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What happens to your Avios points when you die?

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Yes, a cheery subject for a Friday but with coronavirus on the loose …… (JOKE!)

More seriously, this is a topic 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 focused on this a few years 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 three 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 British Airways to wipe out on a whim.

PS.  If you missed it, take a look at our recent article on the top 10 reasons to get the free British Airways American Express credit card.

(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.)

Comments (72)

  • Love says:

    Yes, a cheery subject for a Friday but with coronavirus on the loose …… (JOKE!)

    Not really a joking matter when hundreds are dead.

    • Boris says:

      Disappointing indeed. Quite in bad taste really.

    • callum says:

      Anything can be a joking matter.

      I agree it’s not suitable for publication in a respectable blog given there are so many fragile people around, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with joking about it.

    • TrainDriverSparky says:

      If one has to signpost something intended as joke with ‘ …… (JOKE!)’, It generally means that the joke wasn’t funny in the first place.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      So you’ve never joked about the “man flu” before? Because 10000’s have died of that

  • Craig says:

    Really bad taste the opening line Rob, I’m surprised, this isn’t in keeping for the HFP team.

  • Kevin says:

    Pretty disgraceful ‘joke’ Rob. I hope you’ll reflect on this.

  • The_real_a says:

    I laughed out loud. That was pretty amusing. Dark humour and all. The PC brigade are up early it seems.

    • The Original David says:

      Agreed.

    • Mike says:

      Gosh how PC / Woke / Snowflake (eg dull) do you have to be not to see that as a joke – well done Rob.

    • Andrew says:

      Dark humour is good. They make the best funerals too.

      My cousin wanted his ashes scattered at the top of Ben Vorlich, by the time we got to the top it was a typical blustery and wet day and despite wet weather kit our faces were damp. The bloody wind changed as we scattered them. We were covered in them. I had his ashes on my face, in my hair, up my nose, then his widow started to giggle…

      • Spurs Debs says:

        I agree, I have a very dark sense of humour. You have to see the funny side of life and death. I was at a funeral yesterday the humanist was giving her last eulogy and went up to coffin and started talking to my uncle as if he was still alive. Well it made me laugh because he would of thought it absurd! When I went to scatter my dads ashes the wind changed and I got covered in my Dad that also made me laugh. Some of the things my Mum says who has advanced dementia which are bizarre I choose to laugh at or I would spend my day in tears.
        As for this virus I’m off to Japan hopefully in April someone asked me if I was worried about catching it?my reply as long as it’s after my trip!

  • Simon says:

    Two points. When my father died some 20 years ago BA transfer his Avios to me when I approached them even though they were not specifically mentioned in his will.

    Second point – if the deceased is a member of a household account then surely other members when redeeming will simply reduce that member’s balance pro rata until there is nothing left.

  • Dawn says:

    My father died 3 years ago and I rang BA to ask what I should do as he is part of my household account and as he was 82 and couldn’t use the computer I was his third party nominee. The BA guy on the phone told me there was nothing to do, that I could just leave the account open. So that’s what I have done. My father didn’t have many Avios points himself but I’ve kept him on my Household account, I’ve booked reward flights so guess some have come off his very small balance. He’s virtually at zero now.

  • SydneySwan says:

    Nothing wrong with a bit of gallows humour in my book. Some of you are just way to precious. What people should really be complaining about is BA expunging miles in the case of death. This is awful behaviour, especially in the situation where miles may actually have been purchased from BA. After all if you die your car dealer doesn’t repossess your car if it has been fully paid for.

    • memesweeper says:

      I would guess, just as they expire points in dormant accounts, this is about not leaving an indefinite liability on BAs books in the long term. Their actual practices are much more reasonable it seems.

  • Mark says:

    If tier points are transferred, does that count towards the next of kin’s lifetime tp? Or is it just the tp they have earned in that year? If it’s all their tps then that would certainly make ltg/ltggl a lot easier.

    • Tom says:

      Tier points aren’t transferred

      • Fereke says:

        This is what happens according to the aforementioned solicitor.
        But I’m also surprised that TP would be transferred, just as I don’t expect to inherit MD or whatever professional qualification my parents held when they pass away