Given the questions I get on a regular basis about this, there seems to be an increased awareness from many points collectors these days that their points might expire if they don’t keep using their frequent flyer accounts.
However, many aren’t quite sure exactly what the policies of the different programs are, so I thought I’d round them up in a summary for quick reference.
The key takeaways? The most generous policy locally is with Velocity Frequent Flyer, and the worst, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, with a general global trend of points expiring after 2-3 years of inactivity.
|Rewards Program||Do points expire?||After how long?||Notes|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||Yes - with inactivity||18 months of inactivity|
|Velocity Frequent Flyer||Yes - with inactivity||24 months of inactivity||Transferring points between family members or receiving points via Family Pooling will not prevent your points from expiring|
|Air New Zealand Airpoints||Yes - time from earned||Minimum of 4 years validity||On anniversary of program join date, points from over 4 years prior will expire
Oldest points are used first
No expiry for Gold or Elite
|Alaska Mileage Plan||Yes - with inactivity||24 months of inactivity||Miles can be reinstated for up to one year for a $75 USD fee|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||Yes - with inactivity||18 months of inactivity||Reinstate for a fee depending on number of miles|
|Avianca LifeMiles||Yes - with inactivity||24 months of inactivity|
(halved to 12 months from 15 April 2018)
|Easiest way (prior to change in April) is to extend miles is to donate even just one mile to charity—extends for one year
After change in April, the easiest way is to buy 1000 LifeMiles or transfer Starpoints over
|British Airways Avios||Yes - with inactivity||36 months of inactivity|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||Yes - time from earned||36 months from the month miles are earned||Renewal for another three years or transfer to another member with payment of fee|
|Etihad Guest||Yes - time from earned||24/30/36 months from the month miles are earned for regular/Silver/Gold & Platinum members|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||Yes - time from earned||36 months from accrual||6-12 month extension depending on status available with payment of fee
Oldest miles are used first
Transfer to Velocity if at risk of expiry
|Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints||Yes - with inactivity||12 months of inactivity||Easiest ways are to transfer to Marriott Rewards and then transfer back; donate 500 points to UNICEF or Clean the World|
|Thai Royal Orchid Plus||Yes - time from earned||36 months from accrual||Miles expire on a quarterly basis and may vary slightly depending on the timing of when the miles were credited into the account|
|United MileagePlus||Yes - with inactivity||18 months of inactivity||Reinstate for a fee depending on number of miles|
The major credit card points programs out there don’t let your points expire, but you’ll need to remain a cardholder to keep access to them.
The exception to this is with ANZ Rewards, where points must be used to claim a reward three years after the end of the year in which the points were earned, or else they will be cancelled.
Don’t let your valuable KrisFlyer miles expire after 36 months of earning them
What are the best ways to stop your points from expiring?
Thankfully, it’s never that hard to keep some activity in your account to keep your balances active. Here are some ideas:
- Earn some points from a program partner—accrue a car rental, hotel stay, or online purchase to your account
- Redeem some points—if you have enough
- Transfer some points over from a credit card program
- Earn some points from a linked credit card
- Use a service like AwardWallet to keep tabs on your balances
- Ask for an extension or a points challenge
I’m sure many of you have learned the hard way not to let your points expire—don’t forget!
Do you have any other ways you have successfully prevented your points from expiring?