After spending so much time and effort accumulating reward miles and points, there’s no greater shame than letting them expire. It’s like throwing money down the drain. A number of airlines do not have an expiry date for their loyalty programs, but these are a minority. Most airlines require you to register some activity within a given period to stop your points from expiring.
Let’s look at the different award programs (I’ve included credit cards) and their policies on expiry.
Credit Cards and Hotels
American Express Membership Rewards points don’t expire, provided you have an active AMEX Membership Rewards card in good standing. This gives you the advantage of saving your points for higher value rewards.
Get 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you sign-up for the American Express Gold Rewards Gold (no annual fee first year). That’s enough points for a round-trip flight to almost anywhere in North America, or 2 round-trip short haul flights!
According to the Starwood Website: except for Vistana Owners, SPG members will “forfeit without notice” their Starpoints when their account become inactive. Member accounts are considered inactive if in the past 12 months:
- They haven’t had an eligible stay at an SPG Participating Hotel.
- They haven’t earned, redeemed, purchased, or transferred any Starpoints.
If a member account has been cancelled it automatically becomes inactive.
Get 20,000 Welcome Bonus Starpoints when you sign-up for the American Express Starwood SPG Card. That’s enough points for up to 5 Free Nights Hotel at a Category 2 property.
To retain points, Marriot requires its members to keep their account active by doing one of the following at least once every 2 years:
- Pay for or redeem points for a stay at any of Marriot’s participating hotels worldwide.
- Redeem points for travel, shopping and so on.
- Use a Marriott Rewards Credit Card to pay for purchases.
- Earn points with one of Marriot’s program partners like Hertz, Diners Club and Avios.
- Purchase reward points.
- Hold a qualifying meeting or event.
However, activities like gifting or receiving points, linking Marriot accounts with other programs, or receiving Status Matching across program accounts are not eligible for maintaining active status in the Marriott Rewards program:
RBC Reward points expire at the end of 3 years on a first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis, with the rule applying for both base and bonus points. Points that expire during the year are removed from a member’s account on the last day of the month in which the points expire – if, for example, points were earned on November 5, 2015, they will expire on November 30, 2018.
Get 15,000 Welcome RBC Rewards points when you sign-up for the RBC Visa Infinite Avion Card.
MBNA points do not expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
Hilton Honors Points do not expire as long as Members remain active in the program. To keep an account active, Members can stay at one of Hilton’s hotels, or earn or redeem Hilton Honors Points within 12 months.
Aeroplan reward points expire if your account has been inactive in the previous 12 consecutive months. There are various ways of staying active; all you need to do is accumulate, redeem, donate, or transfer miles. The best way to find out when your miles are set to expire is to visit the overview section of Your Account page at aeroplan.com and check under Account Expiry Status.
Is anyone exempted from the 12-month mileage expiry policy?
- Minors with Aeroplan Accounts are exempt from the 12-month rule but once they reach 18 years of age, they will have to keep their account.
- If you’re a cardholder of one of the following credit cards, your points will not expire due to inactivity, as long as they are in good standing:
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite,
- TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum,
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
- TD Aeroplan Visa Business primary.
- If you reach Air Canada Altitude status you’re also exempt from the 12-month mileage expiry policy.
How do you find out the expiry date of your miles?
- Aeroplan sends a notification to inactive members at least 10-12 weeks before the expiry date.
- You can also log into your Aeroplan account and check in the “Account Expiry Status” section.
- You can also check your Aeroplan mobile app.
Can someone reinstate their expired miles?
Aeroplan allows you to reinstate all or a portion of your expired miles to your Aeroplan Account for a fee.
As of December 1, 2016, the AIR MILES Reward Program has cancelled the Expiry Policy. As a result, there is no longer a deadline for Collectors to use Miles.
Your Avios remain yours as long as you accumulate, redeem, buy or share at least one Avios every 36 months. If you don’t take action within that period, your Avios will expire and be removed.
- Avios are accumulated by flying with BA or a partner airline, booking a hotel, renting a car or through purchases charged to your British Airways credit card.
- You can redeem points by booking a reward flight, upgrading, booking hotels and car rentals.
- You can purchase 1,000 to 35,000 Avios per calendar year for yourself or a friend.
- You can transfer up to 27,000 Avios to another Club member each calendar year.
Delta’s Mileage Expiration policy is that SkyMiles do not expire. However, you can lose your Skymiles if your account is deactivated or closed. As far as rewards go, they have one of the best policies for travellers.
Alitalia MilleMiglia doesn’t have expiring miles, instead each Alitalia accrual program expires separately. The 2013-2015 MilleMiglia program was set to expire in December 2015, but has been extended on two occasions, and is now set to extend to December 31, 2017.
Their regulations state that “if no miles earned with Alitalia or one of the program’s commercial or airline partners are registered on the Member’s account over a period of 24 months, any miles present will be deleted.”
American Airlines AAdvantage
American Airlines require you to earn or redeem miles on American Airlines or with an AAdvantage partner at least once every 18 months. They automatically extend your mileage expiration date 18 months from the date of your most recent activity.
Provided you keep your account active, by earning or spending at least one mile every 24 months, you’ll retain all the miles that you earn.
Flying Blue – Air France & KLM
Flying Blue Award Miles are valid for life and never expire, provided you take one flight every 20 months on Air France, KLM, or any of their SkyTeam partners.
Summary of Airlines’ Reward Programs
|Air Miles||No expiration|
|Air Canada (Aeroplan)||12 months|
|Alaska Airlines||24 months|
|Alitalia||24 months within current 5 year program/6 months after previous program ends|
|American Airlines||18 months|
|British Airways||36 months|
|Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)||36 months|
|Delta (Sky Miles)||No expiration|
|Flying Blue: Air France/KLM||20 months|
|Hawaiian Airlines||18 months|
|Lufthansa (Miles & More)||36 months|
|Singapore Airlines||36 months|
|United Airlines||18 months|
|US Airways||18 months|
|Virgin America||18 months|
|Virgin Atlantic||36 months|
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