10 Tips to Keep Your American Airlines Miles From Expiring

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10 Tips to Keep Your American Airlines Miles From Expiring

Meghan10 Tips to Keep Your American Airlines Miles From ExpiringMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Ever logged into your frequent flyer account only to realize that some (or all!) of your miles expired?  It’s the worst!  Even if you’ve never had this experience, believe me, you don’t want to.

American Airlines miles expire after 18 months of inactivity.  You worked hard collecting those miles, and to see them expire would be a shame.  Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of 10 different ways to prevent your American Airlines miles from expiring.

One of the easiest ways is by simply using a credit card that earns American Airlines miles, like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.

Do American Airlines Miles Expire?  Yes, but You Can Keep Your American Airlines Miles From Expiring by Dining Out at a Qualifying Restaurant!

Do American Airlines Miles Expire?

American Airlines miles expire after 18 months of inactivity.  But redeeming or earning miles will reset your expiration date.

Here’s a look at ways to keep your hard-earned miles from expiring.

1.   Take a Flight on American Airlines (or a Partner Airline)

This one might seem obvious, but we should get it out of the way first.  Taking a paid flight with American Airlines will earn you miles, and prevent you from losing the miles you currently have.

You can also take a flight with an American Airlines partner airline, like those in the oneworld program, including:

  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • and more!
You Don't Need to Fly American Airlines to Earn American Airlines Miles. Try Qatar Airlines With its New Luxurious A380 Planes for Long International Flights.
You Don’t Need to Fly American Airlines to Keep Your Miles From Expiring.  There Are LOTS of American Airlines Partner Airlines!

Just remember to credit the miles you earn to your American Airlines frequent flyer account.  And make sure the miles will be deposited into your account before your other miles are set to expire.

2.   Spend Miles for a Future Flight

Even if your schedule is too busy to book a trip before your miles are scheduled to expire, you can spend some miles to book a future award trip.  The goal is to spend the miles before your miles expire in order to reset the clock on their expiration date.

When you book an award ticket, the miles will be debited right away from your American Airlines miles account, even if the flight is a year away.  And the life of your American Airlines miles will be extended for an additional 18 months.

3.   Shop

Almost all airline frequent flyer programs offer an online shopping portal.  And if you’re doing some online shopping, you might as well be earning travel rewards while you’re at it.  It’s a great way to make the most of a purchase you planned on making anyway, and to keep your miles from expiring at the same time!

Just log-in to American Airlines AAdvantage shopping portal, find your desired online merchant, and click through their online store.  You’ll earn a set number of miles per $1 which will reset the clock on the expiration of your miles.

4.   Relax at a Hotel

You might not be planning any flights, but if you can get away to a hotel for even one night, you could earn American Airlines miles.

To earn miles at hotels, you must stay at one of American Airlines’ hotel partners and credit the rewards you earn to your American Airlines account.  Doing so will extend the expiration date of your miles.

American Airlines hotel partners include most popular hotel chains like:

  • Best Western
  • Choice Hotels
  • Hyatt
  • IHG
  • Marriott
  • Radisson
  • Wyndham
  • and more…

These brands cover the vast majority of hotel options, allowing you the opportunity to earn miles nearly anywhere.

You can also use RocketMiles to find and book hotel rooms.  They offer deals wherein you can earn you up to 10,000 American Airlines miles per night.

5.   Rent a Car or Use a Shuttle Service

Planning to rent a car?  Consider crediting your rental to your American Airlines account.  The number of miles you’ll earn depends on your elite status.  But regardless, earning those miles will reset the expiry of your entire American Airlines frequent flyer account.

You can earn American Airlines miles for rentals through most of the major rental agencies, including Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz, National, and more.  And you’ll also earn miles for taking a shuttle service like GroundLink or SuperShuttle.

6.   Convert Hotel Points to American Airlines Miles

If you have a stash of hotel points you don’t have a plan for, you might be able to convert those points to American Airlines miles.

Not only can this be a good option for topping off your account for an award flight, but it extends the expiration date of your American Airlines miles for another 18 months!

You Can Convert Hilton Points to American Airlines Miles in Order to Keep the Rewards From Both Programs From Expiring

This can be especially helpful if you have points with a hotel that are expiring soon, too.

For example, Hilton Honors is an American Airlines hotel partner, and Hilton points expire after 12 months of inactivity.  So by transferring some points from Hilton to American Airlines, you can extend the life of both your American Airlines miles AND your Hilton points.

You can convert hotel points to American Airlines miles from programs including Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Choice, or Wyndham, and more.  The minimum number of points you can convert and the number of miles you’ll earn varies by hotel chain.  So always do the math to make sure the deal makes sense for you.

7.   Grab Some Grub

One of the easiest ways to earn more American Airlines miles is to enroll in the American Airlines dining program and dine at a participating restaurant.  There are over 10,000 dining partners, so you can probably find a restaurant near you.

Don’t overlook this tip because you think it requires a fancy meal.  Many of these dining partners have meals for under $10, meaning you could grab a quick (cheap!) meal and easily prevent your American Airlines miles from expiring.

8.   Take a Cruise

Did you know you can earn American Airlines miles for taking a cruise?  Just search for a qualifying cruise through the American Airlines cruise portal.  Cruise bookings normally earn 1 mile per $1 spent (up to 10,000 American Airlines miles), but they often run promotions where you can earn up to 6X miles per $1 spent.

This is a great way to keep those miles active in your account while also planning an incredible adventure.

Book a Cruise Through the American Airlines Cruise Portal to Earn Miles and Get Special Offers

Not only does this keep your miles from expiring, but it could be a great way to get additional perks for booking a cruise.  Special offers available through the portal include no gratuities, free onboard ship credit, and bonus miles with certain cruise lines.  These offers rotate, so be sure to check back often!

9.   Donate to Charity

American Airlines has a partnership with Stand Up to Cancer through which you can earn bonus American Airlines miles for donating.  Through this program, you’ll earn 10X American Airlines miles per $1 on donations of $25+.  This is a wonderful way to not only do good but extend the expiration date of your points balance.

10.   Earn Miles From Any Purchase

Using an American Airlines credit card is an excellent way to earn miles for everyday purchases.  Because with the right card, any purchase you make would extend the life of your miles.  Plus, you can often earn bonus miles for purchases in special bonus categories!

To make this an even sweeter proposition, the American Airlines credit cards come with large sign-up bonuses, so you can stockpile quickly for an upcoming vacation.  The current offers are:

This is probably the best way to earn American Airlines miles on a consistent basis.  Plus, some of these cards come with other great perks like a free first checked bag for you and up to 4 travel companions on the same reservation (domestic flights only).  And preferred boarding for you and up to 4 travel companions on the same reservation.

Bottom Line

While American Airlines miles expire after 18 months of inactivity, there is no reason to stress about it because there are a number of ways to prevent this from happening.

All you have to do is earn or redeem miles to reset the clock.  Qualifying activities include taking a paid flight on American Airlines (or a partner airline), converting hotel points to American Airlines miles, booking a hotel with a qualifying hotel partner, and more.

Of course, the easiest way to earn miles and keep them from expiring is to use an American Airlines credit card.  Our favorite American Airlines cards are:

Have you used any of these methods to prevent your American Airlines miles from expiring?  If so, tell us about it in the comments below!

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CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

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  • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card*
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations*
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees*

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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simple way to not let your miles expire join the Miles for Opinions on American. do the opinion surveys they send you and you earn miles and it keeps your present mileage active a few miles here and there.

Sign up for surveys at http://www.milesforopinions and take a survey once in a while. Each completed survey resets the clock.