Is it Possible to Get the Miles from Deceased Family Members

It is morbid to think about, but if you have a family member that has passed away and amassed a large amount of airline miles, you may want to use them. It is something to consider, even if it does seem a bit morbid – they spent time earning them, so someone should use them.

Is it possible to get airline miles from a deceased family member?

It Is – If You Have Your Affairs in Order

It is possible to get miles from a deceased family member if everyone has their information correct and you get a little lucky. For most airlines, it is up to the discretion of the airlines and can even vary depending on who you talk to about it all. It might cost you some time and effort, but if there are a lot of miles at stake, it is worth it. Make sure to read the fine print, because there are mileage transfer fees for some airlines.

Depending on the airline, there is a special form that needs to be completed and sent back along with a death certificate. Sometimes, you can fill the form out online and send the death certificate separately, sometimes it has to all be together.

Note that no airline is going to do this automatically – you will have to do your own research and do most of the footwork by yourself. You’ll want to act quickly, in any case.

Know Your Airline’s Policy

Each airline has a different policy. Here is an overview for some of the top airlines, but know that they can change at any time.

American Airlines: AAdvantage mileage credit is non-transferable. However, the airline has made exceptions in certain cases. Mostly, this is covered on a case by case basis and does require quite a bit of work on your part. Fees do apply.

Delta Air Lines: According to Delta, miles are not the property of any member. Miles may not be transferred after death.

United Airlines: Accrued mileage and certificates are not transferable after death. However, this another airline that will consider transfers on a case by case basis. Sometimes, the transfer is accepted with a $75 fee and valid death certificate.

Southwest: Points are not allowed to be transferred after death. Within 24 months (2 years) of the last active date, the points will officially disappear. However, there are some questions about whether anyone who has access to those points can use them – it may be worth a shot.4

At the end of the day, you are at the mercy of the airline. Your best bet, if there are quite a few miles there, is to just try and see what happens.