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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)

  • Paul says:

    I thought the joke was funny

    Som e-reader need to lighten up

  • Nick_C says:

    More than 250,000 people die on the roads in China each year.

    Around 600 people in the UK due each year from ‘Flu.

    We are all going to die. We just don’t know when. Or how. Its always good to be prepared for death. And to laugh about it.

  • Dominic says:

    As someone currently in self-isolation due to the coronavirus issue – with very regular contact with health officials – I found the joke funny.

    Lighten up PC brigade.

    • Mike says:

      Dominic – I hope your comment is not infectious ! I read it with my read over my mouth if that helps.

    • MD says:

      @Dominic – best wishes! Hope you get the all clear soon. Recent trip to Thailand by any chance?

      • Dominic says:

        Thanks! Unfortunately mine was a terribly timed trip to China.

        The virus wasn’t really a thing when I flew to the country (minus ‘we have an issue in Wuhan’). Everything started exploding whilst there.

  • Rantallion says:

    Recent experience is that BA was happy to transfer the deceased’s Avios to their spouse at the request of the Executor of the will. TPs weren’t transferred.

  • Jonathan says:

    Back on topic – do Avios and other miles/points count towards your overall estate value? I assume not given there is no official value usually set by each programme?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Shouldn’t do as they have no monetary value and they are exempt for income tax.

  • Volker says:

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

    Certainly a way of getting you closer to 500,000 comments …… (JOKE!)

  • Bruceylegs says:

    Does the last paragraph mean that if the deceased contributed to a household account the other family members would retain access to those Avios?

  • PP London says:

    There maybe someone reading this article that has been affected by coronavirus (not a joke!)

    • Pedro says:

      2nd degree humour is like food in Soviet Russia…not everyone gets it! 🙂

    • Dominic says:

      I’m in self-isolation, still unsure whether I have the virus or not.

      I laughed.

      Can we move on now?

    • Callum says:

      I’ve made clear that no subject is off the table to joke about (and that’s not a niche view – turn on any mainstream comedy show and they’ll tell jokes about far worse things), but there’s a difference between telling a joke and being an unpleasant person. You’re acting like you’re in the second category, I hope that doesn’t accurately represent you (and oh the irony at being offended by people being offended by something!).

    • Li Wenliang says:

      depends on the audience, as it will “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people”
      the comments might be flooded with attacks and DDoS if >5% of the readers were Chinese (e.g. OMAAT)