Given the questions I get on a regular basis about this, there seems to be an increased awareness from many points collectors these days that their points might expire if they don’t keep using their frequent flyer accounts.
However many aren’t quite sure exactly what the policies of the different programs are, so I thought I’d round them up in a summary for quick reference.
The key take-aways? The best policy locally is with Air New Zealand Airpoints, and the worst, Avianca LifeMiles – with a general global trend of expiring miles after around 18 months on inactivity.
|Rewards Program||Do points expire?||After how long?||Notes|
|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
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||Yes - with inactivity||18 months of inactivity|
|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||6-12 month extension depending on status available with payment of fee |
Oldest miles are used first.
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 - time from earned||24/30/36 months from the month miles are earned for regular/Silver/Gold & Platinum members|
|British Airways Avios||Yes - with inactivity||36 months of inactivity|
|Avianca LifeMiles||Yes with inactivity||12 months of inactivity||Easiest way to extend miles is to donate even just one mile to charity—extends for one year|
|American Airlines AAdvantage miles||Yes - with inactivity||18 months of inactivity||Reinstate for a fee depending on number of miles|
|United Mileageplus miles||Yes - with inactivity||18 months of inactivity||Reinstate for a fee depending on number of miles|
|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|
Most Air New Zealand Airpoints credit cards – the Westpac Airpoints Classic Mastercard and Air New Zealand American Express Card the notable exceptions – will ensure that your Airpoints Dollars never expire.
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.
- Earn some points from a program 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 program
- Earn some points from a linked credit card
- Use a service like awardwallet.com to keep tabs on your balances.
I’m sure many of you have learned the hard way not to let your miles expire. Don’t forget!