When do your frequent flyer points expire? Here is a roundup of the key programmes

GUIDE: Program Guide
TIME TO READ: < 1 minutes
POSTED: June 18, 2019
UPDATED: September 21, 2019
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Relevant to Multiple Programs

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.

Key takeaways

  • 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

Singapore Airlines Business Class

Don’t let your valuable Krisflyer miles expire after threeyears of earning them

When do your frequent flyer points expire?

Rewards ProgrammeDo points expire?After how long?Notes
Air New Zealand AirpointsYes - time from earnedMinimum of 4 years validityOn 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 FlyerYes - with inactivity18 months of inactivityTransferring 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
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerYes - time from earned36 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 MilesYes - time from earned36 months from month miles are earned.Renewal for another three years or transfer to another member with payment of fee
Etihad GuestYes - with inactivity18 months of inactivity
British Airways AviosYes - with inactivity36 months of inactivity
Delta SkymilesNo
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
American Airlines AAdvantage milesYes - with inactivity18 months of inactivityReinstate for a fee depending on number of miles
United Mileageplus milesNoEffective 28 August 2019, the previous 18-month soft expiry no longer applies
Alaska Mileage Plan milesYes - with inactivity24 months of inactivityMiles can be reinstated for up to one year for a $75 USD fee
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
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

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 programme partner – accrue 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 programme
  4. Earn some points from a linked credit card
  5. Buy points, e.g. from Qantas, Velocity or Alaska
  6. Use a service like awardwallet.com to keep tabs on your balances.
  7. 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?

When do your frequent flyer points expire? Here is a roundup of the key programmes was last modified: September 21st, 2019 by Matt Moffitt