Apr 21, 2016
What happens to reward miles when you die?
Whilst it might be the last thing on your mind when a loved one passes away; increasingly often that loved one belonged to a loyalty program and may have accumulated a considerable number of reward points that may be of value.
Each loyalty program is different when it comes to dealing with a deceased’s reward points. Some charge a fee for transferring the points to a surviving family member; some allow you to redeem the points; some allow you to merge accounts with that of the deceased; some loyalty plans have terms and conditions that are less favourable and, upon the death of the member, the member’s account is closed and any points are forfeited immediately.
Of course, you will have to prove to those administering the loyalty program that you are entitled to those points and you would generally do this by providing a copy of the will showing that those points have been gifted to you by the deceased (believe it or not, an increasing number of people are leaving gifts of their loyalty points in their will). In the absence of a will dealing with those loyalty points, a copy of a death certificate and proof that you are the spouse or heir of the deceased would generally be required.
You should always check with the loyalty plan administrators to make sure that you are aware of their policy for what happens on the death of a member. Some have suggested that, in order to avoid any transfer costs and hassle, it may be preferable to simply leave your passwords and membership numbers available for your family members and they would not even need to advise the plan administrators of your death. The risk here, of course, is that that would likely be regarded as a breach of the rules of membership of that loyalty program.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not legal advice. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstance.