How to keep your miles from expiring!

By Cacinda Maloney

How to keep your miles from expiring!

Frequent Flyer miles that is

A few ideas to keep your mileage balances from expiring. Quick and simple.

For most airlines or hotel loyalty programs, earning or spending in any amount is enough to extend the life of your entire account balance.

* Open an airline co-branded mileage credit card

* Transfer points from American Express Membership rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest accounts into your airline account

* Transfer points from your Chase Ultimate Rewards card into your airline account

*Buy a small amount of miles

* Credit a hotel stay to your airline account or to your hotel loyalty program

* Credit a car rental to your account
* Register for a mileage dining program and have a meal out
* Shop through an airline mileage mall or a shopping portals

Keeping your mileage balances alive is easy.  If you don’t fly much with some airlines, keep track of expiration dates with AwardWallet, although many airlines have pulled out of this program.  I still keep all my programs stored here and just know that American, Delta and United don’t allow storage in this site except manually.  You will have to pay for the premium program to track your expirations, but, I think it is worth it, if like me, you tend to open all loyalty programs regardless of whether you think you will use that program or not.

Have you ever had miles expire?  What are your strategies to keep your balances alive?

In general: miles expire after a fixed number of months if there has not been any account activity.  That might seem like a harsh policy until you consider that most types of account activity will extend the life of your entire mileage balance for another 12-24 months (varies by airline).  With so many opportunities to earn or spend miles, there’s no excuse to let them expire.

Here are the main airline’s expiration policies:

Alaska Airlines – 24 months

American Airlines – 18 months

Delta Air Lines – No expiration

JetBlue Airlines – 12 months (must earn by flying or credit card use)

Southwest Airlines – 24 months (must have flight or partner earning activity)

United Airlines – 18 months


Virgin America – 18 months