Does This Trick Reset the Expiration Date for Your Hotel Points?

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Does This Trick Reset the Expiration Date for Your Hotel Points?

Million Mile SecretsDoes This Trick Reset the Expiration Date for Your Hotel Points?Million Mile Secrets Team

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Kris, commented:

My hotel points expire in April 2017.  If I use them to book an award stay for February 2018, can I cancel the stay in January 2018 and get the points back?

Points in most hotel loyalty programs expire after 12 to 24 months of no earning or redemption activity.  Although there are a few exceptions.

But reader Kris suggested a way to keep hotel points from expiring that works with some hotel chains.  But I’d caution folks to read the cancellation policy before using this trick.  Because you don’t want to risk losing your points!

Hotel Points Expiration
The Best Way to Keep Points From Expiring Is by Booking Award Stays at Hotels Like the Hyatt Centric Chicago!

I’ll explain which chains work to use the book and cancel trick.  And remind y’all some easy ways you can generate activity in your hotel loyalty account to keep points alive!

Keep Hotel Points From Expiring

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

Certain hotel chains consider booking a future award stay as redemption activity.  This means it can reset your points expiration clock.  So even if you cancel the stay and get the points back, you’ll still have a new expiration date for your points.

Thanks to data points from Million Mile Secrets readers and folks on FlyerTalk, we know the book and cancel trick works to reset your points expiration date at these hotel chains:

But it will NOT work at:

Note:   With Wyndham, points expire after 4 years and you can’t do anything to extend them.  And they expire sooner (in 18 months) if you don’t earn or spend points.

Hotel Points Expiration
Be Careful With the Book and Cancel Trick at Certain Chains Because This Might NOT Reset Your Points Expiration Date.  This Means Your Points Can Disappear!

For chains where this trick does work, I would only use it as a last resort.  Because most hotel programs give you several ways to keep points alive, including:

Of course you can avoid having your points expire by redeeming them for award stays at fantastic hotels throughout the world.  Depending on which hotel points you collect, here are some ideas for inspiration:

But if you do plan to use the book and cancel trick, I’d recommend checking for strict cancellation policies.  For example, sometimes award bookings are non-refundable if you’re booking a stay during peak travel times.

Hotel Points Expiration
Be Careful When Using Points for an Award Stay You Might Have to Cancel.  Because You Could End Up Paying a Cancellation Fee!

Team member Keith once booked an award stay at the Sheraton Omaha.  And the cancellation policy required ~30 days notice to cancel or a $329 cancellation fee would be required!

Bottom Line

It’s possible to book and cancel an award stay to extend the expiration date of your hotel points at these chains:

But I’d only recommend using this trick as a last resort.  Because there are several ways to extend the life of your hotel points at most chains, including buying or transferring hotel points or earning points with a hotel credit card.

The best way to avoid losing your points by a certain expiration date is by redeeming them for award stays!

Thanks for the question, Kris!

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Do IHG and Hyatt award nights for credit cards expire after one year or can they accumulate?

The anniversary nights expire after 12 months from the date they’re issued.

The lesson from Keith’s reservation has more to do with peak hotel bookings and associated cancellation policies. The reservation was during the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting (“Woodstock for Capitalists”), where hotels are fully booked even in nearby cities, months in advance. Many hotels have special policies in place for major events for award and paid rates. Good tip to pay close attention.

You’re correct, Colleen! You can usually cancel at that same hotel within 24 hours of arrival. But there’s a special cancellation policy around the dates of the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting. So it’s good to check the policy at any hotel in case you’re visiting a city that’s having a similar event.

How about redeeming e-rewards and/or e-miles survey points? Of course not all hotels are on their redemption list, but IHG, Hilton and Choice Hotels are.

Earning e-rewards and e-miles also counts as activity in your account. Thanks for suggesting!

Can’t you transfer your Marriott points to SPG points at 3:1 (obviously once you’ve linked your acoounts) and then add to your SPG account by linking that to your Uber account and taking one short trip somewhere using Uber? Wouldn’t this then keep those Marriott points from expiring because you’d be adding to them? Obviously this may fall away next year once the programs get merged.

That’s a good idea! Yes, we’ll have to wait and see what changes come to the program next year.