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What happens to my airline miles and hotel points when I die?

Posted by Joel Beck | May 25, 2022 | 0 Comments

            It's no secret that people dream about their summer vacation when they are slammed at work or have a long list of to-dos for the week. In fact, some people might even start planning for their vacations in the winter. However, something people don't normally plan for, or even think about when they're dreaming of paradise, is what would happen to their airline miles and hotel points if they were to die. As morbid as this thought may be, it's good to know what you can do if this happens.

So, what happens to your points if you die?

           The first thing you need to understand is that, although you have accumulated those points as a member, you are likely not the owner of them. In short, under the program rules (those terms and conditions you checked off that you read, but you almost certainly did not) your points are not your assets. So, if you were to hypothetically die tomorrow, your points would not be passed down to your next of kin, spouse, or other relatives. Additionally, you could not include these points in your will or trust as an asset that gets passed down to someone else, because you can't pass down something you don't own in a will or trust.

What CAN I do if I wanted my points to be used by someone else after I die?

            There is no universal answer to this question because airline miles and hotel points are governed by the specific program's terms and policies set by each vendor and can vary depending on which company you use. However, there are some options that you can explore. For example, you might want to ensure that someone you trust has access to your online account in the event that something were to happen to you.  Then, such person may be able to transfer those points or miles to another in accordance with your wishes. Please note, however, that sharing of your login information might be prohibited by the terms and conditions of some loyalty programs, but it might work for you anyway. Some vendors may  readily agree to transfer points and miles to another upon learning of your death, while others might instead close the account if they have learned of your passing.

Ultimately, there is no straight-forward answer to this question, because of the variety of different programs and terms of use for each. Because of this, many estate planning lawyers may not include provisions in a will or trust to deal with your airline miles and hotel points because such provisions may have no legal effect– since you cannot transfer what you don't own. But, if you desire, you can have your wishes for these items included in a will or trust, though whether it brings about your intended result would remain to be seen. 

For more information on this topic, you might want to read The Points Guy blog called, “What happens to your points and miles after you die?”

At Peach State Wills & Trusts, we help individuals, families and business owners with their important planning in a stress-free manner. For help with your estate planning needs , please contact us here or give us a call at (678) 344-4352.

To learn more about estate planning in Georgia,  request our free guide to estate planning here.

About the Author

Joel Beck

Joel Beck founded The Beck Law Firm, LLC in 2007. His firm focused on business law and estate planning needs of clients, two areas that he was drawn to based upon personal and business experiences in his life, including a ten-year career at NASD (now known as FINRA).


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