What Happens to Travel Miles and Hotel Points When You Die?

Most people recognize the importance of planning for death but do not often consider what will happen to their rewards points and frequent flyer miles after they die.

If an account holder has hundreds of thousands of points, these rewards can be very valuable.

That’s why in almost every loyalty program’s terms and conditions, you will find language stating that loyalty points and miles do not belong to you.

Due to the fact that rewards points are not considered property, you are not legally entitled to transfer them upon your death to anyone else.

What happens to your points is, in practice, at the discretion of the company that offers the travel rewards program, which could be a credit card issuer, airline, hotel chain, etc.

According to my research into cards, airlines, and hotels that I use frequently, it is usually specified in the terms and conditions of reward programs what happens to accumulated points in the event of the account holder’s death.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

American Express Membership Rewards

Points may be reinstated to a new basic account or redeemed by the estate of the deceased account holder but are forfeited if the card is canceled.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Upon notification of the account holder’s death, Chase automatically redeems rewards for cash in the form of a statement credit.

Discover Rewards

Discover automatically credits the rewards balance to the account when the account is closed.

Delta Sky Club

Miles aren’t transferable upon the death of the account holder.

Southwest Rapid Rewards

Miles aren’t transferable upon the death of the account holder.

Marriott Bonvoy

Points are transferable upon the account holder’s death.

Hilton Honors

Points are transferable if a request is made and all required documents are submitted within one year of the date of death.

How to get the points your heirs are due

The most simple and straightforward step is to make sure that your loved ones have access to your loyalty accounts.

In this manner, in the event that something happens to you, they may be able to take advantage of your points and miles by simply logging into your account.

Most of the time (especially when it comes to flights), you can use your points and miles to book travel for someone else.

Thus, by having login access to your loved one’s account, you may book travel on their behalf or on behalf of others.

Keep in mind, however, the expiration date of the points or mileage.