Page 13 - MidWeek - May 31, 2023
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A friend of mine was looking out at the horizon and saw a huge cruise ship leaving port. He wondered where the ship was heading and fantasized about being on an exotic vacation sipping mojitos in the South Pacific.
Cruising is a wonderful way to vacation. I highly recommend it if you haven’t yet tried it. There’s a variety of cruise ships and an endless amount of ports of call to fit any personality. If you are a cruise enthusiast, you’re probably loyal to one cruise line where you can accumulate loyalty rewards. Very similar to airlines, credit cards and other reward programs, cruises often offer loyalty points.
It got me thinking about the larger issue of managing award programs and set my “Get Your House in Order” alarms flashing. I Googled “What happens to my airline miles if I die?” because I honestly didn’t know and had never really thought about it. I just assumed all
loyalty awards and anything similar would be forfeited after a person’s passing.
It turns out I was right. When a life event happens (such as a divorce or someone passing away), there’s no legal way to pass on reward points. Even when rewards are included in a will or trust, the ultimate decision remains with the rewarding company. Many companies state in their disclosures that reward points are not the property of a recipient and not transferable in the event of divorce, inheritance or bankruptcy. The bottom line with regard to all reward- related programs is you must use them or you will eventually lose them.
There are so many reward programs — car rentals, coffee shops, pizza joints, juice bars, fast-food places, retail rewards, etc. — that it can be difficult managing them all. As I dug a little deeper with my research, I found airline miles, hotel rewards and credit card
May 31, 2023 MIDWEEK 13
SVP Marketing
Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union
Loyalty Paulette Ito
awards were the biggest concerns among recent internet searches. I also found apps for tracking airline and hotel rewards. Most are fee based, although there are a few exceptions. I found no apps able to effectively track all loyalty programs.
So, what should you do? First, I recommend documenting all loyalty award vendors in your Ho‘okele guidebook. Be sure to include all vendor names, account numbers, passwords, point totals and expiration dates. For efficiency, only include programs you are willing to keep updated. Documenting all your reward programs in one place will help you better manage them so that you’re more likely to use them.
Second, make a plan to use your points. Once your
reward programs are well documented in your Ho‘okele guidebook, you will know all your totals and be able to set goals to reach program milestones, or make plans for redeeming them. It’s also important to remember to track expiration dates. Time has a funny way of creeping up and then flying by. Having your loyalty rewards documented enables you to immediately see what’s next.
Lastly, maintaining a detailed listing of your award programs allows you to better benefit from them. I have some friends who save up their frequent- flyer miles and use them to upgrade their seats when traveling. Some airlines allow you to redeem miles for merchandise, and some credit cards allow you to earn airline or cruise miles. Remember, it’s possible
to get free flights through award programs outside your regular carrier.
In June of last year, CBS News reported that only 8% of frequent-flyer miles are ever redeemed. And overall, the frequent-flyer program has approximately 30 trillion unredeemed miles. I personally lost more than 400,000 miles when a carrier unexpectedly shut down. The bottom line is that tracking your award programs with your Ho‘okele guidebook helps ensure you use your points before they expire, and before you expire.
The Ho‘okele personal planning guide helps you document legacy wishes, employment and retirement information, insurance and bank document locations, vital contacts and anything else conducive to managing a good life. Your Ho‘okele
booklet is meant to guide you in the process of compiling some of your most important documents, as well as information enabling you to better enjoy life — like frequent flyer miles!
There are four consecutive, complementary components of the Ho‘okele guidebook, with a new version available each quarter. Download your personal copy at gyho. This free planning resource is available to everyone, but only from the Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union website.
For more information about the “Get Your House in Order” campaign, email Also, tune in to KIKU at 10 p.m. every Monday to watch Yunji de Nies talk with local experts about how and why to get your house in order.
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