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.
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.
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