How to Keep your Hotel Points from Expiring Without Staying in a Hotel!

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Hotel Points Expiration

I’ve written about how to keep your airline miles from expiring without flying.  Here’s how to keep your hotel points from expiring without staying in a hotel!  Points expire in most US based airline program after 12 to 24 months of no earning or redemption activity.

Some programs like Choice and Wyndham hotels expire after 2 and 4 years and there is nothing you can do to extend the expiration, so you might as well use them before they expire.

Award Wallet is a good tool to track your miles and points balances and expiration dates.

HotelExpiration Policy
Choice Privileges18 months of not earning or spending points
Club Carlson24 months of not earning or spending points
Hilton HHonors12 months of not earning or spending points
Hyatt Gold24 months of not earning or spending points
IHG12 months of not earning or spending points

Your points will NOT expire as long as you have elite status
Marriott24 months of not earning or spending points
Starwood Hotels12 months of not earning or spending points
WyndhamPoints expire after 4 years and you can't do anything to extend them beyond 4 years.

However, they will expire sooner (in 18 months)of not earning or spending points

But it is really, really easy to keep your hotel points active WITHOUT staying in the hotel!

Sometimes, all you need to do is to make an award booking and cancel it later, for free!  This will generate redemption activity when you make the award and earning activity when you cancel the award and reset the point expiration clock.  But be sure to check the cancellation policy when you book!

You can easily extend the expiration by buying something cheap or making a $1 donation from the airline’s online shopping mall, or using a credit card to keep your points active!

1.   Choice Hotels International

Link:  Choice Privileges

Expiration Policy

Choice says: If a member is not active within 18 consecutive calendar months, that member will forfeit all accumulated Choice Privileges points.

1.   Keep Your Choice Hotels Points Active By Earning Points

2.   Keep Your Choice Hotels Points Active by Redeeming Points

2.   Club Carlson

Link:  Club Carlson

hotel points expiration
Expiration Policy

Club Carlson says: Gold Points do not have an expiration date as long as your account remains active by earning or redeeming within a 24 month period.

1.   Keep Your Club Carlson Points Active By Earning Points

2.   Keep Your Club Carlson Points Active by Redeeming Points

3.   Hilton

Link:  Hilton HHonors

hotel points expiration
Expiration Policy

Hilton says HHonors points do not expire as long as members remain active in the program. To keep an account active, members can stay at one of Hilton Worldwide’s hotels, or earn or redeem HHonors points within 12 months.

1.   Keep Your Hilton Points Active By Earning Point

2.   Keep Your HHonors Points Active By Redeeming Points

4.   Hyatt

Link:  Hyatt Gold Passport

Expiration Policy

Hyatt says If an account is left inactive for more than 24 calendar months, the account may be deleted and all points in the account forfeited.

1.   Keep Your Gold Passport Points Active By Earning Points

2.   Keep Your Gold Passport Points Active By Redeeming

5.   IHG

Link:  IHG Rewards

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Expiration Policy

IHG says: “All points will expire after 12 months if there’s no account activity.”

1.   Keep Your IHG Rewards Points Active By Earning

2.   Keep Your IHG Rewards Points Active By Redeeming

6.   Marriott

Link:  Marriott Rewards

hotel points expiration
Expiration Policy

Marriott says: Members must remain active in the Rewards Programs to retain Points they accumulate.  If a Member is not active for 24 consecutive months, that Member will forfeit all accumulated Points.  The Rewards Program will start enforcing this policy on February 1, 2016.  Members can remain active in the Rewards Programs and retain accumulated Points by earning Points or Miles in the Rewards Programs or redeeming Points in the Rewards Programs at least once every 24 months.

This means that earning and redeeming Marriott points will extend the life of the points.

However, there are exceptions which do NOT qualify as earning or redeeming activity:

  • Gifting or transferring points (however, converting points to miles or miles to points does count toward maintaining an active status)
  • Receiving points as a gift or transfer
  • Earning points through social media programs, such as #MRPoints

1.   Keep Your Marriott Rewards Points Active By Earning

2.   Keep Your Marriott Rewards Points Active By Redeeming

7.   Starwood Hotels And Resorts

Link:  Starwood Preferred Guest

hotel points expiration
Expiration Policy

Starwood says:Starpoints earned or otherwise obtained by an SPG Member will forfeit without notice if the SPG Member becomes Inactive, even if the SPG Member has achieved SPG Lifetime Gold or SPG Lifetime Platinum status.

An SPG Member is considered “Inactive” if during a 12 month period: (a) the SPG Member has not had an Eligible Stay at an SPG Participating Hotel; (b) the SPG Member has not earned or redeemed any Starpoints, or (c) the SPG Member’s account has been cancelled.

1.   Keep Your Starwood Points Active By Earning Points

2.   Keep Your Starwood Points Active By Redeeming Points

8.   Wyndham

Link:  Wyndham Rewards

Expiration Policy

Wyndham saysWyndham Rewards points expire four (4) years after being posted to the Member’s account, unless forfeited or cancelled earlier due to membership inactivity or otherwise in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.

But Wyndham goes on to say: “All accrued points of a Member’s Wyndham Rewards account may be cancelled or forfeited if the Member has no account activity for a period of 18 consecutive months.

What this means is that your points WILL expire FOUR years after earning them and there is nothing you can do to extend this four year period.  But your points will expire sooner if you have NO account activity during 18 months.

1.   Keep Your Wyndham Points Active By Earning Points

2.   Keep Your Wyndham Points Active By Redeeming Points

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

46 responses to “How to Keep your Hotel Points from Expiring Without Staying in a Hotel!

  1. How about transferring points on I don’t like in general, but I have a couple of programs with tiny numbers of points (50) that I could transfer out to generate some activity.

  2. Very useful! Thanks.

  3. Marriott strictly doesn’t enforce the 24month expiration policy. I was fortunate to not have any miles expire even though there was no earning/redeeming activities at all for close to 5 years. Hilton on the other hand .grrrrr….. but they gave me an option to earn it back with targeted challenge. All of this because I took a break from miles/points games and forgot the golden rule to never let any points/expire.

  4. One time with Marriott I booked a hotel with points and then had to cancel a couple of months later. When I canceled the points were redeposited into my account and the expiration date was reset.

  5. Hyatt doesn’t enforce its expiration policy, either. Not sure about the others.

  6. I assume transfers from e-rewards also count as earning?

  7. Great post, D – this one goes in my “keepers” file!

  8. This is useful content, thanks!

  9. @Travel Bug – I don’t believe lets you transfer to many hotels (unlike airlines).

    @Scott – That is my favorite way of extending hotel points since it is free and easy to do!

    @Lisa – I don’t see why not.

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  11. Very VERY helpful chart. Thanks for the effort and insight!

  12. So it would appear that if you have a credit card for a hotel rewards program, you could simply use the credit card to buy something and that would count as earning? Sorry to ask, but I’m still fairly new to all this.

  13. @JavaChip – Thanks!

    @Kevin – Yes, that’s correct!

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  16. Earning SPG points with Audience Rewards trivia has been (at the very least temporarily) ‘suspended, pending a review of the program’.

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  18. @Thomas – Thanks. I made the change.

  19. I just called Hyatt to check my expiration date and they said that hyatt points never expire. Has their policy changed maybe?

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  21. * An SPG Member is considered “Inactive” if during a 12 month period: (a) the SPG Member has not had an Eligible Stay at an SPG Participating Hotel; (b) the SPG Member has not earned or redeemed any Starpoints, or (c) the SPG Member’s account has been cancelled.“

    Is this really an “OR” conjunction? It reads like even if I have points-earning activity, I also need an eligible stay every 12 months, otherwise I’ll be considered inactive? So much for building points for an aspirational vacation!?

  22. @Marvin – I interpret it is either of a) or b) or c). That said, it is a bit vaguely worded.

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  24. Hi Darius,
    I just checked Marriott’s website. it says ”
    Do Marriott Rewards points expire?

    As long as you make a paid stay at a Marriott hotel every 24 months, your account and points remain active. Otherwise, your points may expire.

    is this a change from previous policy or I can still make a purchase to maintain my points?

  25. I receive Starwood Options each year which I may convert to Starpoints. Is converting StarOptions to StarPoints considered “earning” starpoints in order to keep my Starpoints active?

  26. @maria prel – Very interesting. Thanks for pointing it out.

    @Frank – I don’t have any personal experience, but I believe it should.

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  28. My Dad’s Marriott Rewards balance was just reset to zero. He last earned points on the account about 2 years ago.

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  31. John Stewart

    I called Marriott and they said that any activity, within 24 months, keeps the account from going into “stasis”, but the points are still good.

    I make (and will cancel) a reservation, and she said that it qualified as “activity” (I didn’t tell her, I was going to cancel it).

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  33. When you make (and cancel) a reservation to preserve points, is it important to tell them you’re using points for the hotel stay?

  34. Oops! I do see that you said “Make an award booking.”

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  36. Booking and then canceling a reward night did not keep my HHonors account active. I booked a room using points, waited a week, and then canceled. The account showed the deduction and then deposit of the points so I thought I was good. Then this month 100k+ points disappear. According to the HHonors rep, this activity did not qualify. After asking for them to be reinstated, they said they will reinstate the points after 2-paid stays within 12 months. This is definitely a big surprise to me as I would’ve sought you an alternative means to keep the account active had I known reward booking/cancelation did not serve that purpose.Does anyone else have a similar experience? Or can someone point to T&Cs that state that this activity should’ve covered the expiration concern?

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  39. Had 110,170 points with HHonors adn without at least giving me a warning and not traveling for over a year, my points went to zero. Called and was told they had expired and they gave me no option to renew. Is there anyway to get these back?

  40. As long as you have a loyalty card you don’t actually have to stay in the hotels correct? Just charge anything to the card.?

  41. @ Bill, when I had the same thing come up recently I called Hilton Honors and they reinstated the points for me. Perhaps call again and ask to speak to a supervisor?

  42. My hyatt points were expiring. called customer service and the guy said if I updated some information on my account he’d give me another 2 years active. I took off an old address. Done. 2 more years.

  43. Correction: Under Hyatt hotels you note their points expire in 24 months. On my accounts Q&A it says accounts may be deleted after 12 months. That may have changed since this article was written in 2013.

  44. Correction correction: I just love big corporations. So, Hyatt’s website says the 12 months expiration in one place and 24 in another. Too lazy to call to find out :P.

  45. Could u update chart? Many are no longer current

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