What happens to loyalty scheme points when someone dies?
It’s one of those things we wouldn’t think about when making a Will, but what happens to our loyalty programme points when we die? It’s worth a few minutes to understand the rules surrounding end of life for us and those for whom we act as executors.
Below are summaries of the applicable Ts&Cs of leading loyalty programmes. Anecdotal evidence suggests that even if a programme states that points will simply be cancelled on death, the provider might actually be more flexible if you get in touch with them.
In essence, if you know you regularly hold a large number of points, it’s worth bequeathing them in your Will to a friend or family member – but you will need probably need documentation and even a solicitor’s letter to aid your case. And if you’re executor for someone else’s Will, there’s nothing to be lost in contacting the company and asking if the points can be transferred.
Virgin Red and Virgin Flying Club
The first step of closing the account of a deceased person at Virgin Red and Virgin Flying Club appears straightforward from but you have to find a way to contact the company.
The company actually states that it’s possible to leave Virgin Red points to someone in a Will. For that, Virgin Red wants a letter and supporting documents from the Executor. Otherwise the points are forfeited.
British Airways Avios
Frequent flyers can easily accumulate a wealth of points that can be turned into savings on flights, holidays, activities and a wide range of other benefits. They can have a significant value, so it’s worth trying to find out if they can be transferred should a family member pass away with a large holding.
However, the Ts&Cs for Avios points, Tier Points and Lifetime Tier Points is pretty uncompromising. British Airways says that they will be cancelled following the death of the holder. However, there have been reports that the airline is more flexible if you contact them upon the death of a relative, and has been willing to transfer points without any issues.
Nowadays Nectar works in association with Sainsburys to enable customers to collect and spend points. Nectar says: ‘Points can only be transferred from a Nectar Account to another Nectar Account on death or divorce if adequate evidence of the legal division of points is given to us.’
Tesco Clubcard points can be used against the cost of a range of activities or towards a grocery shopping bill. They are no longer part of the Avios scheme, which enabled customers to cut the cost of air travel with British Airways.
It’ still quite easy to collect points if you shop regularly at Tesco.
This is what Tesco says: ‘If a family member dies, please contact our Customer Service team with the member’s name, address and Clubcard number. We will close the account so that no further mailings are sent. If you’d like the points transferred to your existing card or would like them on a new card, you’ll need to ask for this in writing.’
Most loyalty points schemes make some sort of statement about transferring points within their Ts&Cs. If in doubt, try to contact them for the full facts.
If you found this article useful, you might also like to read:
- Life Ledger – simplifying death notification to organisations free of charge
- Organising a funeral
- Coping with grief
Photo by Bing Hui Yau on Unsplash