There’s an old joke about people raiding the Qantas Store shortly after the passing of a family member. Beset with grief, relatives would console themselves by buying new blenders and big screen TVs purchased with the deceased’s frequent flyer points before Qantas learned about the member’s passing.
We’re happy to say things have now changed for the better.
Points weren’t transferrable
The reason why people used rush to spend a deceased’s frequent flyer points was that those points were not transferrable. They were a mere right of the deceased as a member of the frequent flyer program, and officially the points expired the same moment the member did. In short, the points were cancelled and could not be used by the rest of the family.
This issue particularly affected couples who accrued points jointly, leading to the exclusion of the surviving partner from benefiting from the points.
Changes to Qantas’ Points Inheritance Policy
Thankfully, Qantas has now changed its policy.
Qantas now permits the transfer of points to an “eligible family member” within 12 months of the member’s passing. This includes spouses, partners, parents, children, grandchildren and siblings.
To claim the points, the executor or administrator of the deceased member’s estate must contact the Frequent Flyer Service Centre within 12 months of the member’s death. They are required to provide documented proof of death and their status as executor, along with details of the transferee’s Qantas Frequent Flyer account. Notably, the expiration date of transferred points will align with the recipient’s account, rather than the deceased’s.
What about other airlines?
Each airline has its own policy.
Virgin Australia allows transfers within 12 months, but requires instructions in the deceased’s will. Other airlines may cancel points upon a member’s passing, while others will transfer at their discretion. If you are a member of one of those programs, you will need to check with the airline.
Qantas’ updated Frequent Flyer Terms and Conditions set out the relevant details, including the full list of eligible family members. The T&Cs can be found on Qantas’ website.
Frequent Flyer members should ensure they outline their preferences regarding points inheritance within their estate planning to facilitate smoother transfers to their chosen beneficiaries.
Aintree Group Legal will be happy to discuss your estate planning needs with you. Contact us today.