Skip to content

What Should I Do with Points from a Deceased Relative?

Aug. 30, 2015
2 min read
What Should I Do with Points from a Deceased Relative?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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 /

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
[card card-name='Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card' card-id='22125056' type='javascript' bullet-id='1']

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers