This Daily Mail article talks about Delta Airlines’ new policy prohibiting transfer of frequent flier miles to family members or friends upon death. Frequent flier miles are a form of personal property – you accumulate them and then trade them for a ticket or two on a flight of your choice – and this is another limitation on transferring (or alienation, as lawyers like to say) of personal property. Is it legal? Sure – if you’re issuing personal property to others, you can specify the conditions (e.g. only this airline, these flights, this time of year, these destinations, etc). Like many licenses, airline tickets (or movie, theater, or sporting game tickets) have restrictions on use, re-use, and transfer. The moral of this story is don’t count on being able to pass your frequent flier miles on to your family.
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(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.