to five “redemption nominees”, who can be anyone you like. Adding redemption nominees is free, but changing them costs money. There is also a limit to the number of redemption nominee changes per year.
If you’re unsure whether you are allowed to book award flights for other people, it’s always best to check with the airline.