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Ever logged in to 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 7 different ways to prevent your American Airlines miles from expiring!
One of the easiest ways is to earn miles by using the right credit card. Our favorite credit cards for earning American Airlines miles include:
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
7 Ways to Keep American Airlines Miles From Expiring
American Airlines miles expire after 18 months of inactivity. But redeeming or earning miles will reset your expiration date.
Let’s take a look at ways to keep your miles from expiring!
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 Airways
- 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.
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!
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. And extend the expiration date of your miles another 18 months.
To earn miles for your stay you must stay at one of American Airlines’ hotel partners. And credit the rewards you earn to your American Airlines account!
American Airlines hotel partners include most popular hotel chains like:
- Best Western
- Choice Hotels
- and many 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. Which earn you up to 10,000 American Airlines miles per night!
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, Starwood, 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.
Grab Some Grub
Everyone has time to eat. And 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.
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 to earn 1 mile per $1 spent (up to 10,000 American Airlines miles).
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!
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!
For a limited time, you can earn 70,000 American Airlines miles with the CitiBusiness American Airlines Platinum card after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 4 months of account opening. You can read our full review here.
Or, you could consider the 60,000 American Airlines miles offer after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of opening the Citi American Airlines Platinum card. Here’s our comprehensive review of the card.
This is probably the best way to earn American Airlines miles on a consistent basis. Plus, 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:
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® | Our Review of CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® | Our Review of Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® | Our Review of Citi / AAdvantage Executive
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!