Make us your home page
Instagram

Frequent-flier miles not always transferable after death

Do your frequent-flier miles expire when you do?

As larger portions of Americans' assets move from the material world to the digital realm, all that time and effort invested with loyalty programs has accrued an estimated $50 billion of accumulated value.

Individuals could rack up thousands of dollars' worth of rewards. Yet policies are varied and inconsistent for bequeathing airline miles and other loyalty rewards to a beneficiary after death, according to a recent study, "Inherit the Windfall" by Colloquy, the research group for loyalty program provider LoyaltyOne.

Some policies are clear and published online; others are vague, unpublished or inconsistently applied. Worse, some customer representatives reached by phone were ill-informed, providing answers that contradict written policies, Colloquy found.

Here are some examples of U.S. airlines' policies.

Frequent-flier miles or points cannot be transferred after death on Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines. American Airlines and US Airways, however, allow the free transfer of those rewards after a person dies. United Airlines allows a transfer but charges $150.

Experts offer consumers these tips:

Use them up. As a preventive measure, use your points as you accumulate them. Redeem them for yourself or as gifts to others.

Leave logins. Often, you can sidestep the hassle of transferring rewards to heirs if you keep records for online account login information, such as a user name or account number and the associated password. Also, note your wishes about who should get the value of the accounts.

Try a transfer. If you must transfer rewards and the account has worthwhile value, attempt a transfer even if the company's policy forbids it. Colloquy found that company policies are inconsistently applied, so it's worth a try.

Frequent-flier miles not always transferable after death 12/06/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 6, 2013 10:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Lightning, Amalie Arena to host job fair today

    Business

    TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Lightning and its home, Amalie Arena, are hosting a part-time job fair from 3 to 6 p.m. today on the Promenade Level of the arena. Available positions include platinum services, parking attendants, event security, housekeeping, retail and many other departments.

    The Tampa Bay Lightning and AMALIE Arena is hosting a part-time job fair on Thursday, Aug. 17 on the Promenade level of the arena.
  2. Nearly 1 in 4 Tampa Bay homeowners considered equity rich

    Real Estate

    If your home is worth at least 50 percent more than you owe, you're rich — equity rich that is.

    About one in four Tampa Bay homeowners are considered "equity rich." [Associated Press file photo]
  3. The FHP trooper behind quota on speeding tickets will retire Sept. 5

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A Florida Highway Patrol official's call for troopers to meet ticket quotas has cost him his job.

    Major Mark D. Welch, Troop Commander of Troop H, wrote an email asking his employees that he wants them to write two citations each hour. "This is not a quota," he wrote. His resignation is effective Sept. 5. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  4. Trump shuts down CEO advisory councils as main group acts to disband

    Business

    President Donald Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded on Wednesday following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them. Soon after, the president announced on Twitter that he would end his executive councils, "rather than …

    President Donald Trump meets with Merck's chief executive, Kenneth Frazier, second from left, and other leaders of the pharmaceutical industry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House last January. On Wednesday, Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.
[New York Times file photo]
  5. A long-awaited vision for Tampa's Westshore Marina District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA —Eleven years after plans to develop a waterfront tract on the Tampa side of the Gandy Bridge were first announced, a new rendering gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District ultimately will look like.

    Rendering of Marina Pointe, a condo project overlooking Tampa Bay as part of the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of Masterfile Corp.}