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.
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.
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:
- crediting a Cathay Pacific or partner flight, e.g. Qantas
- shopping through the Asia Miles iShop
- redeeming for a flight award
- transferring points from a bank program
- renting a car from Avis, Hertz or Sixt
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
- Most generous policy locally is with Velocity Frequent Flyer
- Strictest policy locally with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
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 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 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 - with inactivity/time from earned||18 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|
|Emirates Skywards||Yes - time from earned||36 months from accrual||Here are some ideas on what do with your expiring miles|
|Etihad Guest||Yes - with inactivity||18 months of inactivity|
|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||No||Effective 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.
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 or Velocity
- 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?