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Q is for Question What Happens to Your Frequent Flyer Miles if You No Longer Exist?


Have you taken a moment to think about all the Airline Miles you have acquired over the years? If you are like many of us, you have been saving them for a trip of a lifetime, those fabulous family vacations, or maybe that second honeymoon. But what if something were to happen to you?  What would become of all the miles you accrued?
Did you know that most airlines have a written policy that does not allow for the transferring of miles to your heirs upon death? Each airline has a specific policy regarding their frequent flyer miles program.  If your airline does permit a loved one to take over your frequent flyer assets after death, you should find out now. Have a plan to bequeath these miles in the case of death.
It makes complete sense that airlines are not going to make it easy to collect inheritance miles. These miles are a huge financial liability for the airlines. If the promised miles expire, with the death of the owner, the airline is no longer liable.
In most cases, the answer from the frequent flyer program is probably “NO.” Many airlines protect themselves by listing a general statement that miles are not transferable. Airfarewatchdog has compiled a list of several major airline’s printed policy on their websites regarding inheriting miles. These published “terms and conditions” specifically exclude the transfer of frequent-flyer miles upon death. They also list documentation needed to transfer miles to the inheritor. The inconsistency between what the rules say and how they are applied may make it possible to find a kindhearted human at the frequent flyer desk who may interpret the rules in your favor.
Here are a few things you can do to help avoid this becoming an issue:
Include a provision in your will that makes your wishes clear; it’s important if your airline requires a copy of a will as documentation, It is still up to the discretion of the airline to honor the transfer of these miles.
Open online accounts for all of your airline rewards and credit card reward programs and provide this information to a trusted individual. Give them specific directions and login information. Now they can go online to redeem awards. Or even move miles without calling the airlines before the account is shut down.
Add an authorized user to your main credit card rewards accounts; they can often transfer credit card reward points directly into their mileage accounts.
Don’t give up and take the airline’s written policy as the law. Take matters into your own hands. If their actions don’t line up with the terms of their policy. Gather the proper documentation and request mile transfer from the airlines.
For those well-traveled individuals that have millions of miles, take a moment, make a plan and communicate your wishes to your loved ones.  Or better yet start redeeming your points today and avoid the worries of leaving a valuable asset behind.
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