When do your frequent flyer points expire? Here is a roundup of the key programs

GUIDE: Program Guide
TIME TO READ: 2 minutes
POSTED: January 11, 2018
UPDATED: January 11, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Relevant to Multiple Programs

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 ProgramDo points expire?After how long?Notes
Qantas Frequent FlyerYes - with inactivity18 months of inactivity
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 $75 USD fee
American Airlines AAdvantageYes - with inactivity18 months of inactivityReinstate for a fee depending on number of miles
Avianca LifeMilesYes - with inactivity24 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 AviosYes - with inactivity36 months of inactivity
Cathay Pacific Asia MilesYes - time from earned36 months from the month miles are earnedRenewal for another three years or transfer to another member with payment of fee
Delta SkyMilesNo
Etihad GuestYes - time from earned24/30/36 months from the month miles are earned for regular/Silver/Gold & Platinum members
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerYes - time from earned36 months from accrual6-12 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 StarpointsYes - with inactivity12 months of inactivityEasiest ways are to transfer to Marriott Rewards and then transfer back; donate 500 points to UNICEF or Clean the World
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 MileagePlusYes - with inactivity18 months of inactivityReinstate 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:

  1. Earn some points from a program partner—accrue 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. Use a service like AwardWallet to keep tabs on your balances
  6. 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?

When do your frequent flyer points expire? Here is a roundup of the key programs was last modified: January 11th, 2018 by Keith