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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?
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
- Japan Airlines
- LATAM Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- and more!
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.
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
- 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!
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.
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:
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® – 60,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® – 70,000 American Airlines miles after making $4,000 in purchases in first 4 months
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card – 10,000 American Airlines miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® – 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
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.
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:
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
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!
Here are our other articles to learn more about American Airlines miles:
- American Airlines Miles Review
- American Airlines Miles Value
- American Airlines Status
- Best Use of AA Miles
- How to Earn AA Miles
- How to Setup a American Airlines Account
- How to Use American Airlines Miles
- AA Award Chart
- Do American Airlines Miles Expire?
- American Airlines Economy Web specials