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What Should I Do with Points from a Deceased Relative?

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TPG reader @OogbieBoogie tweeted me to ask about rewards left behind by a loved one:

@ThePointsGuy — “My father-in-law passed away. He has 46,000 Southwest points; Is it worth spending $460 to transfer them to one of our accounts?”

First, please let me offer my condolences. Dealing with death is not an easy thing — and unfortunately, airlines don’t make it much easier. Some airlines will charge you a fee to transfer points, but most will close out the account, as is the case with Southwest:

“Points may not be transferred to a Member’s estate or as part of a settlement, inheritance, or will. In the event of a Member’s death, his/her account will become inactive after 24 months from the last earning date (unless the account is requested to be closed) and points will be unavailable for use.”

Image courtesy of Gil C /
Image courtesy of Gil C /

Thankfully, as long as you have your father-in-law’s login information, there’s no need to let those points go to waste. 46,000 Southwest points are worth about $600 in Wanna Get Away fares; paying $460 to transfer them to another account really hacks away at that value. However, you can use Southwest Rapid Rewards points to book travel for anyone, so if you don’t tell Southwest that he passed away, you can likely use those points for whomever you’d like.

Once you use up the points, you can just let the account go dormant and not worry about it. That’s how you’ll get the maximum value for those rewards. Don’t give free money to the airlines; they don’t need it.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at

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