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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

2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card



CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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