Will I Lose my United Miles if I Cancel my United Credit Card?

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Million Mile Secrets reader Jeff comments:

I’ve had the Chase United Visa for about eight months and have accumulated about 80,000 miles included the signup bonus miles. Will I lose them if I cancel the card

Will I Lose My Miles If I Cancel My Credit Card?

Will Jeff Lose his United Miles if he Cancels his United Credit Card?

Jeff wants to know if he will get to keep his 80,000 United miles if he cancels his Chase United card.

PS:  I haven’t included my affiliate link to the Chase United card for up to 35,000 miles.  That’s because this post will show you if you’ve been targeted for the better offer for up to 55,000 United miles!

Will Jeff Lose Miles If He Cancels His Credit Card?

If Jeff cancels his card, he will NOT lose airline miles or hotel points that are already in his airline or hotel account.

However, Jeff could lose ALL points in his account, if he cancels a bank rewards card like American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Citi Thank You points.

Airline Miles & Hotel Points

If Jeff cancels an airline or hotel credit card, he won’t lose the miles or points already in his airline or hotel loyalty program account.

So if Jeff cancels his Chase United card, he will NOT lose his 80,000 United miles that are in his United account.

But Jeff will lose miles that haven’t posted to his United account as yet because his credit card statement hasn’t yet closed.

For example, let’s say that Jeff cancels his Chase United card on December 22, 2014 and his credit card billing cycle is from November 27, 2014 to December 27, 2014.

Jeff will lose all the miles he earned from November 27, 2014 to December 22, 2014 because those miles haven’t posted to his account.

But the 80,000 miles in his account are safe because they are already in his account.

However, they are still subject to United’s mileage expiration policy which says that you should have mile earning or redemption activity in your account every 18 months.

So Jeff should ensure that he has activity in his United account every 18 months.  But Jeff can easily keep his miles from expiring!

United Credit Card Terms & Conditions

The terms of the United credit card 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. Upon cancellation of your credit card account your miles will expire according to the MileagePlus program rules.

Often times, readers are told by customer service agents that canceling their United card means that they lose ALL their United miles.  This is NOT true!

You will only lose the miles which haven’t yet posted to your United account when you close the credit card.

Bank Reward Program Points

If Jeff cancels a card that earns American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, or Citi Thank You points, he could LOSE all the points in his account.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

You Lose all Your Ultimate Rewards Points if you Don’t Transfer Them Before Closing an Ultimate Rewards Card!

Each bank reward point program has slightly different rules, so he should review my post on how to prevent losing your points when you close a card. 

Bottom Line

Jeff won’t lose his existing United miles if he closes his United credit card.  But he will lose points that have not posted to his account.

He should also make sure that he has activity in his United account every 18 months to prevent his United miles from expiring.

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29 responses to “Will I Lose my United Miles if I Cancel my United Credit Card?

  1. Thanks for the info; always wondered about that statement and my Chase card….

  2. I have had this card for 1.5 yrs now. I picked up the 50k miles promo in the past and now plan on cancelling it.

    How long must I wait before I am able to re-apply and get the bonus miles again? (assuming a promo for miles is offered)

    Thanks.

  3. I have a slightly different question for you: my husband and I signed up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card within 2 months of each other, earned our bonuses and transferred the bulk of the points to airline frequent flyer programs that we would use. This was all in preparation for canceling the cards since I’ve read you to write that you can’t sign up for the same bonus again until 24 months after you’ve cancelled. And we loved the flexibility of the Ultimate Rewards so wanted to become eligible again ASAP.

    My husband canceled his card out right and the customer service rep told him he would send a $5 Starbucks card using 500 of the remaining 618 points in his account.

    When I called Chase they offered to transfer my remaining 495 points to a “Chase Sapphire” no annual fee account. Which I accepted. Here are my questions:

    1) by transferring my points from the Preferred to the no annual fee account, will this impact my eligibility for the Preferred account in 2 years?

    2) what are the pros and cons of canceling the Chase Sapphire Preferred card versus converting the card to a Chase Sapphire card (besides the saving the cost of the annual fee, that is charged on the Preferred card).

    I read your related post (“Will You Lose Your Miles & Points After Cancelling a Credit Card?”) and also searched your website for my question but did not see that you’ve answered my particular question. Please pardon if you have!

    And thanks!

  4. Will my UA miles expire if I downgrade from Explorer to the no-AF Mileageplus card?

  5. Thanks. Is the same true for credits earned with the Chase Airtran A+ rewards card?

  6. In terms of original Jeff’s question about losing his 80K United miles: I went through the same quandary this weekend, determined the 18 mos rule, and signed up (again) for a new United Explorer card thru Chase. No annual fee. Whether I get bonus miles again is besides the point. I will use the care a few times in 11-12 mos thus assuring my United miles have greater longevity.

  7. If you have an airline credit card or a hotel credit card, you will not lose your miles or points earned in your account if you close or downgrade your credit card.

    If you close all your Chase Ultimate Reward credit cards or American Express Membership Reward credit cards, you will lose all the earned points in your account. Transfer/redeem all the points before closing your credit cards.

    Citi ThankYou credit cards earn points in your ThankYou account. You will not lose your ThankYou points if you close your credit card.

    That should clarify things. Happy holidays Daraius and Emily!

  8. For couples who each have a Sapphire card, keep in mind that you can combine Chase Ultimate Rewards points between your accounts. Do not use this to sell points on Ebay etc. or Chase may shut you down. But any couple living at the same address, or obviously related, is allowed to combine points.

    If you both have a no fee Freedom card, but one of you cancels their Sapphire card to avoid the fee, they can continue to transfer their points from their Freedom card to their partner’s Sapphire account . So a couple only needs to keep one Sapphire account open, and can still keep earning and transferring Freedom card quarterly bonus points from both of their Freedom accounts.

  9. @Mike The official T/C say you can only apply for any Chase card once in your lifetime. But a number of people have reported that if you wait two years after cancelling a card, Chase will allow you to reapply and receive the sign up bonus again.

    Be aware that if you reapply much sooner than 2 years after cancelling a card, Chase may give you a new card, but a month or two afterwards you will get a letter stating that you do not qualify for any signup bonus.

  10. @ Grant… WRONG!

    I lost all 22K ThankYou points in my account when I cancelled my Citi ThankYou card about 6 months ago. I was kicking myself for a while!

  11. Thank-you for bringing up the subject of losing points when one chooses to close existing cards.

    You focused the article on United Miles and touched on other Bank Rewards Programs – including American Express and MemberShip Rewards (MR) program. That point (AMEX MR Program) is what most peaked my interest in this story. I clicked on your older link in the story and read about how to save existing AMEX MR points when closing an AMEX card.

    Today, I have an AMEX Business Gold Rewards Card (that I got through your links a while back) and I will be cancelling it in the next few months to avoid the annual fee. I have over 90k MR points. I’m not ready to transfer them to another program yet.

    My question today is…according to the older blog article you referred ( http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/10/10/cancel-credit-card-lose-miles-points/ ), I may be able to keep my AMEX MR points if:

    ——————————-
    “…Have another Membership Rewards card. You won’t lose your points if you have another American Express card which earns Membership Rewards points AND which is linked to the same Membership Rewards points account as the credit card which you cancel.

    Sometimes, business and personal cards result in separate Membership Rewards accounts, so make sure that you have both your personal and business cards linked to only 1 Membership Rewards account.”.
    ——————————-

    It appears that there are at least two AMEXCards that do not have an annual fee and are still eligible for the MR Program. They are Blue from American Express & Blue Sky from American Express.

    Do you believe that by opening either of these two cards, I’d be able to save my existing 90k+ MR points or do you have any other recommendations?

    Sorry to drift off the existing blog article subject (United)!

    Thanks!

    🙂

  12. I have both the Chase Preferred and Chase Freedom. The preferred came with a 50,000 sign up bonus and the Freedom came with a 20,000 sign up bonus. If I were to transfer all my points from my Preferred card to my Freedom card, then closed my Preferred card, would they take back those miles that I transferred to the Freedom?

    Thanks!

  13. What about hotel free night awards? For example, if I’ve earned (but not used) a Hilton free night by spending $10,000 on my Citi Hhonors Hilton Reserve card, and the award certificate is available in my Hhonors account, can I lose it if I cancel the card?

  14. if you booked a flight with the mileageplus explorer and then canceled the card before the flight, are you still able to get a free checked bag?

  15. This article makes me think… Will I lose my free night certificates if I cancel my hotel cards? For example, Hyatt, Hilton Reserved and Marriott offer free nights for signing up or reaching certain spending limit.

  16. You will not lose your free night certificates if you cancel your cc. Once the certificates have been issued, they are in your hotel account, no longer tied to your cc.

    The terms in the T/C about not getting HH certificates if your card has been cancelled refers to the bonus certs from the annual renewal. They want to keep you from getting the annual cc renewal cert, then asking for your annual fee back. They wait several months after you renew your card to issue that cert to keep you from doing that.

    This has nothing to do with the sign up bonus certs. If you meet the minimum spend requirements, and keep the card until they are issued and placed in your hotel membership account, those are yours to use within their period of validity, whether you keep the cc after that or not.

    Just keep an eye on the expiration dates. Marriott cc certs are only good for 6 months, Hilton and Hyatt for 12 months, after issue date. It’s not enough to make the reservation within that time frame, you must actually use your free stay before expiration date.

  17. I have the southwest cards. If the reader cancels his Chase united card, and he is able to keep his points. Will I be to keep the points on my southwest account after I close my southwest cards?

    • @TMG – If you convert a card, you usually don’t get the sign-up bonus on the new card.

      @Jason – That’s true for credits on the Air Tran card as well. Just make sure that the credits don’t expire because of inactivity in your account!

      @BB – The Blue card (not Blue Sky) will let you keep the points active, but you won’t be able to transfer them to airlines or hotels until you get one of the “premium” Membership Rewards cards

      @Brian S – The points are yours to keep if the Freedom card is still open.

      @Charles – You get to keep the Southwest points already in your account.

      @Robert Hanson – Thanks for helping out!

  18. US Air Div Miles Card from Barclay’s specifically says the US Air miles tied to the card can only be used while the card is open and active. Even tho miles have transferred from the card to the US Air account, if you cancel the card with unused miles, the miles are supposed to disappear–unlike your description of the United card.

  19. I just called the Chase business services on the back of the Southwest Plus Business card to cancel the card since I’ve hit year two already and I want to get my $69 back and get rid of the card. The rep was trying to tell me I may lose my points if I cancel it. But he said he was unsure and to ask Southwest about it. I think he didn’t know what he was talking about. Can you just confirm that you will not lose the 50K bonus + points accrued for the year for canceling the card? Thanks.

  20. I tried searching your site for my question but couldn’t find the answer… apologies if you have addressed it! I booked a flight using my united explorer card and the confirmation states I do not have to pay for baggage. The year is up on the card before I take this flight so I am most likely going to cancel it. If I do, do I lose the free baggage even though I already paid with the card?

  21. If I transfer Ultimate Rewards points to United Miles prior to canceling my Ink Plus, how long will it be before the United Miles expire? Is there a way to keep them from expiring, such as purchasing another flight or taking a survey?

    Thanks!

  22. I have recently started buying gift cards and then transferring to my non-Chase bank account. I’m worried that Chase may close my account for “manufacturing points.” [I’m trying the maximize office supply points, and breaking up the $50K in purchases into twice weekly purchases in slightly varying amounts, and spreading out equally over an entire year) If they do that, what happens to my points? Can I transfer them, or do I lose them. Do you recommend transferring balances out every so often to airline rewards just to protect them?

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  25. Hello! Old post here, but relevant to my question. Hopefully you still get pinged when this is posted and can give me advice.

    I was testing an old method of getting multiple cards in one day with BoA (Alaska Airlines), found out it wasn’t supposed to work anymore (multiple browsers) so I decided to just do one application, closed out of the other two applications without completing (or maybe just without verifying), and completed the last app. Oddly enough, I get an email a couple days later saying I’ve been approve for all 3 new cards.

    My question is, can I cancel two of them so I don’t have to pay the $75 annual fee even if the fee is already posted in my account…and still keep the miles and companion codes that are posted in my AA account? From what I understand, once they’re posted to your account they don’t typically take them back out. Can I claim that I only wanted the one new card (which is true), not have to pay the $150 in annual fees, and still end up with all the bonus miles? Or should I just take what I’ve been given, pay the $225 in annual fees for all three cards, use all three companion fares, and not have to worry about losing my bonus sign up miles?

    Sorry if that’s a bit confusing. Thanks!