Transferring loyalty points: What you need to know

Our chart details whether the some of the biggest loyalty programs in Canada allow you to share your points, under what circumstance and at what cost.

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Are you sitting on a mountain of used loyalty reward points? Whether you are collecting points for travel, gasoline, groceries, merchandise or other perks you may find yourself in a frustrating use ‘em or lose ‘em type scenario. That’s because not all loyalty programs allow you to leave points to loved ones when you die, or even gift them to friends and family while you’re alive for that matter.

The chart below details whether the some of the biggest loyalty programs in Canada allow you to share your points, under what circumstance and at what cost. We used LoyaltyOne’s research on inheritances as a jumping off point, adding additional loyalty programs, points transfers for reasons other than death and options to donate as part of our findings. Hopefully it will help you plan ahead so your hard-earned points don’t go to waste.

It’s also worth mentioning that even if a program offers free transfer of points upon death, it might not do so automatically. In most cases, a copy of the death certificate is necessary so check with the provider. We also found that, in most cases, points are not divisible in the event of divorce and sometimes points in inactive accounts expire completely after as little as 12 months.

Program Transfers points upon death To whom Fee Transfers points at any time Fee Facilitates points donations
Air Miles Reward Program Yes Heir None Yes 15 cents per mile Yes, to select charities
AIMIA/Aeroplan Yes Spouse, then heir 2 cents per mile Yes 2 cents per mile Yes, to select charities
WestJet Rewards Yes Heir None Yes $20-$30 No
Esso Extra


Yes Heir N/A No N/A Yes, to select charities
Petro-Points Yes Any Petro-Points account None Yes None Yes, to select charities
Shoppers Optimum No N/A N/A Yes None Yes, to select charities
HBC Rewards Yes Heir None No (except to same address) None Yes, to select charities
Club Sobeys


Yes Heir None Yes, to a max of 15,000 at once None Yes, to select charities
Scene Yes Heir None No N/A No
Best Buy Reward Zone No N/A N/A No N/A No
Plum Rewards No N/A N/A Yes, min 1,500 points None No

There has been a proliferation of loyalty programs in Canada in recent years. A whopping 92% of Canadians report membership in a least one program, according to the folks at Stocard, a new smartphone app that electronically stores loyalty cards. The average Canadian household is a member of 8.2 loyalty programs, according to the soon-to-be-released 2013 COLLOQUY Loyalty Census.

The numbers would suggest digital assets, including loyalty points, are a new frontier in estate planning. According to a recent study by LoyaltyOne (a company that manages loyalty coalition programs) 84% of loyalty program members surveyed have not considered what would happen to their points upon death and a just 3% have developed a plan, such as a will, to allocate points.

“Our research shows that only one in 10 loyalty program members know that they can bequeath accrued points and miles. These points will go unaccounted for unless Canadians work with their families to develop a points and miles bequest plan,” says Carlos Dunlap, director of marketing at LoyaltyOne.

3 comments on “Transferring loyalty points: What you need to know

  1. From my experience, I have found that Aeroplan points are in most situations only worth about 2 cents each (except when using them for super-long haul business class flights, where their value goes up considerably). Paying 2 cents per point to transfer them usually makes little sense.

    Reply

  2. You are perfectly able to transfer Plum Rewards points. You can do it yourself on the Indigo website.

    Reply

  3. The chart showing stores is somewhat useful but it would be much more useful if another column was added to show whether you will get an official charity donation receipt. That is what I want to know.

    Reply

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