Congratulations! You have just accumulated a great number of reward points with your holiday shopping, and your two recent airplane trips. Now what would happen to your frequent flier miles and credit card points should your demise occur? The answer depends upon which airline you have chosen, and which credit card you are using. They all have different policies.
The Points Guy helps to understand the different situations. Delta states that you can no longer transfer Sky Miles after one’s passing. Delta deems that the miles are “not the property of any member, and thus may not be sold, attached, seized, levied upon, pledged, or transferred under any circumstances, including by operation of law upon death, or in connection with any domestic relations dispute and/or legal proceeding.”
American Express Membership Rewards may be reinstated to a new basic account or be redeemed by the estate of the deceased Card Member. There are certain formalities that must be complied with. Be sure to contact the Member’s Reward Division of American Express should a death occur. Chase allows an account to be taken over by a joint card member or an authorized user. Points remain for usage if the account is taken over.
American Airlines for the most part says that mileage credit is not transferable, and may not be combined among members, their estates, successors, and assigns. United makes it impossible to transfer miles upon death, and Southwest is also a definite no on transfer of miles. However, these airlines will not close an account, so if you have the deceased’s membership information, you could use those points to book travel for anyone before those points expire (two years after demise).
British Airways outlines its policy, and essentially does not allow transfers, but there may be ways of using the points by following their procedures.
Hotel policies are pretty similar in terms of using points upon a death. Hilton states they cannot be transferred, and the Hyatt and Marriott follow the same rules The key to all of this is reading the various policies of the credit card companies, or airlines and hotels. There may be ways for deceased members’ families to use the points, provided you do not close the account prior to the usage upon a demise occurring.
It is important that you check with your credit card, airline, or other “point” program to know what happens to yours. For those that allow to be passed on, charities like Make-A-Wish can use these unused miles to coordinate travel for their Wish-kids.
Details! Details! Be sure you take the time to understand your cardholder policies before you start earning.
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This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.
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