Include Rewards Points in Your Death Plans


Illustration for article titled Include Rewards Points in Your Death Plans
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When you’re on your deathbed, family members probably won’t pepper you with questions about unused credit card rewards. And yet, unused points can be worth thousands of dollars—and with some finesse and planning, you can ensure that these perks are left behind to your family.

How to pass on your rewards points

Every loyalty program has different rules: some simply forfeit your points upon notice of your death (Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, and Southwest), some might offer a low-value cash-back redemption (Citi ThankYou Rewards), and some will allow you to transfer your points to another recipient (Alaska Airlines and American Airlines).

Even transferring points can be complicated, as some policies require the transfer to be specified in a will, or only if an authorized representative of the estate requests it. Some require transfers to be completed within a certain number of days, too—it’s a real mixed bag of policies, so you’ll want to read the fine print for your particular loyalty program.

  • As you are not automatically entitled to your rewards, you might not want your family to contact the loyalty program right after your death. Instead, The Points Guy recommends leaving your login access to your account with your immediate family (ideally, before you’re on your deathbed), as that will allow them to redeem the points instead of paying for formal transfer fees. The site states that the airline agents they spoke to encourage this, as it might be the easiest way to go about redeeming points quickly.
  • Another similar option is “pooling points,” as many programs allow you to add family members as authorized users on your credit card, which will ensure that your family will still have access to your share of the rewards when you die.
  • As some programs do allow you to transfer points, you might as well specify in your will that you want to leave the points behind to your next-of-kin (if you have a spouse, they might want to do this, as well).
  • Lastly, another good idea is to redeem your points regularly, perhaps enjoyed with your family while you’re still alive. There’s no point in carting around a stockpile of points if you don’t ever intend to use them, especially if you’re paying hundreds of dollars in annual fees on your credit card.

Above all else, passing along your points is really just a matter of thinking ahead and having a plan in place to transfer your points. The material benefit is that the points won’t be wasted. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll be saving your family from at least one hassle during a difficult time.