How To Keep your Airline Miles From Expiring Without Flying!

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express is a Million Mile Secrets advertising partner. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Airline Miles Expiration

Readers often ask how to keep their airline miles active if they don’t fly on a particular airline.  Miles expire in most US based airline program after 18 months of no earning or redemption activity.  Award Wallet is a good tool to track your miles and points balances and expiration dates.

Airline
Expiration Policy
Alaska Airlines24 months of no earning or spending miles
American Airlines18 months of no earning or spending miles
British Airways36 months of no earning or spending miles
DeltaMiles Never Expire
Frontier Airlines18 months of no earning miles
Hawaiian Airlines 18 months of no earning or spending miles
Southwest24 months of no earning or spending miles
United18 months of no earning or spending miles
US Airways18 months of no earning or spending miles

But it is really, really easy to keep your miles active WITHOUT flying!

Sometimes, all you need to do is earn or redeem 1 mile to reset the mile expiration clock.  You can easily do this by buying a $1 iTune, making a $1 donation from the airline’s online shopping mall, downloading the airlines’ shopping toolbar and making a few searches, or using a credit card to keep your miles active!

1.   Alaska Airlines

Link:  Alaska Airlines

Expiration Policy:

1.  Keep Your Alaska Airlines Miles Active By Earning Miles

2.  Keep Your Alaska Airlines Miles Active By Redeeming Miles

 

2.   American Airlines

Link:  American Airlines

keep airline miles from expiring 1

Expiration Policy

1.  Keep Your American Airlines Miles Active By Earning Miles

2. Keep Your American Airlines Miles Active By Redeeming Miles

 

3.   British Airways

Link:  British Airways


Expiration Policy

1.   Keep Your Avios Points Active By Earning Points

2.   Keep Your Avios Points Active By Redeeming Points

  • Book an award ticket or redeem for car rentals or hotel stays
  • Book and cancel an Avios award ticket for FREE if you are a gold elite member


 

4.   Delta

Link:  Delta


Expiration Policy

 

5.   Frontier Airlines

Link:  Frontier Airlines

Expiration Policy

This means that redeeming Frontier miles doesn’t extend the life of the miles.

Keep Your Frontier Miles Active By Earning Miles

6.   Hawaiian Airlines

 Link:  Hawaiian Airlines

hawaiian-airlines-logo

 

 

 

Expiration Policy

1.   Keep Your Hawaiian Airlines Miles Active

7.   Southwest Airlines

Link:  Southwest Airlines


Expiration Policy

1.   Keep Your Southwest Points Active By Earning Points

8.   United Airlines

Link:  United Airlines


Expiration Policy

1.   Keep Your United Miles Active By Earning Miles

2.   Keep Your United Miles Active By Redeeming Miles:

 

 9.   US Airways

Link:  US Airways


Expiration Policy

1.   Keep Your US Air Miles Active By Earning Miles

2.  Keep Your US Air Miles Active By Redeeming Miles:

 

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 8,500+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in a RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

97 Responses to How To Keep your Airline Miles From Expiring Without Flying!

  1. Please advise extending Airtran, wondering if anyone knows any tricks other than swapping them out for Southwest credits.

  2. Excellent summary. Will do be doing one on hotels points?

  3. How about CX Asia miles? I have not been able to find a viable way (without flying) to keep them alive.

  4. Will you do one of these charts for hotels as well please

  5. @ Dluke – Keep in mind, Airtran is currently in the process of merging with Southwest. I’m not saying it’s impossible to extend the life of your credits, but it may be more difficult considering Southwest is slowly taking over the routes.

  6. @Dluke – You can pay $29 to extend the credits, but it may not be worth it depending on the credits you have.

    @Achilles – You can pay to renew the miles, but it isn’t worth it. Probably best to just redeem the miles for something before they expire.

    @Dave Op @Hunter – I’ll post on hotel points next week.

  7. D- Is it still true that United miles don’t expire for Mileage Plus credit card holders or did this change?

  8. What about Jet blue? Can you make a $1 itunes purchase as well?

  9. Are US Airway miles transferrable? like to hotels?

  10. this is extremely helpful..I’ll look forward to the hotel summary

  11. Very well done, thanks!

  12. This post would have been helpful about a year and a half ago! I had some United miles (no idea how I accumulated them, but I had a couple thousand) that were about to expire. This was before I really got into the miles/points game, so all I could think of was to subscribe to magazines with the balance. They didn’t make it clear that you only needed to redeem a few of them to keep them from expiring, so I went on a magazine ordering spree.

    We got nearly a dozen monthly magazines for an entire year, and the Wall Street Journal (daily). It was hard keeping up with all of that reading (and disposal of the paper). Even worse – when the magazines stopped coming, we were glad that we were almost free – but then the WSJ kept coming! We just wanted it to end, but it took about 3 months before they finally stopped sending us a daily copy!

  13. Keep Your US Air Miles Active by Earning Miles:

    Think u may be wrong , if not please explain how you can “transfer “to your United account? from us airways

    Fly on a paid US Airways flight or a Star Alliance or partner flight and credit the miles to US Air
    Pay $9 to extend expiration of your miles for another 18 months
    Download the US Air eShopping toolbar and earn miles for internet searches
    Enroll in the US Air dining program and dine at a partner restaurant
    Rent a car or stay at a partner hotel and credit the miles to US Air
    Use the US Airways Mastercard
    Purchase or share Dividend Miles through a 100% bonus period or any other time.
    Transfer hotel points from Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, Priority Club, Starwood, Wyndham & Choice hotels to your United account

  14. Very helpful summary post, thanks!

  15. world-traveler

    ” Pay $9 to extend expiration of your miles for another 18 months”

    Instead of feeding them $9, extend for $0 by answering questions:
    https://www.audiencerewards.com/usairways/trivia.cfm

    If you need help, read
    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/milesbuzz/1239119-audience-rewards-trivia-questions-answers-starwood-delta-u-s-air.html

  16. My husband lost his Choice Hotel points at 12/31. By the time he told me the points were already gone. They emailed him a few days in advance, but he was busy.

  17. I don’t think iTunes will work with JetBlue. They get great customer service ratings but their award program is one of the most unfriendly in the industry. I emailed them recently about my miles with them expiring next month and they had just awarded me miles for taking a survey for them a week prior and they responded:

    There are only three activities which extend the expiration date of points: completing a JetBlue revenue flight, a JetBlue Getaways Package, or by earning points from a qualifying purchase made with the JetBlue Card from American Express. Promotional, purchased or bonus points do not extend the expiration date.

  18. If one is signed up to multiple dining programs thru different airlines, and i dine at a place that is excepted by a bunch of airlines, do i get credit for all of them?

    Thanks in advance.

  19. For programs that I do not have a credit card open, I purchase one iTunes song (make sure it’s $1+) and cycle through one program each month, ensuring my miles never expire.

  20. Any idea how to extend Aeroplan miles?

    Thanks

  21. Yep. Excellent summary. Thank you.

  22. If family members have linked their Avios accounts with a Household account, if the main person has account activity within the expiration period, will that extend all members of the Household account or must each have activity?

  23. Pingback: ‘Round the Blogosphere « Point Me to the Miles

  24. @corinne – They market it that way, but it isn’t exactly true because the terms say “Your miles will not expire as long as there is activity on your credit card account, including paying your annual membership fee, and the credit card account is open and not in default.” If you have NO activity on the card, but pay the fee, your miles won’t expire. But if you use the card you’ll earn United miles and will extend the expiry by another 18 months.

    @Happy Feet – I don’t believe so.

    @Jen@WanderOneDay – I used to get magazines from the US Grand Slam and promptly left them in the common area at work as soon as they arrived!

    @STAN – Thanks! It is a typo – it should be US Air.

    @world-traveler – Thanks! I do mention the trivia option in the list and performing a search will also extend the expiration of the miles for free.

    @Lively – Choice is different in that you can’t extend their miles beyond expiration. Use them or lose them.

    @Melinda – If you sign up the same credit card with 2 different airline dining programs, you will only get credit from the last airline dining program you signed up for.

    @yngp – You could transfer Membership Rewards points, or use their shopping portal etc.

    @KarenL – The BA website says “Just like with an individual account, your Household Account Avios stay with you as long as you collect, spend, purchase or share some Avios at least once every 36 months.”

    However this link on FlyerTalk suggests differently. I’d be safe and assume the points expire after 36 months of inactivity in anyone’s account.

  25. Tremendous post to be bookmarked!

  26. No expiration policy for Delta?
    (Maybe it’s to compensate for how many miles you to need to redeem an award flight…)

  27. Any idea if I can transfer miles out of Alaska Airlines? I was hoping I could use my Alaska stash like I did with my Hawaiian stash and transfer to Hilton. Thanks, D.

  28. michael thaler

    A note to ACHILLES,
    CX Asia Miles expire after 3 years whether you have or do not
    have any activity.
    For example miles earned on JAN. 5,2010 will expire today and
    miles earned since than will expire on their 3rd year anniversary.
    Michael

  29. @Nick – Unfortunately, there is no way to move them out at a decent ratio. But you can redeem on many airlines including American, Delta, Alaska and their other partner airlines.

  30. I didn’t see any mention of JetBlue’s policy in your post. I wrote about it in December.
    Check out my post:
    http://www.michaelwtravels.com/2012/12/jetblue-trueblue-be-careful-with-your.html

  31. Pingback: My Week in Points December 30-January 5: Hilton Reserve x2 issues and more - Rapid Travel Chai

  32. I ordered through the aa portal on dec 29 but no activity shows up in. My account. My miles spire in two days. How lomg does it usually take for an miles to post?

    Thanks!

  33. Hawaiian Airlines, incase anyone is wondering, is every 18 months.

  34. @Michael W. Travels @Jim – Thanks! I’ll add those to the list.

    @Donna c – It takes longer than 2 days for the miles to post from the shopping portal, but it *may* be backdated to the transaction date, but your miles may vary.

  35. It seems that both AA and UA discontinued their shopping toolbar. And the links above for the toolbars don’t work anymore.

  36. Pingback: Chase United Explorer | Million Mile Secrets

  37. Pingback: 100 Free American Airlines Miles | Million Mile Secrets

  38. @yngp if you leave in Canada you can fill up at esso, buy at Sobyes (east) , buy at Rexal (east), deposit a pin from a nestle product, use any of aeroplan credit cards

  39. Pingback: Hotel Points Expiration | Million Mile Secrets

  40. Hi Darius,

    You did not cover Emirates Skywards miles in your post above. may be because it is not a US based airline. But, do you have any suggestions on how can I save my miles from expiring on Emirates Skywards. Alaska is a partner but do they allow using an Emirates skywards number? please suggest if you have any ideas.
    Thanks.

  41. @Somy – You can’t extend your Emirates miles and they will expire after 3 years.

  42. Pingback: My Week in Points February 24-March 2: what did I miss? - Rapid Travel Chai

  43. how do I prevent my Emirates miles from expiring without flying

  44. Oh! you mean even if I buy something say for a buck on their ” Emirates high wall street” still the remaining miles will expire? There is no way around?

  45. THE HORNEY TRAVELER

    TAKE A EMIRATES FLIGHT

  46. Victoria Hamilton

    Dear Million Miles Secrets,

    This is a great site. I need 10,000 Emirates miles. I was reading that one of your readers’ miles is about to expire before she can use them. I will buy them from her – if she has enough & is willing to sell. How can we arrange this?

    Thank you
    Victoria.

  47. Thanks!

  48. Can you track point expiration dates on points.com? I see you can track balances, but I’m more concerned about a dashboard showing expirations. Thanks!

  49. @Joe – You can track them on Award Wallet.

  50. Pingback: Don’t Let Your Miles Expire - The Military Frequent Flyer

  51. Does anyone know how to transfer points (without incurring fees) from an AA account from my boyfriend to myself? Or, am I allowed to give my AA account number when he signs up for a new credit card?
    Thanks,
    Andrea

  52. @Andrea – You can’t transfer miles without being charged a fee and you shouldn’t have your boyfriend put your number in the application. But he can book award tickets for anyone using the miles in his account, so there’s no real need to transfer.

  53. Thanks for clarifying that, Darius!

  54. For BA, if I have one above mentioned activity at the end of the 36th month, how will my avois points extend? another 36 month or ??

    Thanks!

  55. Pingback: Earn United Miles | Million Mile Secrets

  56. @sylvia – It should reset for another 36 months.

  57. Pingback: Transfer Ultimate Rewards to Southwest | Million Mile Secrets

  58. My miles will expire tomorrow.
    I’ve just bought one iTunes song and it’ll take 2-3 weeks to show up in my AA shopping account…
    Will my miles expire?

  59. @Patricia – Very likely that they will since the activity has to post before the miles expire.

  60. You are the best. I’ve been stressing for several days how to keep my AA points since I haven’t flown with them in awhile. You make it seem so simple that I feel like I’ve been a fool for days. Thank you thank you thank you and keep it up.

  61. @Christina – You’re welcome! Just make sure that the miles post to your account before your AA miles are set to expire. You can also track them in AwardWallet with 6 months of pro free.

  62. Pingback: 6 Tips for Gift Giving When You Live Out of a Suitcase - 30Traveler

  63. Very confusing. How to use AA miles and BA Avios to buy cruises. Also, if not enough AA miles or Avios are available for the total fare, can they be used for partial fare payment?

  64. @Jerry Mandel – You can’t use AA or BA points as partial payment.

  65. Pingback: Credit Card Updates: Marriott Rewards Premier Visa 40,000 Points + $100 Statement Credit Offer, 20,000 FlexPoints & 50,000 Hilton Points | Million Mile Secrets

  66. This is great info, D. Thank you. Do you have any suggestions for easy ways to keep kids’ accounts active? My son has an AAdvantage account I’d like to keep active. We’re flying on an AA flight with Avios, but I don’t think that will count as “account activity” which will prevent his miles from expiring.

  67. @calflygirl – Any of the activities will keep your kid’s accounts active. So you could just buy something cheap through the shopping portal using your kid’s account number to keep the miles active.

  68. Heads up: the AA shopping toolbar no longer exists.

  69. @natyan – Thanks! I’ve removed it from the list.

  70. I have an E-ticket expiring very soon, already 11 months from issue. I forgot I had it. Can I buy a refundable ticket now and then cancel and then have an extension on the ticket without loosing the value of my eticket minus the fee to change?

    Thanks

  71. @Elkhornne – I don’t believe it will work since it is usually from the date the e-ticket was issued.

  72. Dear Darius,
    We flew using HNA (Hainan airline). Can we credit those flight to any Us partners, to keep our US miles from expiring?
    THanks,
    Julia

  73. @julia – Hainan airlines is not a US Air partner so you can’t credit your miles to US Air.

  74. Hainan airlines: can i credit the miles flown to any US airline?

  75. I don’t think the $1 iTunes song works on American any longer I did not find it on the AA eshopping portal. Or does anyone have an idea of where to find it? Only $15 gift cards with $4 shipping

  76. @Julia – I don’t believe so.

    @Vivek – I’ll remove it since it isn’t available.

  77. Pingback: How to Prevent Miles from Expiring | Points for Good

  78. UAL has made a change in my mileage plus reservation. Do I have to accept the changes or can I cancel my trip and have the mileage deposited back into my account?

  79. @Neil Jacobs – It depends on the length of the change, but usually you can request to cancel with no charge.

  80. Do you know if I can refresh the expiration date of my ANA miles by transferring some from my Sapphire card?

    Thanks

  81. Can I check on the southwest website when my points are going to expire?

  82. @Buckaroo123 – You can’t transfer points from the Sapphire Preferred to ANA.

    @mmt – You can see when you last had account activity in your Southwest account.

  83. When I view “rewards activity details” is only shows the previous year activities; not 24 months ago. Is there a place to find when the real last earning was? Does SW send expiration warning notice

  84. Pingback: Eat Out Today and Get 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards With Your Sapphire Preferred Card | Million Mile Secrets

  85. I just realized that my Southwest account was closed in January as I had no paid flights in the last 24 months. I did book an awards trip 12 months ago but my 29K points are now gone and 2 agents confirmed that there is no way to get them back. I was told by SW that booking award travel does not constitute qualifying activity per their T’s & C’s (http://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/faqs.html?topic=rapid_rewards_program_terms_and_conditions) . Supposedly they send out an email warning of expiration but I cannot find it nor can the call center agent reproduce it for me.

    You mention above that

    Keep Your Southwest Points Active By Redeeming Miles
    Book an award ticket
    Book and cancel a Southwest award ticket which is free for all members

    This is not true according to SW as of 3/14/14. You have to buy a ticket or buy points or buy flowers or some other nonsense.

    Please let me know if you have heard of SW reinstating points and if you have any ideas on how I can get these back.

    Thanks in advance for your time.

  86. @mmt – There is no way to check on the Southwest website.

    @GB – Sorry to hear about that. I’ll update the post since Southwest now specifies that only earning points counts towards extending the expiration of your account.

  87. Hi Darius,

    My United miles expire on 31st May this year. Can I buy a one dollar song on itunes and get away with losing all my miles in that deadlines period? Thanks!

  88. Pingback: Miles and Points 101: A Beginner's Guide to Free World Travel

  89. Pingback: Get ~1,000 FREE American Airlines Miles on Facebook in ~15 Minutes | Million Mile Secrets

  90. Pingback: Extend Mileage Expiration Date - FlyerTalk Forums

  91. Pingback: Tips to avoid mileage expiration - FlyerTalk Forums

  92. Pingback: Reminder: Today You Earn 3X Points on Dining With Chase Sapphire Preferred | Million Mile Secrets

  93. Pingback: 8,000 Free Spirit Airlines Miles for Hating Spirit Airlines or Another Airline | Million Mile Secrets

  94. Pingback: Free Magazines When You Complain to Spirit Airlines! | Million Mile Secrets

  95. Pingback: Reminder: Today You Earn 3X Points on Dining When You Pay With Chase Sapphire Preferred | Million Mile Secrets

  96. Pingback: Travel Tips For Digital Marketing Professionals (Exhaustive List) | PPC Ian

  97. My wife and I both have BA Avios miles, and we have a Household account. I would like to transfer some of my BA Avios miles to my Iberia Avios account. When I transfer my BA Avios miles, does BA pull miles based on the Household account, or just my account?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.