When Do My Miles Or Points Expire?

Credit cards:
-Airline/Hotel cards where the points are deposited monthly into your airline/hotel account remain even if the card is no longer active, subject to the normal expiration dates listed below.
To repeat, you will not instantly lose any earned Starwood/Southwest/United/etc/etc points just for closing down their credit card.

-Proprietary point programs (American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, Chase Ultimate Rewards) do not expire as long as you keep at least one card open that is enrolled in their respective program.

Example 1: If you have a Freedom card and a Sapphire Preferred card, you can move your Sapphire Preferred points over to your Freedom card and close the Sapphire Preferred card and not lose any points. Or you can transfer the points on the Sapphire Preferred card to programs like Continental/United, British Airways, Southwest, or Hyatt. Once you close the Sapphire Preferred card you will retain the remaining points with your no annual fee Freedom card (or no annual fee Ink Classic or Ink Cash card), but you will no longer be able to transfer the points to airlines/hotels. However if you open another Sapphire Preferred card or Ink Bold card in the future you will once again be able to transfer all of your points to airlines/hotels.
Another option would be transfer the points to someone else that has a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold card to transfer the points to your airline/hotel program in the future when you decide which program to transfer to.

Example 2: If you downgrade a AMEX Consumer Platinum card, Business Platinum card, Consumer Premier Rewards Gold card, etc, into a cheaper charge card like the $25/year Zync card you will retain the Membership Rewards points but you will no longer be able to transfer them to airlines/hotels. In the future if you open one of those cards again you will once again be able to transfer all of your points to airlines/hotels.

Airlines:
-American (Starwood transfer partner at 20K:25K): No expiration as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 18 months.
-Air Canada (AMEX MR transfer partner at 1K:1K and Starwood transfer partner at 20K:25K): You must redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 12 months and all miles expire 7 years from their earning date regardless of activity.
-Alaska (Starwood transfer partner at 20K:25K): No expiration as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 24 months.
-British Airways (AMEX MR transfer partner at 1K:1K, Chase UR transfer partner at 1K:1K, and Starwood transfer partner at 20K:25K): No expiration as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 36 months.
-Continental (Chase UR transfer partner at 1K:1K): Continental has never expired any miles but starting 04/01/12 you either need to redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 18 months or have the Continental OnePass Plus or United MileagePlus Explorer card.
-Delta (AMEX MR transfer partner at 1K:1K and Starwood transfer partner at 20K:25K): No Expiration.
-El Al (AMEX MR transfer partner at 1,000:20, but transfers do not extend the life of points): Points from flights and bonus promotions expire after 3 years regardless of activity and base points from partners and transfers do not expire.
-Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) (AMEX MR transfer partner at 1K:1K and Starwood transfer partner at 20K:25K, but transfers do not extend the life of points): Miles expire after 20 months unless you fly on a paid mileage accruing Skyteam flight and credit the miles to Flying Blue.
-Frontier (AMEX MR transfer partner at 1K:1K): No expiration as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 24 months.
-Jetblue (AMEX MR transfer partner at 250:200, but transfers do not extend the life of points): Points expire after 12 months unless you fly on a Jetblue flight or make a purchase on the Jetblue AMEX card.
-Hawaiian (AMEX MR transfer partner at 1K:1K and Starwood transfer partner at 20K:25K): No expiration as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 18 months.
-Korean (Chase UR transfer partner at 1K:1K, but transfers do not extend the life of points): Miles expire after 10 years regardless of activity.
-LAN (Starwood transfer partner at 20K:50K, but transfers do not extend the life of points): Expires after 36 months, and are only renewable by taking a paid LAN flight.
-Southwest (Chase UR transfer partner at 1K:1K): No expiration as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 24 months.
-Spirit: No expiration as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 3 months.
-United (Chase UR transfer partner at 1K:1K): No expiration as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 18 months or have the Continental OnePass Plus or United MileagePlus Explorer card. Shuffling miles back and forth to Continental is considered activity.
-USAirways (Starwood transfer partner at 20K:25K): No expiration as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 18 months.
-Virgin America (AMEX MR transfer partner at 200:100): No expiration as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 18 months.

Hotels:
-Hilton (AMEX MR transfer partner at 1,000:1,500): No expiration as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 point every 12 months.
-Hyatt (Chase UR transfer partner at 1K:1K): No Expiration currently enforced.
-Marriott (Chase UR transfer partner at 1K:1K): No Expiration currently enforced.
-Priority Club (AMEX MR transfer partner at 1K:1K): No Expiration.
-Starwood (AMEX MR transfer partner at 1,000:333): No expiration as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 point every 12 months (in practice points don’t expire until 18 months have gone by without activity)

Find a mistake? Is your favorite program not on the list? Post a comment!

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36 Responses to “When Do My Miles Or Points Expire?”

  1. Yitzi Says:
    1

    Nice roundup!

    Its been posted on the forum that once the co opp card gets combined with the mileage plus card, the co miles will expire if there isn’t activity.
    Is that incorrect?

    ReplyReply
  2. Efi Says:
    2

    I haven’t checked but from what I remember Jetblue miles expire after 12 months even if you have activity. The only way to make them stay is with the card. This is a while back, so it may have changed.

    ReplyReply
  3. Danny Says:
    3

    if you have a spirit cc I forget if you have to use it or not but your points won’t expire

    ReplyReply
  4. Dan Says:
    4

    @Yitzi:
    As long as you have a Continental or United card your miles shouldn’t expire.

    @Efi:
    The policy as written in the post is correct.

    @Danny:
    The cc doesn’t help. You still need activity every 3 months to keep your miles alive.

    ReplyReply
  5. Dumb Says:
    5

    Lufthansa Miles & More, IIRC 3 years after those miles were earned, regardless of activity.

    ReplyReply
  6. Dan Says:
    6

    Anything you can do if the miles actually expire? Specifically with American. Thanks

    ReplyReply
  7. Dan Says:
    7

    @Dan:
    Sure!
    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/4926

    ReplyReply
  8. zvi Says:
    8

    One more way your points expire: that’s when YOU do. Remember the saying I made up decades ago when TWA started it’s mileage program: “MIZTVOS ARE THE FREQUENT-FLYER MILES AWARD FOR THE ULTIMATE JOURNEY”. thanks. HB.

    ReplyReply
  9. jj Says:
    9

    Dan, can you give me a tip on a credit card that has the lowest possible apr rate but does have miles/points or cash back? thanks alot!

    ReplyReply
  10. Dan Says:
    10

    @jj:
    http://www.dansdeals.com/go/slate/

    ReplyReply
  11. jj Says:
    11

    thanks alot Dan, it doesnt look like it has miles that you can earn or cash back though?

    ReplyReply
  12. Dan Says:
    12

    @jj:
    That’s the price you pay for getting 15 months of free balance transfers and 0% APR.

    ReplyReply
  13. jj Says:
    13

    gotcha, thanks!

    ReplyReply
  14. mord Says:
    14

    hey dan,
    if my wife and i have a family account with british airways, and one of us cancels our card, will spending on the other card extend the expiration for all the miles?

    ReplyReply
  15. Steelsnow Says:
    15

    Regarding spending $10 at a Starwood bar or restaurant without being there on a stay – I tried this recently at a Sheraton restaurant and was told to talk to the front desk – and the front desk gave me a blank stare. I kept the receipt – any way to claim the Starpoints credit at this point?

    ReplyReply
  16. Dan Says:
    16

    @mord:
    I’m not familiar with BA family accounts, sorry.
    Maybe someone else can chime in?

    @Steelsnow:
    Call SPG.

    ReplyReply
  17. steve Says:
    17

    Dan,
    On February statement I and my wife both received 7% dividend on 2011 earnings on Sapphire preferred. We both received 100,000 signup points and for both of us it showed on statement as 50,000 bonus and 50,000 “courtesy adjustment.”
    Interestingly, she received dividend on entire 100,000 and I only on the 50,000. Curious how it worked for everyone else.

    ReplyReply
  18. allen Says:
    18

    Dan,

    Nice roundup! maybe you can give us a roundup about the fees charged by the airlines for changing or cancel their reward tickets?

    thanks.

    ReplyReply
  19. Travis Swanson Says:
    19

    Steve– My wife and I received the 7% dividend for the entire 100K points. Mommypoints reports that she didn’t receive the 7% from the courtesy adjustment, and wrote to them (not sure if she has heard back). I’d write to them and ask for the dividend for the extra 50K points, doesn’t hurt to ask. Dan, thanks for the roundup of when points expire, sure appreciate it!

    ReplyReply
  20. steve Says:
    20

    @Travis Swanson:
    @Travis
    Thanks. I have already sent a secured message to them – unsuccesfully.

    ReplyReply
  21. mb Says:
    21

    dan:

    I have not received my 7% January bonus for my Sapphire card. When should i expect that?

    ReplyReply
  22. eli Says:
    22

    @steve -how did you receive the extra 50K ?
    also, on the united explorer which is now giving 40K miles, is there a way to get more via the secure message ? how does that work again ?

    ReplyReply
  23. sara fischerman Says:
    23

    I have chase freedom card that was closed by chase without warning. I have points on the account but its all frozen.
    How can I get them to transfer to another account. Customer service and the upper echelons didn’t want to do anything for me/ I stand to lose 130,000 points! Help!

    ReplyReply
  24. Choni Says:
    24

    Anyone have the 20 percent Virgin America code the arent using. I have one but need 3 more. Will pay. Thanks. chabadscv@aol.com

    ReplyReply
  25. savta Says:
    25

    I want to thank you very much for your great advice about writing to chase.com in the secure message center to increase the mileage promotion. I wrote to them and they are giving me more mileage and slos my husban 2 separate accounts. thanks again

    ReplyReply
  26. zev Says:
    26

    dan can i transfer ba miles to ur points?

    ReplyReply
  27. Gary Steiger Says:
    27

    Can you give us your source for the improved expiration policy of Starwood Starpoints? I can no longer find mention of any expiration policy in its terms and conditions.

    Thanks.

    ReplyReply
  28. pat Says:
    28

    Dan
    Great post!
    For airmiles I have many options keep points active
    * fly on airline
    * transfer points from reward program (spg, amex-mr, ultimate-rewards) to airmile plan
    * buy airmiles from airline
    * cc dining pgm to earn miles
    * cc shopping pgm to earn miles
    * internet explorer search toolbar airmile rewards

    But what options do I have to keep hotel points active (after cancelling cc) – so that they do not expire?

    For hotel points I am only aware of the following options
    * maintain an active hotel-cc (above)
    * book a night at a target hotel (register with your membership rewards id)

    ReplyReply
  29. Dan Says:
    29

    @allen:
    There is a roundup linked in the “mileage posts” tab, but it’s a bit out of date.

    @zev:
    No.

    @Gary Steiger:
    http://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/legal/spg_terms.html
    Section 4.2 has the new improved language and it’s confirmed by Starwood here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/starwood-preferred-guest/1319844-new-expiration-policy.html

    @pat:
    The real question is if booking and cancelling a hotel award stay will count. Well, obviously booking will count, but the question is if you cancel it will they retroactively not count that as activity?

    The other new question with Starwood now is if transferring points between family members will count as activity.

    Anyway the other option is transferring points from a credit card, as outlined here: http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/20144

    ReplyReply
  30. Sara Says:
    30

    I had 1,000 Starwood points in an account for 4+ years that never expired. No clue as to why.

    ReplyReply
  31. eli Says:
    31

    dan, what happened to my continental miles?

    ReplyReply
  32. Fed-up Says:
    32

    Dan,
    Do you have any recommended cc’!s that will allow me and my family to fly on American Airlines and not to have to pay $25.00 per piece of luggage this coming Pesach.

    ReplyReply
  33. Joe Says:
    33

    Dan,

    If you can please suggest a workaround for the following issue I would appreciate it: Last year I used the Amex Platinum $200 credit by purchasing AA gift cards-refunds were issued within a week. The other day I tried to purchase another AA gift card to be applied to the 2012 calender year. However, I was quite surprised to learn that AA, due to impending NJ regulations, is no longer selling gift cards to anyone whose credit card billing address is in NJ.

    Are there other options to get gift cards from other airlines which can be resold and still get credited for the purchase? If yes, will Amex allow me to switch out to that airline even though it is after 1/31. This year, I have not yet spent any money on the previous year’s airline. Officially they do not allow switching after January and they already locked me in to American. Thank you.

    ReplyReply
  34. Dan Says:
    34

    @Fed-up:
    Only their executive club credit card or the amex plat will help with that.

    @Joe:
    Just call to switch it to any other airline.

    ReplyReply
  35. Anonymous Says:
    35

    Spirit i think u need activity once a month

    ReplyReply
  36. Mendy Says:
    36

    jet blue dosent expire anymore- please fix

    ReplyReply

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