Cathay Pacific’s loyalty program has had one of the more restrictive expiration policies, with points expiring three years after they were earned.

However, Asia Miles has just announced that:

Starting from 1 ‍January‍ 2020, your newly earned Miles will no longer expire three years after being credited to your account. So long as you earn or use your Miles at least once every 18 months, your Miles will remain active.

All Miles credited on or before 31 ‍December‍ 2019 will continue to follow the existing Miles expiry arrangement.

Asia Miles expiry

This 90-second video explains the changes really well:

What to do with Asia Miles earned up until now?

If you earned a mile today, it would still expire in three years’ time (December 2022.) Therefore, as your miles that are subjected to a hard expiry approach their day of reckoning, look to redeem them for a flight award.

Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class | Point Hacks
Flying Cathay Pacific Business Class is one of the best uses of Asia Miles

If you don’t have any immediate use for expiring miles, then you may be able to convert them into the new system cheaply—but there is conflicting information on that.

This page says that ‘miles earned under the time-based system can be renewed to the new activity-based system subject to the payment of a service fee (online: USD40; other channels: USD100).’ However, this page says that the US$40 fee is per 2,000 miles, not the whole lot.

Please let us know in the comments below if you have success in renewing all of your miles for just US$40.

What to do with Asia Miles earned from 2020 onwards?

In order to keep all miles earned from 1 January 2020 onwards active, you’ll just need to earn or redeem every 18 months. You can keep your miles active by:

My take on the changes

I think this is definitely a step in the right direction. However, Asia Miles could have made it more customer-friendly by renewing all previously-earned miles under the new 18-month expiry system.

This leaves Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (also with a hard expiry of 36 months) as an outlier. Let’s hope they feel the pressure to change their policy, too.

This year, we’ve seen United MileagePlus institute a no-expiry-date policy on its miles back in August (now the same as Delta SkyMiles.) Etihad Guest also announced last month that it was dropping its 24-month hard expiry in favour of an 18-month inactivity expiry (the same as Asia Miles and Qantas.)

When do your frequent flyer points expire? A roundup of the key programs

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.

When do my points expire?

  • General global trend of points expiring after 2-3 years of inactivity

Other key takeaways

Singapore Airlines 777 First Class
Don’t let your valuable KrisFlyer miles expire after three years of earning them

When do your frequent flyer points expire?

Rewards programDo points expire?After how long?Tip
Qantas Frequent FlyerYes - with inactivity18 months of inactivityA great way to extend is to download the Qantas Wellbeing app and earn points for exercising or even just sleeping

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 FlyerYes - with inactivity24 months of inactivityTransferring points between family members or receiving points via Family Pooling will not prevent your points from expiring
Air New Zealand AirpointsYes - time from earnedMinimum of 4 years validityOn 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 PlanYes - with inactivity24 months of inactivityMiles can be reinstated for up to one year for a US$75 fee
American Airlines AAdvantageYes - with inactivity18 months of inactivityReinstate for a fee depending on number of miles
Avianca LifeMilesYes - with inactivity12 months of inactivityVery 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 ClubYes - with inactivity36 months of inactivity
Cathay Pacific Asia MilesYes - with inactivity/time from earned18 months of inactivity (for miles earned from 1 January 2020)/
36 months from the month miles are earned (for miles earned up until 31 December 2019)
Renewal for another three years or transfer to another member with payment of fee
Delta SkyMilesNo
Emirates SkywardsYes - time from earned36 months from accrualHere are some ideas on what do with your expiring miles
Etihad GuestYes - with inactivity18 months of inactivity
Marriott BonvoyYes - with inactivity24 months of inactivityExtend 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 KrisFlyerYes - time from earned36 months from accrualOldest 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 PlusYes - time from earned36 months from accrualMiles expire on a quarterly basis and may vary slightly depending on the timing of when the miles were credited into the account
United MileagePlusNoEffective 28 August 2019, the previous 18-month soft expiry no longer applies

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.

Velocity Platinum American Express free flight guide | Point Hacks
Spending on a ‘linked’ credit card like the Amex Velocity Platinum can ensure your points balance remains active

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:

  1. Earn some points from a program partner—credit a car rental, hotel stay or online purchase to your account
  2. Redeem some points—if you have enough
  3. Transfer some points over from a credit card program
  4. Earn some points from a linked credit card
  5. Buy points, e.g. from Qantas or Velocity
  6. Buy wine from Qantas Wine
  7. Use a service like AwardWallet to keep tabs on your balances
  8. 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?

Asia Miles makes positive change to expiry policy was last modified: January 20th, 2020 by Matt Moffitt