The Essentials

What Happens to Your Frequent Flyer Miles When You Die?

Most of us work all too hard to earn frequent flyer miles. But what happens when we die? Where do those unused miles go?


We earned them, so we own them, right? That’s not necessarily true. Many airlines claim that they own the miles, and when you die, you can’t will them to anyone else.

So when you die, your miles die too.


Are there ways around this? It depends on the airline. For example, Southwest says that a member’s account doesn’t become inactive until 24 months after you last used it.


Many people simply don’t tell the airline and suddenly their grandfather, who died six months ago, simply spends the account down for award tickets for friends and relatives.