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Major Qantas Frequent Flyer points change

What happens to your Qantas points when you die? The airline has just changed its stance.

Qantas Airways Airbus A330-300 jet in flight, photo
Qantas has changed a long-standing policy to cancel points on a member's death. (Credit: Getty) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Qantas has changed a long-standing policy to cancel frequent flyers’ loyalty points when they die in a boon for travellers facing rising costs and inflation.

The airline faced criticism for the hard-line policy that stipulated members’ accounts would be immediately terminated and all points forfeited unless transferred before a person’s death.

But many couples or families accrue points together from joint spending accounts and simply nominate a single account holder.

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This meant grieving loved ones could be stripped of points they’d helped earn, which was the case for Sunshine Coast woman Julie Jenner who lost thousands of points when her husband died earlier this year.

From October, Qantas will allow points to be transferred to another family member within 12 months of a person’s death.

The airline has not yet outlined who is considered a family member but said the details would be shared in coming weeks.

The move brings Qantas in line with rival Virgin, which lets Velocity points pass on to a loved one, however it must be instructed to do so in a will.

“If the deceased member has left instructions for their points balance to be transferred to a beneficiary, we’ll let you know the next steps to complete this,” Virgin’s website states.

Most airlines have a similar policy of forfeiting points on the death of a member because the points are not considered the member's property. Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and Emirates have discretionary policies which may allow points to be transferred.

The Qantas change comes as the embattled airline funnels $80 million from its profits into easing customer “pain points”.

New CEO Vanessa Hudson promised a review of all customer policies to “make sure they’re fair”.

“I know that we have let you down in many ways, and, for that, I'm sorry,” Hudson said.

“We want to get back to the national carrier that Australians can be proud of, that's known for going above and beyond. We understand we need to earn your trust back, not with what we say, but what we do and how we behave.”

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