Can You Pass On Air Miles When You Die?
Posted on 16th July 2020
Now-a-days, travel by aeroplane is as normal as catching a train, for many. In fact, for many of us who drive, we may find that we catch a plane more often than we step foot on a train. Our Hope Jordan finds that the only time she generally catches a train is to get to or from the airport. Whether you travel for work or pleasure, you most likely will have been on a plane during your lifetime.
So, what does this new normal of flying mean when someone dies? Well, if they were an avid traveller who owned property in other countries, their Estate in England and Wales may be affected by any assets that they held abroad; you can seek expert advice from our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors about administering your loved one’s Estate with domestic and foreign assets online, here.
The thing that many Personal Representatives (either the Executor named in the Will or the administrator under the Rules of Intestacy) would not consider is whether the deceased held any loyalty card points or air miles. As these are potentially becoming more valuable assets in people’s lives is it a question that Probate Experts should now be asking?
What are Air Miles?
Hope, based in ours Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Department, was under the misapprehension for many years of her life that air miles were something that you could only get in America, and that you had to be a member of a VIP club with an Airline before you could even start to accumulate any.
However, after joining our Probate Department, it became very clear that, actually, air miles can be accumulated in England and Wales, and they can be very valuable. As such a potentially valuable item, it is important to know whether or not your loved ones can access these after you have died.
So, for those of you who – like a lot of people, we imagine – will not be aware of what air miles are: air miles are loyalty or reward programmes, where people can collect points based on their travelling (normally by how many miles they have flown) or their spending in certain places. Once accumulated, these can be offset against the cost of flights. This means that, essentially, you may save enough points to fly for ‘free’.
Can you pass on air miles when you die?
The best place to start to find an answer to this question is not really set out under the law. Each individual airline (or a collective group of airlines, if they have all joined the same reward programme) will have their own terms and conditions about whether or not air miles can be passed onto a spouse or civil partner, or under the terms of the deceased’s Will.
British Airways states that:
Except as otherwise provided by British Airways and AGL and communicated to the Member, Avios points are not transferable (whether from person to person, account to account, statement to statement, card to card or otherwise) other than in accordance with the Conditions of Use and cannot be bequeathed, devised or otherwise transferred by operation of law.
Our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate team would explain that “bequeathed, devised” would usually refer to gifting such points under a person’s Will.
You can read British Airway’s full terms and conditions about their points, online, here.
On the other hand, Virgin Atlantic will allow transfer of loyalty points from one account to another providing that they are provided with a copy of the Death Certificate, along with a copy of the deceased’s Will, proving that the proposed transferee is the lawful beneficiary, and as long as there is no dispute over the transfer of the air miles. Again, you can find their full terms and conditions, here.
To find out whether your airline loyalty programme would allow transfer of your points, you should check your terms and conditions, or contact the rewards programme to find out.
The Next Steps
If you want to ensure that your assets pass to your loved ones or specific organisations, contact our expert Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors to discuss making a Will. You can contact our team via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by contacting your local office in Lancaster, Garstang or Longridge (Preston).
At MG Legal, our team will be more than happy to help you understand the process of making a Will, and help you to ensure that your Estate passes to who you want it to. We can help you with every step of the journey; from the initial take-off to the safe landing!
MG Legal - Your Local Solicitors
Share this post: