Q: Can you leave airline points or miles in a will, or do they end when you die?
–Clyde Osborne, Maple Shade, N.J.
A: Clyde, most airlines will allow points or miles to be inherited. However, you might find contradicting information between frequent-flier service departments and what's on the airlines' websites.
For example, American Airlines' rules state that miles "are not transferable upon death." But if you continue reading, the rules say that American may credit accrued mileage to persons specifically identified in wills upon receipt of documentation satisfactory to American Airlines.
American charges a $50 fee for the inheritance of more than 10,000 miles — but for under 10,000 miles, there is no fee. Continental Airlines, on the other hand, does not charge for transferring any amount of miles to an heir. I would recommend contacting the airline with which you have miles and asking for specifics about passing on miles or points.
Airlines also have programs that allow you to donate miles to various charitable organizations. Continental's participating charities include March of Dimes, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Fisher House Foundation and the American Red Cross. American Airlines has a few options for donating miles that include "Operation Hero Miles," which provides miles to families of American military men and women, and "Miles for Kids in Need," which aims to improve the quality of life of children with medical, educational and social services needs.