Food For Thought: Can Frequent Flyer Miles be inherited?

I came across an interesting question the other day. Can one will away one’s air miles?

Odd as it may seem, with the increased utility of air miles as the equivalent of “cash” in modern times, could air miles be considered personal property such that a person was entitled to bequeath them to another upon his demise?

After all, air miles today are not simply a currency to redeem air tickets, but can often be used for, amongst other things, in-flight purchases, or conversion to cash vouchers for groceries! Since air miles are (almost) as versatile as traditional currency, and if converted to personal property would be in a form fit to be bequeathed as inheritance, what is stopping air miles from being bequeathed in their original form?

Though air miles are “crypto-currency”, they are fundamentally borne out of airline membership programmes. Therefore, the rules governing the use or transfer of air miles will typically be found within the terms and conditions of that membership programme.

In respect of our national carrier’s membership programme, KrisFlyer, having reviewed the Terms and Conditions of the KrisFlyer programme, it seems that the question has already been duly considered. The relevant clause is set out below:

Membership will terminate immediately upon death of the member. Miles and rewards earned but not redeemed at the time of death, as well as benefits and privileges, will be automatically forfeited on the death of the member. Miles and rewards do not constitute personal property and may not be bequeathed or otherwise treated as personal property.

So the answer, insofar as it relates to KrisFlyer miles, is clear: KrisFlyer miles cannot be inherited.

Better redeem those miles quickly!

Caveat: We should mention that our observations above are subject to any changes which may be made to the terms and conditions of the airline’s rewards programme.