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 programmes are. So here is a summary for quick reference.
- The best policy locally is with Air New Zealand Airpoints
- General global trend of points expiring after 2-3 years of inactivity, but some shift towards no expiry (e.g. United)
- Strictest policies locally with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Don’t let your valuable Krisflyer miles expire after threeyears of earning them
When do your frequent flyer points expire?
|Rewards Programme||Do points expire?||After how long?||Notes|
|Air New Zealand Airpoints||Yes - time from earned||Minimum of 4 years validity||On anniversary of programme join date, points from over 4 years prior will expire
Oldest points are used first
No expiry for Gold or Elite, or holders of most Airpoints branded credit cards (Westpac Airpoints Classic Mastercard, Business Mastercard and American Express Airpoints Platinum Card are the exceptions)
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||Yes - with inactivity||18 months of inactivity||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|
|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
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||Yes - time from earned||36 months from month miles are earned.||Renewal for another three years or transfer to another member with payment of fee|
|Etihad Guest||Yes - with inactivity||18 months of inactivity|
|British Airways Avios||Yes - with inactivity||36 months of inactivity|
|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
|American Airlines AAdvantage miles||Yes - with inactivity||18 months of inactivity||Reinstate for a fee depending on number of miles|
|United Mileageplus miles||No||Effective 28 August 2019, the previous 18-month soft expiry no longer applies|
|Alaska Mileage Plan miles||Yes - with inactivity||24 months of inactivity||Miles can be reinstated for up to one year for a $75 USD fee|
|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|
|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|
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 programme partner – accrue 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 programme
- Earn some points from a linked credit card
- Buy points, e.g. from Qantas, Velocity or Alaska
- Use a service like awardwallet.com 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 miles expire. Don’t forget!
Do you have any other ways you have successfully prevented your points from expiring?