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.

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 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 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 - 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
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 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 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 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, Velocity or Alaska
  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?

When do your frequent flyer points expire? Here is a roundup of the key programs was last modified: May 30th, 2019 by Matt Moffitt