Loyalty points, death, and fine print

Many of us have collector cards of various sorts. The more popular ones include grocery and pharmacy cards, such as PC Optimum in Canada, or Shop-Rite and other groceries and pharmacies in the US. Air miles and travel benefits are common as well – Air Miles and Aeroplan programs come to mind.


These programs generally post instructions on their websites for what to do when a card holder passes away. The conditions vary from one program to another. Some points are transferrable, some are not. 


The best way to get correct information is to go directly to the provider of the card. There are some articles posted online, which give information, but accuracy may be questionable, or things might have changed since the article was written. 


Using PC Optimum as an example, I went directly to their website. In the Terms and Conditions, I found:


At the sole discretion of PCSI, you may be permitted to transfer your PC Optimum™ points to another Program member. Upon the death of a Program member, the member’s Account will be closed and any PC Optimum™ points in the Account will be forfeited. PC Optimum™ points are not divisible in the case of divorce or equalization of family property.


Then I asked the virtual assistant (Chatbot), which offered this:


In the event that there is a death of a member, the Executor of the Estate should be the one requesting for the account to be cancelled and the points balance to be transferred.


The executor of the estate must be able to authenticate the account with the member’s email address or card number. Without this information, we are unable to assist.


We require two documents in order to submit a Power of Attorney and close the account. A death certificate and the Certificate of Appointment by the Court to legitimize the claim that you are the executor of the estate.


Things to keep in mind:  A death certificate is not sufficient to claim the right to distribute the assets of the deceased.  Any remaining points would be transferred to family member/living spouse or as directed by the executor.


To submit your documents, you can contact us by sending a message with the link below. The average response time is up to 3 business days.


This kind of information should be available in some form on every rewards card website. At the very least you should be able to find a phone number or an email address that will take you to the right place.


Invariably some sites will work well and make it easy for you, but there is bound to be at least one that will be difficult and frustrating. I had to work a bit to find what I wanted at PC Optimum. 


This is just one example. Check your wallet and make note of the cards you have. Then take a bit of time to find out what happens when a card holder dies. That kind of information will be a useful addition to your lists. And while you are at it, get rid of the cards that have expired or that you no longer use.


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