Everyone likes to be rewarded for credit card usage if they can. This is why rewards credit cards exist. What some may not realize is that they can transfer their loyalty points in one way or another. A review of the credit card terms and agreement regarding the loyalty program can reveal this fact.
If you are like many individuals with reward credit cards, you may be sitting on a lot of loyalty reward points. You may be collecting those points for gas, groceries, travel, merchandise, restaurant gift cards, or other perks. However, you may be unfortunate in the fact that you are in a "use 'em or lose 'em" situation. You could be in this situation because you are part of a loyalty program that allows the points to expire after a specific period of time.
If you are in this situation, then it is even less likely that your reward program will allow you to leave points to loved ones in case you pass away or gift points to friends and family for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special events.
The good news is that there are some rather reputable loyalty programs in Canada that will allow you to share your points with others. There is a cost associated with this, but there are times when a transfer of loyalty points needs to be done. Knowing what the cards are will help you find a program that will allow you to make your points a part of your family's inheritance if need be. This means you being able to plan ahead, making sure the points you've worked so hard to earn never go to waste.
You should also know that if a program does offer loyalty point transfers free of charge upon your death, it may not transfer the points automatically. In many cases, the credit card issuer requires a copy of the death certificate to do so. You should also know that in many cases, points that sit in inactive accounts for at least 12 months can expire.
Rewards Transfer Cards
There are a number of cards in Canada that allow loyalty points transfer. Either the points can be transferred upon death, transferred at any time, or both. Think about what is important to you in such a transfer. For instance, the Air Miles Reward Program allows for point transfers upon death to an heir. They charge no fee, but they do charge a fee of 15 cents per mile when transferring at any time. You can make point donations to charities.
The Petro-Points program, on the other hand, does allow points transfers upon death, but they allow them to be transferred to any Petro-Points account. There is no fee to do this or no fee to transfer points at any time, including point donations to charities.
The AIMIA/Aeroplan program allows for points transfers upon death, but the transfer must be done to a spouse and then they can be transferred to an heir. The charge for this is 2 cents per mile. If you wish to transfer points at any time, the charge is also 2 cents per mile and points can be donated to select charities.
On the flipside of the charitable donation table, WestJet Rewards does not allow for charitable donations. They do allow for transfers of points upon death to an heir for no fee, but any time transfers are done for a fee of $20 to $30.
Cards like the Best Buy Reward Zone do not allow for any transfers or charitable contributions, while the Plum Rewards card only allows for any time transfers at no fee with a 1,500 point minimum.
These are just some examples of the types of top rewards cards that are available in Canada and how they treat loyalty points transfers. If transferring points to loved ones at any time or upon your death is important to you so they are not lost and can be used, this should be a step included in the card research process when finding a card that is going to do all you need it to do to save you money.
Reward Program Prevalence
Because of the number of reward cards available in Canada, it has been reported that 92% of Canadians hold membership in at least one program. Many of these Canadians are members of two or three, maximizing their rewards as much as possible.
What has really upped the ante on rewards cards is the fact that there is a smart phone app that stores loyalty cards electronically. Statistically, the average Canadian household has a total of 8.2 loyalty programs, whether those programs are related to credit cards, a department store, a restaurant, or another business that rewards the customers that patronize it frequently.
Nonetheless, studies are showing that the ownership of digital assets is growing. For example, loyalty points are finding a place in estate planning. LoyaltyOne, a loyalty coalition program management company, conducted a study that showed 84 percent of individuals who are a part of loyalty programs do not think about what will happen to their points when they die. Only 3 percent of those have integrated their loyalty programs into their estate plans. They have made plans to allocate their points to their loved ones or charities.
Basically, the LoyaltyOne study showed that only 1 in 10 members realize that they can make sure their heirs get their accrued miles and points. Unless Canadians do this, their points will not be accounted for and that is why a bequest plan regarding loyalty points needs to be created. Once it is, the transfer of loyalty points to loved ones becomes an easy one.
So if you do not yet have a plan to transfer loyalty points, create one. If you wish to be able to gift points to friends and loved ones, you can if your card will let you. If you are looking for a card with a rewards program that will allow transfers, be sure you include this factor in your card shopping.