What Happens to Frequent Flyer Points After Death?
Many airlines will terminate a member’s account and forfeit their points once they are notified of their death.

It’s not something we really like to think about, but what exactly happens to your frequent flyer points after you die?

Many people have life insurance and a will, as this makes things easier for loved ones in case they pass away. But few have a contingency plan for their frequent flyer points. Indeed, when a loved one dies, points are probably the last thing on your mind.

But those points can be valuable, and if you don’t do anything, they may be forfeited. So it’s worth taking a few minutes to understand what happens to frequent flyer points after death, and what you can do to ensure they are not lost.

Unlike money, most airlines make it very clear in their loyalty program terms & conditions that frequent flyer points are not the property of the person. They belong to the airline, and the airline can choose to forfeit the points if the account holder dies. If this is the airline’s policy, it will usually be stated in the frequent flyer program’s terms and conditions.

In general, therefore, it’s a good idea to transfer the points to a family member’s account while the account holder is still alive. (Of course, this is not always possible or practical.)

But some airlines are a bit more lenient, allowing a deceased member’s points to be bequested or transferred to a family member at the airline’s discretion.

Every frequent flyer program has a different policy regarding frequent flyer points after death. We put together this summary of the main frequent flyer programs of interest to Australians…

Qantas Frequent Flyer

All Qantas Frequent Flyer points are forfeited after the death of the member. In fact, any points transferred out of a member’s account after the date of their death, but before Qantas is notified, will also be cancelled. So, if possible, try to transfer the points out while the member is still alive… and beware of the consequences of notifying Qantas of the member’s death!

Here’s what section 8.3 of the Qantas Frequent Flyer Terms and Conditions says:

8.3 Membership will terminate automatically on the death of a Member. All Qantas Points earned but not yet redeemed or transferred prior to the death of the Member will be cancelled with effect from the date of death. Qantas Loyalty will close the Member’s account on notification of the Member’s death. Qantas Loyalty will not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever suffered by any person as a result of such cancellation.

This clause has actually been updated in recent years to specifically state that Qantas points will be cancelled with effect from the date of death. Previously, this just happened once the airline was notified of the member’s death.

Velocity Frequent Flyer

With Velocity Frequent Flyer, it is possible to redeem or transfer the points of a deceased member as long as they haven’t yet expired (Velocity points expire after 2 years of account inactivity). Status credits and eligible sectors cannot be transferred. The executor or administrator of the member’s estate would need to contact Velocity to request this.

Here’s the relevant excerpt from section 2.3 of the Velocity Frequent Flyer Terms & Conditions:

Executors or administrators of your estate can ask us to transfer your Points to another Velocity account or redeem Points associated with your Velocity account (or both). They’ll need to let us know as soon as possible as unused Points will continue to expire in accordance with clause 3 (Earning Points). Status Credits and Eligible Sectors can’t be transferred and will be forfeited once we are notified of your death.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Singapore Airlines takes a no-nonsense approach. All KrisFlyer miles and membership benefits will terminate immediately after the death of the member. With KrisFlyer, it’s also not possible to transfer miles to family members.

Here’s what section C6 of the KrisFlyer terms & conditions says:

Membership will terminate immediately upon death of the member. KrisFlyer miles, status credits and rewards earned but not redeemed at the time of death, as well as benefits and privileges, will be automatically forfeited on the death of the member. Miles and rewards do not constitute personal property and may not be bequeathed or otherwise treated as personal property.

Air New Zealand Airpoints

Air New Zealand’s Airpoints program takes a similar approach to Velocity Frequent Flyer. The Airpoints account will be cancelled once Air New Zealand is notified of the member’s death. But the executor of the member’s estate can request that the Airpoints balance in the account be transferred to a beneficiary within two years.

Section 6 of the Air New Zealand Airpoints™ terms & conditions states:

Following the date that we become aware of the death of an Airpoints Member, the deceased Member’s Airpoints Account, Shairpoints Account, Status Points, and all other Airpoints Member Benefits will be cancelled and become invalid. If we receive a written request by the executor of an Airpoints Member’s estate to transfer the deceased Airpoints Member’s current Airpoints Dollars balance (but not their Status Points) to the Airpoints accounts of the beneficiaries of the Airpoints Member’s estate, we will do so if we are satisfied that the request is valid and lawful and if the request is made within 2 years of the death of the Airpoints Member.

Other airlines

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Delta SkyMiles, Avianca LifeMiles, Air France/KLM Flying Blue and British Airways Executive Club are also among the list of frequent flyer programs that will immediately cancel a member’s loyalty account and forfeit all of their points and accrued benefits upon notification of their death.

But other airlines are much more lenient. Air Canada, for example, has a published Aeroplan Estate Policy which explains how beneficiaries of a late member’s estate can request the member’s Aeroplan points to be transferred to their account/s. Aeroplan requires scanned copies of the member’s death certificate and the portion of their will which names the beneficiaries.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Emirates Skywards and Etihad Guest also have similar exceptions which make it possible for the miles of a deceased member to be transferred to other people’s accounts, at the discretion of the airlines, upon the presentation of appropriate documentation. American Airlines AAdvantage and United MileagePlus also provide avenues to do this, although fees may be involved.

________________________

Related Articles

Recommended by the Australian Frequent Flyer

Control your existing appliances with your smartphone! Using the S26 Wi-Fi Smart Plug you can easily convert your existing appliances into smart devices to be controlled remotely with your phone. Takes just minutes to setup! www.littlegadgets.com.au
Buy Wine Online | Vinomofo Australia Vinomofo is the best wine deals site on the planet. Good wines, real people and epic deals, without all the bowties and bs. www.vinomofo.com

AFF Supporters can Login Now to remove all advertisements


Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]

7
Comments

  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
John Willis

With Covid alot of people obtained travel credits – my concern is people may pass away and the next kin is unaware so the airlines pocket the money.

eddie

That is pretty poor policy by Qantas. So If I have 1m points say then it would be worth transferring half of these to my wife in case once of us dies suddenly, eg Heart Attack or bycycle accident?. Or as indicated just be cautious about actually notifiying of death. Any prepaid qantas club membership would also be forfeited.

Choo-Lee Khor

Funny I was just updating superannuation beneficiary details this morning so looks like my 1mil flyer miles will also need to be looked at. Btw how much is it converted to dollar terms?

Richard Olive

Two points:
1. You have no legal responsibility to notify Qantas of a member’s death.
2. It would seem a very practical idea to be sure that spouses know each other’s pin number to their Qantas FF account, just in case they ever need to transfer points in the case the member is unable to do so personally.

Get me outta here

QF has a way of finding out. This happened to a friend who lost all his wife’s points. So, how does QF know?

Funnymummy

I have e had experience with this when my better half passed aw BC (before COVID). There were no points in the V account anyway so I didn’t bother unsubscribing from any emails or tell them. But after a while I decided getting the emails addressed to them was too much and let them know of the death. Phonecall went well and they asked for the death certificate to be emailed to customer service. Thought it was a bit of overkill but did it anyway. Then I get an email from customer service addressed to the deceased thanking them for… Read more »