What happens to my credit card points when I die?

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A bank by bank breakdown of what happens to your credit card points if you pass away.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about what happens to your airline miles when you pass away. The short answer is that neither Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer nor Cathay Pacific Asia Miles allow next-of-kin to inherit your miles in the event that you pass. Therefore, the best course of action is to ensure a loved one has access to your login credentials so he/she can use whatever miles you leave behind.

A similar question was asked about credit card points, and this one’s a bit more complex. Although it’s relatively straightforward to give your family your FFP user name and password, redeeming credit card points may involve iBanking access and 2FA tokens.

💳 Credit Card FAQs

The T&Cs of most rewards programs state that credit card points are not transferable, but they’re mum about what happens if a cardholder dies. So I reached out to the banks to get some answers.

As it turns out, the vast majority of banks extend the “no transfers” rule to include death- if you pass away, your credit card accounts are closed and with them go your points. However, other banks extend some leeway. Here’s a summary of who says what:

American Express

Under the T&Cs of our cards, MRs cannot be transferred nor put into a will. 

“Under Membership Rewards Terms and Conditions, Membership Rewards points accrued are not the property of the Card Member and are non-transferable.”

Maybank

 With regard to your enquiry, Treats Points (TP) are not transferable. Upon termination of the Credit Card, the TP are forfeited.

UOB

 We would like to advise that in the event that the cardholder passes away, the rewards points in the account will be forfeited.

DBS

I refer to your query and please note that DBS Points earned may not be transferred to any other Card Account of the Principal Cardmember, or to any third party, and are not exchangeable for cash or credit.

You may wish to know that the Principal Cardmember may use the Redemption Voucher himself/herself or permit a Supplementary Cardmember to use the Redemption Voucher. To redeem a Reward, the Cardmember must present the original Redemption Voucher, NRIC and his/her DBS credit card at the relevant participating merchant(s). A Supplementary Cardmember may redeem the Reward provided the Voucher bears the Principal Cardmember’s authorised signature and Card Account number.

(that isn’t a whole lot of good if the principal cardmember isn’t around to sign it!)

Citibank

In a live chat session with Citibank, the attending CSO confirmed that neither ThankYou points nor Citi Miles could be transferred to a next of kin.

HSBC

 We advise that the points are not transferrable but can be redeemed by the next of kin after we receive the letter and death certificate of the deceased. Once the documents have been successfully validated, the relevant team will contact the next of kin.

OCBC

 Necessary paperwork to be submitted by the next-of-kin, OCBC Bank will verify the necessary documents and customer’s status will be updated. Once verified, we can convert the customer’s remaining points into vouchers from eg. NTUC FairPrice or Robinsons. The vouchers will be sent to the (deceased) customer’s existing mailing address

Conclusion

Of the banks which responded, only HSBC and OCBC officially provide some sort of mechanism for bequeathing your points to your loved ones.

Should you be worried if you’re accumulating points with a bank that doesn’t allow transfers to next-of-kin? Maybe, maybe not. I’m guessing some of the responses I got were boilerplate, and I do think that most banks would exercise leeway if this were an actual situation. For example, one of my bank contacts told me that although his bank’s official stance is “no”, if someone came to them with proper documentation they’d find it very hard to reject such a request.

So that’s what happens to your credit card points if you expire before your card does.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Ken

Another awesome write up/investigative piece of journalism, Aaron.. and, not so much because it’s also closer to what I’ve said along with your previous post on this subject, it’s also turned out that majority of SG banks are even worse than US ones.. and something that ALL miles/points-gatherers should really take note of.. especially when dealing with the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions of miles/points..

Ken

Hi Aaron.. I actually feel that, even with HSBC and OCBC, their ‘compromise’ is hardly a consolation.. I mean.. maybe in the past.. before miles-hunting.. when credit card or airline points were.. to redeem the occasional oven-toaster.. or $20 Departmental Store voucher.. or Petrol Voucher.. sure.. I can understand that if I died, my NOK would simply write-off those vouchers.. and really, wouldn’t even think twice about them.. But.. in today’s day and age.. where, for most parts, include the likes of people who read/contribute to blogs like yours.. where I know of a fact that I personally bank more… Read more »

Other Phill

I remember reading that Westpac in Aus would in the event of death convert the cardholders points to cash credit at the rate equivalent to an annual fee rebate redemption. I remember thinking that’s quite nice of them.

J Yale

I know your article was written in 2018; I think your Amex info needs updating. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/help/deceased-cardmembers.html

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