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.
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.
S7 Airlines, 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."
Emirates launched one of the first dedicated children's frequent flyer accounts, called Skyflyers in 2003. 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.
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.
Lufthansa 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.. However, other airlines go further.
With Qantas, children can start earning rewards immediately as there is no age limit in place. 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.
The British Airways Avios programme accepts children from the age of 2. 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.
Other airlines which allow family pooling include JetBlue, ANA, JAL and Korean Air.
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.
For more flying with a baby or toddler tips, please seewww.flyingwithababy.com