“What happens to Qantas Points when you die” has long been a serious concern for Qantas frequent flyers, and until now, the answer has been a sad one: as soon as it was notified of a person’s death, the airline took a hardline stance of cancelling their frequent flyer account and wiping the slate of all their points.
This was often criticised as being deeply insensitive: beyond adding to a family member’s grief, the policy ignored how many couples earn points in the first place, with one person in the relationship often nominated as the sole beneficiary for sake of convenience.
Thankfully, Qantas now allows Qantas Points to be transferred to another family member within 12 months of a death in the family.
Who can inherit Qantas Points?
Qantas defines an “eligible family member” as someone who “can demonstrate to reasonable satisfaction” that they are any of the following:
- Husband or wife
- Parent or step-parent
- Domestic or de facto partner
- Child, including foster or stepchild
- Brother or sister
- Half-brother or half-sister
- Daughter-in-law or son-in-law
- Brother-in-law or sister-in-law
- Father-in-law or mother-in-law
- Aunt or uncle
- Nephew or niece
- First cousin
However, Qantas flags that “status credits can’t be transferred and will expire upon the death of the member.“
How to claim inherited Qantas Points
Qantas says the mechanism for claiming the points of a family member after their death is as follows:
1. The executor or administrator of the deceased member’s estate must contact the Frequent Flyer Service Centre in writing within 12 months of the member’s death
2. The executor must provide documented proof of the member’s death and of the requestor’s status as executor or administrator, as well as the details of the Qantas Frequent Flyer account of the eligible family member to which the points will be transferred.
The expiry date of those transferred points will be reset to match the date of the other Qantas Points in the family member’s account.
This more compassionate approach is among the changes implemented under new Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson.
Steve Hui, points specialist and founder of iFLYflat, praised Qantas’ decision and said it showed the airline is listening to feedback from customers.
“Australians can now have peace of mind that they are passing on points for a potential holiday to their loved ones rather than more stress,” he tells Executive Traveller, adding that Qantas was lagging behind Virgin in the way it treated points after death.
Rival Virgin Australia has long allowed family members to transfer points from their deceased loved one’s Velocity account within 12 months, although only if specifically instructed to do so via a will.
“If the deceased member has left instructions for their Points balance to be transferred to a beneficiary, we’ll let you know the next steps to complete this,” Virgin’s website states.
(Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines both cancel miles as soon as a person passes; Etihad Airways and Emirates do the same, but the transfer to a legal beneficiary can be done at the airlines’ discretion.)
Additional reporting by David Flynn