Do American Express Points Expire?

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

Do American Express Points Expire?

Brett HolzhauerDo American Express Points Expire?Million Mile Secrets Team

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

AMEX Express points are some of the most coveted in the miles and points hobby.  You can redeem them for travel, cash them in for gift cards, or transfer them to partners like Delta and Air Canada for even more value.

As with any rewards program, it would stink if you put effort into earning points only to have them expire before you can use them.  So you may be worried:  Do American Express points expire?

The short answer is AMEX Membership Rewards points do not expire, as long as you meet certain conditions. 

However, there are instances where you could lose your hard-earned AMEX Membership Rewards points.  We’ll show you how to make sure that doesn’t happen!

Worried Your AMEX Membership Rewards Points Will Expire Before You Get to Take That Dream Vacation? We’ll Show You How to Keep Your Hard-Earned Points

American Express Points Don’t Expire, but You Could Still Lose Them

Put simply, as long as you keep at least one card that earns AMEX points open, your points will not expire.  

Here are cards that earn AMEX Membership Rewards points:

Where folks run into trouble is if they want to cancel a card, perhaps because they don’t want to pay a hefty annual fee.  If you don’t have another AMEX Membership Rewards earning card and you cancel, you’ll lose all your points for good!  (Note:  You may be eligible for a 30-day grace period to redeem your points after you cancel if you have other AMEX cards open).

For example, suppose you have The Platinum Card® from American Express, but decide it’s not worth paying the $550 annual fee (See Rates & Fees) because you’re not able to make the most of the benefits.  If you cancel and don’t have another AMEX Membership Rewards card (like the American Express® Gold Card), you’ll lose all the points you’ve accumulated!

Don’t Call to Cancel You AMEX Card Yet Until You Have a Plan for Your AMEX Membership Rewards Points

Unfortunately, you can’t work around this by transferring your points to a spouse or anyone else with an AMEX Membership Rewards points account.  But here’s what you CAN do.

Open an AMEX Membership Rewards Card With No Annual Fee First

If avoiding an annual fee altogether is your goal, a couple of AMEX Membership Rewards cards have no annual fee:

You could first open one of these cards to preserve your AMEX Membership Rewards points, then cancel the annual fee card you’re looking to get rid of.   Double check to make sure the new card is linked to the same Membership Rewards account before you cancel.

Downgrade to a Card With a Lower or No Annual Fee

It’s possible in some cases to downgrade a card with a high annual fee to an AMEX Membership Rewards card with a lower (or no) annual fee.

Downgrading an card is a little trickier because there aren’t many options due to AMEX’s rules:

Transfer Your Points to an Airline or Hotel Partner Before You Cancel

Another option is to transfer your AMEX Membership Rewards points to one of their airline and hotel partners if you don’t want to open a new card or downgrade your old one.  Consider your travel plans before you do this, and have a look at our guide to transferring points.

Once you transfer your points to an airline or hotel, you can NOT reverse the transfer.  But your points will be safe in your airline or hotel account to use for free travel even if you cancel your AMEX card.

Here are AMEX’s current airline transfer partners:

 American Express Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners 
AirlineTransfer RatioEstimated Transfer Time
Aer Lingus1:1Instant
AeroMexico1:1.624 Hours
Air Canada1:1Instant
ANA1:148 Hours
Asia Miles1:148 Hours
British Airways1:1Instant
Delta 1:1Instant
El Al1000:20Instant
Emirates 1:1Instant
Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)1:1Instant
Iberia1:1~1 to 3 days
Hawaiian Airlines1:1Instant
Singapore Airlines1:1~1 to 2 days
Virgin Atlantic1:1Instant

And here are the options for hotels (you’ll usually get a better deal transferring to airlines, though):

 American Express Membership Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners 
HotelTransfer RatioEstimated Transfer Time
Choice Hotels1:1Instant

Keep in mind, once you move your points to an airline or hotel partner, you’ll have to abide by the rules of the program you transfer your points to.  For example, if you transfer to Delta, you won’t ever have to worry about losing your points because Delta miles never expire.

Bottom Line

AMEX Membership Rewards points don’t expire, but you will lose them if you don’t keep at least one American Express Membership Rewards earning card open.

Because AMEX Membership Rewards points are so valuable, you don’t want to let them go to waste if you need to cancel your card (say to avoid paying a steep annual fee).  To preserve your points, consider first:

  • Opening another AMEX Membership Rewards points earning card with no annual fee before you cancel
  • Downgrading to an AMEX Membership Rewards points card with a lower or no annual fee
  • Transferring your AMEX Membership Rewards points to an airline or hotel partner before you cancel

Don’t forget to check out our ultimate guide to earning and using AMEX Membership Rewards points!

And check out these posts for more details on AMEX Membership Rewards points:

For the rates and fees of The Platinum Card from American Express, please click here.

For the rates and fees of The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express, please click here.

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 37,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) …because then you’ll never miss another update!

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & 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! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!


by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest