What happens to your Avios points when you die?

Yes, a cheery subject for a Friday morning.  However, this is something that rarely comes up but does impact quite a few people, especially those who were hoarding Avios during their career to spend during retirement.

I last focused on this two years ago.  I had been contacted by a reader whose father had passed away.  Both father and son had been in the same British Airways Household Account and the son had assumed that his late fathers Avios points would pass to him as head of the Household Account.  He was surprised to discover that this is not the case.

To be fair to British Airways, the rules of the Executive Club have always been clear on this point.   Clause 3.12.2 states:

upon the death of a Member, Avios Points, Tier Points and Lifetime Tier Points accumulated but unused at the time of death shall be cancelled.

BA Gold

Not all airlines have such a policy.  American Airlines, for example, will consider (and usually grants) transfers where the miles are specifically earmarked in a will.

The obvious way around this is the slightly dubious one of logging into the account of the deceased person and redeeming their Avios points for a flight for yourself.  British Airways does not insist that the credit card used to pay for a redemption is in the same name as the account holder so that would not be an issue.

Whilst this is technically against the rules, I would not personally chastise anyone who acted this way.

After my original piece two years ago, however, I was contacted by a solicitor who is also a ‘miles and points’ enthusiast.  He had dealt with a number of estates where the deceased had an Avios balance as one of their ‘assets’.

In each case, he had written to British Airways Executive Club with a copy of the Grant of Probate.  He advised BAEC that one of the residiuary beneficiaries had their own BA account and included the details.  Without fail, BA has agreed to transfer the Avios and tier points.

It appears that, when approached formally by a solicitor with the correct documentation, BA is willing to bend their published rules.

On a similar note …… you may want to consider making sure that other people can access your mileage account should anything happen to you.  If you have 1 million Avios in your account then, at a 1p valuation, you are looking at over £10,000 of value.  Not peanuts by any means and certainly not something you would want BA to wipe out on a whim.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. Interesting (if not depressing)… Maybe in my will I should leave all of my FF and loyalty program details! Currently I have over 0.5m Avios and 0.9m IHG points as well as a few other schemes.

  2. Personally I am amazed that BA would transfer Tier Points between Executive Club accounts but glad to see that someone was able to do it despite the circumstances

  3. OT: Creation – IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card
    I have received my first statement but still no sign of bonus point transfer to IHG account.
    Points (incl. bonus points of 20k) have left creation but no credit yet to IHG.
    Also the membership level is still base not upgraded to Platinum Elite.

    wondering if anyone in similar situation. Their CS service is beyond pathetic hence ranting here.

    • I know someone that has the status line in the IHG account but no points and told to wait 6 to 8 weeks. There are reports of IHG posting as standard points of FT too.

    • Yup I waited 6-8 weeks for platinum to show up on my account. Barclaycard said phone IHG. IHG said phone Barclaycard. I missed out on bonus points for two stays while waiting.

    • What has this to do with ‘What happens to your Avios points when you die?’

  4. My eldest son has all my personal details, up ‘in the Cloud ‘,and has exact details on all my accounts for when the inevitable happens. As you say, with an accumulated total of around two million ‘points/miles’ etc., these are too valuable to loose. Even the annual Delta Platinum luggage tags are worth a few bob on resale !

  5. A decent workaround – if you have access to the deceased person’s BAEC access details – would be to transfer the BAEC points to an avios.com a/c in their name, then set up an avios.com household a/c with you as head of household. Then break up the avios.com HH a/c and grab all the points for yourself, which is within their rules and takes a couple of days.

    • How do you break up a household account? Do you have to call/email Avios?

      • for avios.com it’s dead easy – you download a form, fill it in with your required division of Avios by member (it’s rubbishly put together, I phoned them in confusion & they said yes it’s rubbish & to ignore anything pointless), sign it and email it back.

        a couple of days later all done

  6. I found this out when my husband died 8 years ago. We were due a Companion Flight with BAEC and I had to fight like crazy to retain and use it.

  7. My dad passed away last year, he’s in a household account with me and mum – I haven’t cancelled his BAEC, even though I told BA he died when I cancelled some flights. His Avios are still available to use. Next time I use Avios I’ll log in as him and clear down his miles.

    • If he is in a household account with you then redemptions will be taken proportionally from all accounts so may not be necessary to log in as him

      Actually if you want to empty his account, you should move your mum’s and your avios to avios.com so that there is just enough left in the HH for what you want to redeem.

      • That is a clever way of mopping up some of the airmiles I have spread across other members of my HH account.

        Move my miles out to avios leaving just enough for the redemption, book and then move them back once eveybody elses accounts are drained. Brilliant , thanks.. Every day is a school day on here..

        • I should do another post on this actually …..

          • How do you access BAEC child account?
            They do show up on HHA balance but cannot access them for own use.

            • Rodger,

              They must have a seperate account set up to be part of your HH account and as you say their balance is totting up with yours as a household balance.

              I’ve got seperate username’s and passwords for my 3 kids and can login to their accounts as per mine. Each account shoes the personal balance and the household amount below. Their email address is often the username so you could try ‘forgot my password’ using kids email addresses if they have them?

              I have my account, the 3 kids and OH’s as a household account but have them all loaded into AwardWallet as seperate accounts to keep an eye on their growth and individual balances easily. Wife hasnt got a clue what an Avios point is mind you but she has a fair few.

              Hope this helps a bit.


      • Sort of on-topic: If redemptions are taken proportionally from all accounts, how does this work if there are enough Avios between the accounts, but not in one account for its share. As that probably sounds like nonsense, for example if my account holds 100,000, my wife’s holds 20,000 and we want to make a booking for 80,000 – there are clearly enough points, but not enough in her account to take 40,000…

  8. Mrs Roger and I have separate BAEC and avios.com accounts and have not yet contemplated household accounts.

    Could this be a reason to start now?

    • I would have thought having a household BAEC account would be a sensible thing to do even if neither of you intend to die soon. I can’t see any disadvantages – only advantages. Having a household avios.com account, on the other hand, is too much hassle to be worth it, in my view – particularly since you can transfer Avios so easily between avios.com and BAEC.

      • There are disadvantages if you issue lots of tickets for other people. It is better than it was, due to the friends and family list, but this is not unlimited.

  9. This refers to BAEC. Do the same rules and policies apply to Avios in anyone’s experience?

  10. My father passed away a few years ago. After chatting with Avios they wanted a copy of his Death Cert to return the account to solo use as we had a Father and Son household account. As Mum did not want them to have anything so personal we used most of the points and the account will be left dormant for 2 years as it will then be closed down through the inactivity rule.
    Its a real pain as i wanted to use the Avios account as a means to transfer points from Iberia to BAEC.
    I tried to open up another Avios account but it always bounces back even using another email address. DOB/Home address/Name must flag up.
    Suggestions welcome.

    • Adjust the first line of the address slightly. For example, if you live at 10 Smith Street, change to ‘No. 10 Smuth Street, or 10 Smirth Street, or Ten Smith St, and use different email address. Date of birth and name must match BA account if you wish to transfer between avios.com and BAEC

    • change personal details on both a/cs to read the same DOB/Home address/Name

  11. shadowfixer says:

    My wife died last year and had around 200,000 avios in her BAEC account, which is a included in the household account with myself and our children. I haven’t got round to transferring out her avios yet, but will be doing so using the method Harry suggests above – transfer to Avois.com and then transfer to me.
    As an aside we have both used https://lastpass.com/f?916246 (link gives a months free premium) as password managers for all our online passwords – this has made life SO much easier than it could have been.


  12. Gambling is against Paypal T&Cs so you risk your Paypal account (as I don’t use Paypal frequently I usually close my account after each use and open a new one)

    • Are you sure gambling is against Paypal T&C?

      It is listed as a deposit option on pokerstars – and I have used it to deposit and withdraw funds totalling thousands.

    • I have multi accounts with different betting companies, they all take Paypal.

  13. Cheers Harry…
    £20 deposited , 25 spins at £1 a pop on even and cashed out £24.
    3300 more Avios to the pot..

  14. OT: am i right to remember that max 100k HHonors points can be bought per year?

  15. The upside of airlines stating that miles are not inheritable, or at least having complete discretion whether to credit them to beneficiaries or not, is that they will be outside the estate for IHT purposes.

    Also, AA were happy to transfer my late father’s 1,000,000 miles to his children even though the will made no specific mention of them. Indeed this was the only time I have had a pleasant stress free experience dealing with AA !