One of the worst things that could happen to someone who invests time and money into earning frequent miles and points is to have their miles expire! For years I was a frequent flyer of American Airlines until I moved to a rural area that only served United Airlines.
I had stopped earning AAdvantage miles and they ended up collecting dust in my account until one day, I checked my AAdvantage mileage balance and found that my points were soon to expire.
At this point I was not earning AAdvantage miles with credit cards because I didn’t currently have a Citi AA credit card and none of the restaurants in the area were registered with the AAdvantage Diners Program. There was absolutely zero account activity going on with my American Airlines account.
What did I learn from this close call? Airline miles don’t need to expire! There are ways to preserve miles by resetting the expiration clock while being able to build on them effortlessly and without flying.
When do points expire?
Alaska Airlines – 24 months of no earning or spending miles
American Airlines -18 months of no earning or spending miles
British Airways – 36 months of no earning or spending miles
Frontier Airlines -18 months of no earning miles
Southwest – 24 months of no earning or spending miles
United – 18 months of no earning or spending miles
US Airways -18 months of no earning or spending miles
Delta – Never Expire!
Close Calls – Prevent Them!
The best way to prevent close calls of losing hard earned miles is by staying organized and keeping track of them. Award Wallet is a great way to keep track of all of your miles with most airlines. The most useful part of Award Wallet is that it will alert you if your miles are about to expire. Depending on the miles program, expirations can vary from 12 months to three years and some never expire. You definitely don’t want to find out that your points have expired right before you plan to book a trip.
Different airlines have different methods of making good with transferring miles so they don’t expire. Hotel reward programs, such as Club Carlson, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club, or Shangari-La, allow you to transfer points into airline mile programs.
By shopping online through airline shopping portals, by spending a buck or two at Saks Fifth or Sunglass Hut you are contributing to the survival of your airline miles. By spending even $1 on iTunes through the airlines program, the account is considered active. Easy.
I find one of the easiest ways to prevent miles from expiring is by dining out at restaurants registered with the airline’s dining program. In most cases up to five debit or credit cards can be added to the account, so enroll cards that you use frequently to make sure you earning points. The Dining programs aren’t just limited to restaurants. Purchases at bars, coffee shops, and even juice bars are valid. Take note that participating locations of even the same restaurant may vary. For example, the Subway across the street from work may be participating in the program, but the Subway two blocks away may not be. You don’t have to spend a lot in the dining programs, the goal is to keep your account active!
Popular dining programs that offer a 1,500 bonus after first dining and earn up to 5 miles per every dollar spent :
By donating miles to Operation Hero Miles, the expiration date for American Airlines points are reset. The program provides family members of injured servicemen and women to visit them during their recovery anywhere in the world.
Don’t let your miles disappear, use them to travel well!