Here's how to transfer frequent flyer miles after you die
Even after you die, it is possible your frequent flyer miles and points could live on for your friends or family, depending on the airline.
Some have official methods for passing your points on to a relative in case of death, while others have stricter policies that don’t allow for any transfers whatsoever. A few companies also have pooling programs where you and your friends can automatically share points, so even if you die, your points and miles won't go to waste.
The easiest thing you can do, however, to give someone your points and miles after death is to make sure they have access to your username and password, according to travel advice website The Points Guy.
That way, your friend or relative can use your miles without formally letting the airline know, which often requires documentation and fees.
To see what some of the official policies are, here’s what seven major U.S. airlines have to say about transferring miles and points after someone dies.
|AAL||AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.||14.47||+0.12||+0.84%|
|DAL||DELTA AIR LINES INC.||34.11||+0.79||+2.36%|
|JBLU||JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP.||7.10||0.00||0.00%|
|LUV||SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.||31.83||+0.39||+1.24%|
|SAVE||SPIRIT AIRLINES INC.||17.11||+0.17||+1.00%|
|UAL||UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC.||43.71||+0.24||+0.55%|
According to American Airlines’ terms and conditions web page for its AAdvantage program, miles and credits “do not constitute property of the member.”
“Neither accrued mileage, nor award tickets, nor status, nor upgrades are transferable by the member (i) upon death, (ii) as part of a domestic relations matter, or (iii) otherwise by operation of law,” the website says.
The site does explain there are some exceptions, saying: “However, American Airlines, in its sole discretion, may credit accrued mileage to persons specifically identified in court approved divorce decrees and wills upon receipt of documentation satisfactory to American Airlines and upon payment of any applicable fees.”
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles Membership has strict rules about transferring miles or points, according to its program rules.
“Miles are not the property of any Member,” Delta says on its rules website. “Except as specifically authorized in the Membership Guide and Program Rules or otherwise in writing by an officer of Delta, miles may not be sold, attached, seized, levied upon, pledged, or transferred under any circumstances, including, without limitation, by operation of law, upon death, or in connection with any domestic relations dispute and/or legal proceeding.”
Frontier Airlines has several ways miles can be transferred in its Frontier Miles Program, according to the program’s terms and conditions website.
Two or more members can link their accounts and earn points together through the company’s Family Pooling program -- so if your account is connected with someone else’s account (it can be a friend or relative), they can access your miles after you die automatically.
If your account isn’t linked with someone else’s, your loved ones need a death certificate or a letter from the executor.
“In instances of multiple executors or heirs of miles based on court documents, miles are divided as directed by the court. In the event an heir does not have a Frontier Miles account, they may enroll or submit written permission to waive their rights to their miles and those miles will be divided among the remaining heirs,” the website says.
JetBlue’s TruBlue membership also allows customers to earn points with other members using its Points Pooling program, which can give connected friends and relatives access to your miles after you die.
However, the company doesn’t allow for points to be transferred outside of the pool program, according to the TrueBlue terms and conditions website.
“Accrued Points and Award Travel do not constitute property of Member and are non-transferable (i) upon death, (ii) as part of a domestic relations matter, or (iii) otherwise,” the site says.
According to Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards program terms, after a member dies, their points can’t be transferred to another account, though the account won’t be deactivated until 24 months after the person died.
“Points may not be transferred to a Member's estate or as part of a settlement, inheritance, or will. In the event of a Member’s death, his/her account will become inactive after 24 months from the last earning date (unless the account is requested to be closed) and points will be unavailable for use,” the Southwest website says.
Spirit Airlines’ Free Spirit program doesn’t allow members to transfer their miles, according to the program’s FAQ page.
The airline didn’t specify any potential exceptions in the case of a member’s death. Spirit Airlines also did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.
Members of United Airlines’ MileagePlus Program actually can transfer their points and miles after they’ve died, as long as their loved ones can provide the fees and documentation required by the airline, the program’s rules say.
“In the event of the death or divorce of a Member, United may, in its sole discretion, credit all or a portion of such Member’s accrued mileage to authorized persons upon receipt of documentation satisfactory to United and payment of applicable fees,” the website says.