Inheritability

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Aug 29, 2018
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I was wodering -- are frequent flier miles inheritable, or do they return t the airline when someone dies? Similarly, what haopens to airline credits?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
It's spelled out in the airline's website. Most airlines make sure their customers know that their miles do not belong to them, they belong to the airline. Not just to be mean, but it's important that the airlines don't have to answer to their customers when they change the program.

As for a credit, that does belong to the customer; they're usually not transferable. But a well-worded request might allow a family member to use it after the owner's demise. I'd have a look at FlyerTalk to see if there's a thread on the subject of credits.
 
May 30, 2019
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+1: The best primary source for information is the specific airline. The best third-party source is the airline's specific forum on flyertalk-dot-com.

Keep in mind that you've asked 2 different questions -- miles & airline credits -- which may have 2 different answers for the same airline.
 
May 21, 2020
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I inherited AA miles some years back. It was a monumental pain to collect. But it was A LOT of miles so I went thru the motions. It required a death certificate and a number of other documents. The Points Guy wrote an article last year about bequeathing and inheriting miles that gives a good overview of each airline’s policy vs the reality of getting them transferred.

So with my experience in mind, our daughter has all our frequent traveler account logins so she can just transfer the miles and points in the event of our death. I think that’s the most common advice on this subject you’ll see in Flyertalk and other forums.

As for credits, I tried giving an $800 United credit away to a friend and was not permitted to do so. Not transferable. I knew it from reading the T&Cs already but had to ask since my friend could’ve really used it.
 
Aug 29, 2018
278
336
63
59
I inherited AA miles some years back. It was a monumental pain to collect. But it was A LOT of miles so I went thru the motions. It required a death certificate and a number of other documents. The Points Guy wrote an article last year about bequeathing and inheriting miles that gives a good overview of each airline’s policy vs the reality of getting them transferred.

So with my experience in mind, our daughter has all our frequent traveler account logins so she can just transfer the miles and points in the event of our death. I think that’s the most common advice on this subject you’ll see in Flyertalk and other forums.

As for credits, I tried giving an $800 United credit away to a friend and was not permitted to do so. Not transferable. I knew it from reading the T&Cs already but had to ask since my friend could’ve really used it.
I think sharing the credentials for the accounts is the best idea -- I have three largish (six figure, but not seven figure) loyalty account balances. I used to give my parents tickets when they were alive, I really haven't used a loyalty program for a ticket for myself since I was upgrading Continental flights.

I ask about the credits since I have a business class credit to Europe on Virgin (as well as some smaller ones domestically) -- and were I to fall to COVID (or just get hit by the proverbial bus) I'd hope someone elder can use it. It seems to me to be similar to getting something back on a ticket when the passenger dies before travel.

Oh well.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,886
10,694
113
San Francisco
It really is an amazing mess with FF miles and credits. But many of us remember when airlines were super-easy to get along with, they'd always help a traveller. In the beginning of FF programs, things were nice and simple ... and Continental's OnePass was actually fun to participate in. That's how I learned to love flying up front. Bear in mind that the travellers themselves have caused today's mistrust of each other by taking advantage of the airlines back then. So now we face an all-out battle over nearly anything. Transferring miles before death is good advice, but often the fees are so expensive that it negates the value of the miles.
 
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