Many of us participate in multiple loyalty programs, with miles and points scattered all over the place. Points and miles are like currencies with value (largely) controlled by the hotel or airline, and many of them expire after a period of inactivity.
Diversifying your points and miles portfolio is great, since there are strengths and weaknesses to each program. However, it can sometimes be hard to keep track, since different programs can have very different expiration policies. For that reason, I figure I’d do a quick roundup of the expiration policies of major programs.
Two Types of Expiration Policies
You will notice two different columns in the tables below. Many programs have “rolling” expiration policies, so as long as there’s some account activity within a set duration, the expiration date can be extended. For example, let’s say you earned 1,000 Hyatt points in December 2014. If you then let your Hyatt account stay dormant, those points will expire in December 2016. However, if you stay at Hyatt and earn points in November 2016, your expiration date for all the points in your account will get extended by another 24 months, to November 2018.
What qualify as an “account activity” can vary between programs, though. Some programs, like Qantas, do not count transfers between family members as an eligible account activity. Others, like Southwest, do not count redemptions as an account activity. There are also programs that with policies that supercede their expiration policies. For example, IHG points do not expire for elite members; the 12-month clock doesn’t start until you lose your status. These tables isn’t exhaustive, but if an expiration date for some of your points is coming up, make sure you check what counts and what doesn’t!
Some programs have a “hard expiration” date for miles, regardless of whether you have any account activity. For example, Singapore Airlines miles expire 3 years after they’re earned. If you earned 1,000 miles in December 2014, those miles will expire in December 2017. Even if you fly them again and earn 1,000 more miles December 2016, your “old” miles will still expire in 2017.
Expiration Policies of Major Hotel Programs
|Months Without Activity||“Hard” Expiration|
|Best Western||Do Not Expire||–|
|Choice Privileges||18 Months||–|
|Club Carlson||24 Months||–|
|Hilton HHonors||12 Months||–|
|Hyatt Gold Passport||24 Months||–|
|IHG Rewards Club||12 Months||–|
|La Quinta Returns||18 Months||–|
|Le Club AccorHotels||12 Months||–|
|Marriott Rewards||24 Months||–|
|Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)||12 Months||–|
|Wyndham Rewards||18 Months||4 Years|
Expiration Policies of Major Airline Programs
|Months Without Activity||“Hard” Expiration|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||24 Months||–|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||12 Months||–|
|Air France/KLM FlyingBlue||20 Months||–|
|Alaska MileagePlan||24 Months||–|
|Alitalia||24 Months||Program’s Expiration|
|American AAdvantage||18 Months||–|
|Avianca LifeMiles||24 Months||–|
|ANA Mileage Club||–||3 Years|
|British Airways Executive Club||36 Months||–|
|Delta SkyMiles||Do Not Expire||–|
|Emirates Skywards||–||3 Years|
|Hawaiian Airlines||18 Months||–|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||Do Not Expire||–|
|Korean Air||–||10 Years|
|Lufthansa Miles & More||–||3 Years|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||18 Months||–|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||18 Months after Enrollment||3 Years|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||24 Months||–|
|United MileagePlus||18 Months||–|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||36 Months||–|
|Virgin America Elevate||18 Months||–|
Airline programs have more complicated expiration policies, with some subtleties. For example, Alitalia’s program itself expires, so even though you can technically keep your miles alive by having account activity every 24 months, you’re out of luck if the program itself ends.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles expire after 3 years, or 18 months after enrollment. So if you created a KrisFlyer account for the sole purpose of transferring points in from other programs, those miles will expire after 18 months, unless you earn or transfer more within that window.
Emirates Skywards technically have a 3-year expiration, but they don’t remove your miles from your account until your birthday month after the 3-years have lapsed. So if you earned miles in January 2014 but your Birthday is in December, your miles won’t expire until December 2017.
Keeping Track of Your Points and Miles
I definitely have OCPD and I keep a spreadsheet of all my (and my family members’!) points and miles across different programs. However, I also use Award Wallet, which is a great tool to keep track of all your miles and points. You get an alert when they are about to expire, and they can automatically update some of your balances. However, they don’t have access to all programs, so you will have to monitor some manually.
There are plenty of easy ways to keep your miles from expiring, which I will write about in the next few days!