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Loyalty programs: what happens to your points after death?

CALGARY- It’s estimated the average family belongs to at least eight loyalty reward programs, but what happens to all the points or miles when the card holder dies?

Patrick Sojka with Rewards Canada says it’s something most surviving family members never think about.

“Hundreds of thousands of points go unused because of people passing on and not letting their loved ones know that they have these points and miles in these accounts,” she explains

A recent survey of Canadian consumers found only one in 10 knows they can bequeath what’s in their account.

Jeff Berry with LoyaltyOne says rewards programs have different policies about using left over points when someone passes.

“Anything from the points expire upon the members death to full transferability to a family member or a friend. The ability to potentially have somebody else redeem the points on death,” he says.

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Berry adds that every family should have a plan and make sure everyone knows about it ahead of time, or even leave it in your will.

“If they consider loyalty points similar to the way that they would consider any other asset, including that in their will or some sort of documented plan is a great idea.”

Sojka says most programs require a death certificate to transfer points, some will charge a one-time fee or charge by the point and there may be time limits to apply.

“I think the number one step is leave your user name and passwords with your loved ones, your spouses, your kids, whom ever. At least they can have a list of them and that way they can access those account afterwards. Then they can determine whether it’s best to have  those points or miles transferred to their accounts or just continue using the account for you.”

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