A couple of weeks ago, Consumer World brought you a story suggesting that savvy travelers shouldn’t let their frequent flier miles die with them. The miles can be inherited and transferred to an heir in many cases.
Delta Airlines must be a regular Consumer World reader, because last week they changed the rules of the game for holders of Delta SkyMiles.
Here are the 2012 rules for the Delta SkyMiles program:
Transfer upon Death of Member
Upon the death of a Member, the Administrator or Executor of the Member’s Estate may designate one or more other Members to receive a transfer of the mileage credit in the deceased Member’s account. Only whole number amounts of miles may be transferred. The required form and other instructions for requesting a transfer of mileage under these circumstances is available on delta.com/skymilesaffidavit.
On March 20, 2013, however, Delta changed their SkyMiles rules for 2013.
Restrictions on Transfer
Miles are not the property of any Member. Except as specifically authorized in the Membership Guide and Program Rules or otherwise in writing by an officer of Delta, miles may not be sold, attached, seized, levied upon, pledged, or transferred under any circumstances, including, without limitation, by operation of law, upon death, [emphasis added] or in connection with any domestic relations dispute and/or legal proceeding.
Delta dropped the whole paragraph about the procedure for transferring miles on death, and substituted the above new “no transfer” rules. Now Delta says that your miles are not yours, you can’t take them with you when you die, and you can’t give them to anyone else in your will.
Thanks to John Materese, the consumer reporter at WCPO in Cincinnati for the story idea. Here is his video of this story.