There seems to be an increased awareness from many points collectors these days that their points might expire if they don’t keep their frequent flyer accounts ‘active’.
However, many aren’t quite sure exactly what the policies of the different programs are. So here is a summary for quick reference.
- General global trend of points expiring after 2-3 years of inactivity
- Most generous policy locally is with Velocity Frequent Flyer
- Strictest policies locally with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
When do your frequent flyer points expire?
|Rewards program||Do points expire?||After how long?||Tip|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||Yes - with inactivity||18 months of inactivity||A great way to extend is to buy wine from Qantas Wine (points usually post within 3-5 business days)|
Transferring points between family members will not prevent your points from expiring (transferred points take on the expiry date of existing points in the account)
|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 US$75 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||12 months of inactivity||Very strict policy|
Spending miles does not extend expiry
Easiest way to extend is to buy 1000 LifeMiles or transfer Marriott Bonvoy points over
|British Airways Executive Club||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|
|Marriott Bonvoy||Yes - with inactivity||24 months of inactivity||Extend expiry by transferring minimum 3,000 Marriott points to 1,000 frequent flyer points; buy points; donate minimum 2,500 points to charity|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||Yes - time from earned||36 months from accrual||Oldest miles are used first|
6- to 12-month extension depending on status available with payment of fee
Transfer to Velocity if at risk of expiry
|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 rule is with ANZ Rewards. Those 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.
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—credit 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
- Buy points, e.g. from Qantas, Velocity or Alaska
- Buy wine from Qantas Wine
- 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?