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Bequeathing Air Miles - Giving Frequent Flyer Miles


Did you know that you could bequeath frequent flyer miles in the case of death? Usually you can, but airline policies differ. Airfarewatchdog has created a chart of rules - Inheriting Miles: Airline Rules & Procedures - for claiming loved ones’ miles for several airlines - giving you an idea of what is involved in transferring frequent flyer miles in case of death.

Airfarewatchdog founder George Hobica says the chart is long overdue. “Sooner or later, many of us will be faced with the possibility of bequeathing or inheriting frequent flyer miles. We found that policies governing the transfer of miles vary from airline to airline, and some airlines flatly state on their websites that miles cannot be transferred upon death, but that's actually not true.”

Some of the points and highlights covered in Airfarewatchdog's chart -
  • American Airlines - requires a copy of the pages of the will identifying the deceased, and the executor, and a page showing the date of execution. Other rules also apply. A fee of $50 to transfer more than 10,000 miles.
  • Continental Airlines - requires a death certificate and a letter from the executor authorizing the transfer of miles. No transfer fee.
  • Delta Airlines - requires an affidavit from the executor and a letter (if more than one heir) from all beneficiaries to distribute miles. No transfer fee.
  • United Airlines - requires copy of a death certificate and proof of beneficiary. United sends out a form for this. The transfer fee is $75.
Hobica cautions that inheritors need to read the fine print. “As if losing a loved one isn't bad enough, if that person dies and you're his or her spouse, some of these airlines make you pay a fee to inherit frequent flyer miles. And these rules often conflict with what you’ll hear if you call the airlines’ frequent flyer desks.”

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