Will I Lose my United Miles if I Cancel my United Credit Card?

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Will I Lose my United Miles if I Cancel my  United Credit Card?

Million Mile SecretsWill I Lose my United Miles if I Cancel my  United Credit Card?Million Mile Secrets Team

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Million Mile Secrets reader Jeff comments:

I’ve had the Chase United Visa for about eight months and have accumulated about 80,000 miles included the signup bonus miles. Will I lose them if I cancel the card

Will I Lose My Miles If I Cancel My Credit Card?
Will Jeff Lose his United Miles if he Cancels his United Credit Card?

Jeff wants to know if he will get to keep his 80,000 United miles if he cancels his Chase United card.

PS:  I haven’t included my affiliate link to the Chase United card for up to 35,000 miles.  That’s because this post will show you if you’ve been targeted for the better offer for up to 55,000 United miles!

Will Jeff Lose Miles If He Cancels His Credit Card?

If Jeff cancels his card, he will NOT lose airline miles or hotel points that are already in his airline or hotel account.

However, Jeff could lose ALL points in his account, if he cancels a bank rewards card like American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Citi Thank You points.

Airline Miles & Hotel Points

If Jeff cancels an airline or hotel credit card, he won’t lose the miles or points already in his airline or hotel loyalty program account.

So if Jeff cancels his Chase United card, he will NOT lose his 80,000 United miles that are in his United account.

But Jeff will lose miles that haven’t posted to his United account as yet because his credit card statement hasn’t yet closed.

For example, let’s say that Jeff cancels his Chase United card on December 22, 2014 and his credit card billing cycle is from November 27, 2014 to December 27, 2014.

Jeff will lose all the miles he earned from November 27, 2014 to December 22, 2014 because those miles haven’t posted to his account.

But the 80,000 miles in his account are safe because they are already in his account.

However, they are still subject to United’s mileage expiration policy which says that you should have mile earning or redemption activity in your account every 18 months.

So Jeff should ensure that he has activity in his United account every 18 months.  But Jeff can easily keep his miles from expiring!

United Credit Card Terms & Conditions

The terms of the United credit card say:

Your miles will not expire as long as there is activity on your credit card account, including paying your annual membership fee, and the credit card account is open and not in default. Upon cancellation of your credit card account your miles will expire according to the MileagePlus program rules.

Often times, readers are told by customer service agents that canceling their United card means that they lose ALL their United miles.  This is NOT true!

You will only lose the miles which haven’t yet posted to your United account when you close the credit card.

Bank Reward Program Points

If Jeff cancels a card that earns American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, or Citi Thank You points, he could LOSE all the points in his account.

Chase Ultimate Rewards
You Lose all Your Ultimate Rewards Points if you Don’t Transfer Them Before Closing an Ultimate Rewards Card!

Each bank reward point program has slightly different rules, so he should review my post on how to prevent losing your points when you close a card. 

Bottom Line

Jeff won’t lose his existing United miles if he closes his United credit card.  But he will lose points that have not posted to his account.

He should also make sure that he has activity in his United account every 18 months to prevent his United miles from expiring.

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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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Hello! Old post here, but relevant to my question. Hopefully you still get pinged when this is posted and can give me advice.

I was testing an old method of getting multiple cards in one day with BoA (Alaska Airlines), found out it wasn’t supposed to work anymore (multiple browsers) so I decided to just do one application, closed out of the other two applications without completing (or maybe just without verifying), and completed the last app. Oddly enough, I get an email a couple days later saying I’ve been approve for all 3 new cards.

My question is, can I cancel two of them so I don’t have to pay the $75 annual fee even if the fee is already posted in my account…and still keep the miles and companion codes that are posted in my AA account? From what I understand, once they’re posted to your account they don’t typically take them back out. Can I claim that I only wanted the one new card (which is true), not have to pay the $150 in annual fees, and still end up with all the bonus miles? Or should I just take what I’ve been given, pay the $225 in annual fees for all three cards, use all three companion fares, and not have to worry about losing my bonus sign up miles?

Sorry if that’s a bit confusing. Thanks!

I have recently started buying gift cards and then transferring to my non-Chase bank account. I’m worried that Chase may close my account for “manufacturing points.” [I’m trying the maximize office supply points, and breaking up the $50K in purchases into twice weekly purchases in slightly varying amounts, and spreading out equally over an entire year) If they do that, what happens to my points? Can I transfer them, or do I lose them. Do you recommend transferring balances out every so often to airline rewards just to protect them?

Million Mile Secrets

@Matthew – United miles expire after 18 months of no activity.

If I transfer Ultimate Rewards points to United Miles prior to canceling my Ink Plus, how long will it be before the United Miles expire? Is there a way to keep them from expiring, such as purchasing another flight or taking a survey?


I tried searching your site for my question but couldn’t find the answer… apologies if you have addressed it! I booked a flight using my united explorer card and the confirmation states I do not have to pay for baggage. The year is up on the card before I take this flight so I am most likely going to cancel it. If I do, do I lose the free baggage even though I already paid with the card?

Million Mile Secrets

@Al – I’m not entirely sure, because the terms say that you have to keep the card open. But I haven’t checked to see what happens if you cancel and try to check in a bag.

I just called the Chase business services on the back of the Southwest Plus Business card to cancel the card since I’ve hit year two already and I want to get my $69 back and get rid of the card. The rep was trying to tell me I may lose my points if I cancel it. But he said he was unsure and to ask Southwest about it. I think he didn’t know what he was talking about. Can you just confirm that you will not lose the 50K bonus + points accrued for the year for canceling the card? Thanks.

Million Mile Secrets

@Jim Zerg – You shouldn’t lose the points if they are already in your Southwest account.

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