How do you keep your points and miles alive? Over the past year, we have seen most airline frequent flyer and hotel programs extend the expiration of their award currencies in light of the pandemic. However, as travel picks up, we have begun to see some programs return to business as usual, with some already expiring points and others set to begin expiring points as soon as the end of this month. It is therefore imperative that you pay close attention to those points you have stockpiled and be sure to keep accounts active. What counts as qualifying activity to extend the life of miles? Here are the policies for major US airline and hotel programs and those programs that partner with credit card issuer transferable points programs.
When do miles expire and have they been extended? Quick reference chart.
The following spreadsheet shows when miles and points ordinarily expire, whether and how they can be extended, and when points are set to begin expiring again (or if they already have as of the time of writing).
The chart above stands as a good summary, but see below for further details about what activity counts to extend miles and points.
When do airline miles expire and how do you keep airline miles alive?
Aeromexico Club Premier
AeroMexico Club Premier Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity. Only earning more miles counts to extend expiration (redeeming miles does not). A transfer from Amex Membership Rewards points or Capital One miles or mileage purchase should count as earning activity.
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada Aeroplan miles expire after 18 months of inactivity. Any activity extends miles. The easiest methods would include a transfer from Amex Membership Rewards or Capital One miles or earning miles through Air Canada’s shopping portal.
Air France KLM Flying Blue
Flying Blue miles expire after 24 months after they are earned (from credited flights) or 24 months of inactivity (for miles earned from transfers or the shopping portal). It has long been thought that only crediting paid flights to Flying Blue or putting spend on an Air France credit card would extend miles, but if your only source of earning is by transferring from credit card currencies or other non-flight partner activity, you can extend by simply transferring the minimum from a credit card program or earning points through the shopping portal or other non-flight partners. See this post for more.
American Airlines AAdvantage
American Airlines miles expire after 18 months of inactivity. Any earning or redeeming keeps them alive. The easiest methods are to maintain an American Airlines credit card, earn miles through the AAdvantage eShopping portal or AAdvantage dining program, earn miles with a Bask Bank savings account, or redeem miles for an award.
Amtrak Guest Rewards
Amtrak Guest Rewards points expire after 24 months of inactivity. Earn or redeem points to keep them alive. The easiest ways to earn points are with the Amtrak Guest Rewards credit cards or making a small purchase through the Amtrak Guest Rewards shopping portal.
ANA Mileage Club
ANA miles expire 36 months after they are earned and typically can only be extended by achieving top-tier ANA Diamond status. Due to the pandemic, expiring points can be extended through 9/30/21, but registration is required.
Avianca miles expire after 12 months of inactivity, but it is easy to keep miles alive by transferring the minimum from Amex, Brex, Citi, or Capital One. Note that Brex has the smallest minimum transfer.
Avios (British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, Aer Lingus)
Avios expire after 36 months of inactivity. Transferring from Amex, Capital One, or Chase or earning miles through the British Airways or Iberia shopping portals should extend the life of your Avios. Note that transferring Avios from one program to another (i.e. from Iberia to British Airways) does NOT reset the clock (and in fact, according to this article, if the target account hasn’t been used in more than 36 months the points may expire immediately. YMMV).
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Asia Miles changed its expiration policy in 2020. Miles earned on or after 1/1/20 expire after 18 months of inactivity and any activity should reset the clock (including transfers from Amex, Brex, Citi, Chase, or Capital One). Miles earned before 1/1/20 expire 3 years from when they were earned, but there appears to be a workaround.
Delta SkyMiles do not expire.
Emirates Skywards miles expire 3 years after the year in which they were earned at the end of your birthday month. In other words, miles earned in 2019 will expire in 2022 at the end of the month in which you were born. You can pay a fee to extend miles for 12 more months as long as you do it within 3 months prior to expiration.
Etihad Guest miles expire after 18 months of inactivity. The easiest way to keep Etihad miles alive is by transferring points from Amex, Capital One, or Citi. Otherwise, buying or redeeming miles should reset the clock.
EVA Infinity MileageLands
EVA Infinity MileageLands miles expire 36 months from accrual and can not be extended.
Hawaiian Miles do not expire.
JetBlue TrueBlue miles never expire.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qantas Frequent Flyer miles expire after 18 months of inactivity, but you can keep miles alive by earning or redeeming them. The easiest way to earn Qantas miles is by transferring from Amex Membership Rewards, Brex, Citi ThankYou points, or Capital One miles.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Qatar Privilege Club miles expire 3 years from when they were earned. Those miles earned from January 1-June 30th expire on June 30th of the 3rd year. Those miles earned from July 1-December 31st expire on December 31st of the 3rd year. The only way to extend validity is by paying a fee.
Singapore KrisFlyer miles expire 36 months from when they were accrued and can not be extended.
Southwest Rapid Rewards
Southwest Rapid Rewards points never expire.
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus miles expire 3 years from accrual. Miles can not be extended under normal circumstances, but in light of the pandemic Thai has paused expiration of miles until 12/31/2023.
Turkish Miles & Smiles
Turkish Miles & Smiles miles expire on December 31st of the 3rd year after they were earned. Members can pay a fee of $10 per 1,000 miles to keep them alive.
United Mileage Plus
United Mileage Plus miles do not expire.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points do not expire.
When do hotel points expire and how can you keep hotel points alive?
Accor Live Limitless
Points expire 365 days from accrual. To keep your Accor Live Limitless points alive, you’ll need to check out from a qualifying point-earning stay at least 7 days before points are set to expire. You can alternatively earn points through bars or restaurants with their dining program. I am unsure whether transfers from Capital One will extend validity, but I suspect they might.
Choice Privileges points expire after 18 months of inactivity. Earn or redeem to extend the life of points, but note that booking and cancelling an award stay will not extend the life of your points. Booking a stay that you complete will extend points or booking a cash & points stay will extend points. Alternatively, a purchase through the Choice Privileges shopping portal or card-linked offers should extend points or you can keep points alive with their credit card.
Hilton Honors points expire after 12 months of inactivity. To keep them alive, earn or redeem. If you won’t be staying at a Hilton property soon, you could transfer from Amex Membership Rewards points or earn points through the Hilton Honors shopping or dining programs.
Hyatt World of Hyatt
World of Hyatt points expire after 24 months of inactivity. Any activity resets the clock, so the easiest way to keep points alive is by transferring from Chase Ultimate Rewards.
IHG Rewards Club
IHG points expire after 12 months of inactivity. Earning from stays or partners, redeeming points, or having elite status (such as the free Platinum status that comes with the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card) keeps IHG points alive.
Marriott Bonvoy points expire after 24 months of inactivity. Earning with partners, including via the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards, or transferring points from Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards keeps points alive. Other ways to keep points alive include purchasing points (1,000 points costs $12.50), converting points to miles or miles to points with airline partners, or redeeming points for charity or other non-hotel awards. It is interesting to note that redeeming points for hotel awards does not count as activity until the completed stay posts to your account. See this article for more.
Radisson Americas points expire after 24 months of inactivity. It is easy to keep points alive by booking and cancelling an award stay. Any other earning or redeeming of points should also extend the life of points.
Wyndham Rewards points expire 4 years after accrual or after 18 months of inactivity. The 18-month counter can be extended with any activity, including points earned from paid stays or the Wyndham Rewards shopping portal, points transferred from Capital One, or award redemptions. It is also possible to extend up to 30K points per year by transferring to Caesars Rewards and back and it may be possible to reinstate points that have expired.