Ghouls and goblins may be knocking at your door for Halloween treats, but what happens when it’s the grim reaper? You may have a will in place to dole out your other worldly possessions, but can you bequeath your reward miles and points when you die?
The short answer: It depends on the program, according to new study by Colloquy, a developer of marketing and loyalty programs. It looked at frequent flyer, hotel loyalty and other rewards programs to find out what the rules are. Some programs are clear on how to transfer points to loved ones, other programs are confusing, and with some your points expire when you do.
If you don’t know what happens to your points and miles when you die, you’re not alone. Only 12% of the 1,200 consumers that took part in the study actually knew. Three-quarters of respondents said the question had never occurred to them.
You can’t take them with you
Miles and points earned with United’s Mileage Plus, American’s AAdvantage, and US Airways Dividend Miles can go to a friend or family member, but Mileage Plus charges a $150 transfer fee to the estate or the member inheriting the points.
American Express Members Rewards, Bank America Travel Rewards, Citi Thank You, and US Bank Flex Points all allow members to make after-death point transfers to beneficiaries for free. American Express specifies that the points can be transferred to the executor of the estate, but they must be a member.
Marriott Rewards and Starwood Hotels & Resorts also allow members to transfer points to a spouse or domestic partner if they also belong to the guest program. Delta Skymiles, Southwest Rapid Rewards and Hilton HHonors points cannot be transferred when one dies.
More information please
While members may not be thinking about what is going to happen to their points once their gone, they do care about it. Nearly half (48%) of respondents indicated that they thought it was crucial that their rewards program provide them with this information in a clear and easy-to-understand format so they can make some decision on what to do with their stockpile. To see more, read the Inherit the Windfall report.