Airline Mileage Expiration Policies & Extending The Life of Your Miles

airline miles expiration

Mileage Expiration Policies & Keeping Miles from Expiring

One of the most common hassles of this hobby is keeping points/miles from expiring. While services like Award Wallet can help you keep track of expiration dates, each program has its own rules and methods for extending the life of your miles. In this section we’ll take a look at the expiration policy for each of the major airlines in the U.S. along with some ways to keep your miles alive.

Airline

Mileage Expiration Policy

Alaska AirlinesMiles expire after 24 months of no earning or spending activity.
American AirlinesMiles expire after 18 months of no earning or spending activity.
British AirwaysPoints expire after 36 months of no earning or spending activity.
DeltaMiles do not expire.
Frontier AirlinesMiles expire after 6 months of no earning activity.
JetBlueMiles do not expire.
Southwest AirlinesPoints expire after 24 months of no earning or spending activity.
UnitedMiles expire after 18 months of no earning or spending activity.

1.   Alaska Airlines MileagePlan

airline miles expiration

Mileage Expiration Policy

“As long as you earn or spend at least one mile every 24 months you’ll keep all the miles that you earn.

Keep Miles Active By Earning:

  • Fly on a mileage earning Alaska Airlines flight or fly with one of their airline partners such as Delta or American on a mileage earning fare.
  • Spend money and earn miles with the co-branded Alaska Airlines credit card.
  • Enroll in MileagePlan Dining and dine at a participating restaurant with your linked card.
  • Shop through the MileagePlan shopping portal.
  • Become a customer of one of their partners and provide your MileagePlan number. You can find their car rental, hotel and other partners here.
  • Transfer hotel points to Alaska Airlines. For more information on which programs transfer to Alaska, see: Transfer Partner Master List.
  • Purchase or gift miles.

Keep Miles Active By Redeeming:

2.   American Airlines AAdvantage

airline miles expiration

Mileage Expiration Policy

“AAdvantage members must have mileage earning or redeeming activity once every 18 months in order to retain their miles.

Keep Miles Active By Earning:

Keep Miles Active By Redeeming:

  • Use your miles to book a flight on American Airlines or one of their partners. (Executive Platinum members can book and cancel for free.)
  • Redeem some of your miles for a magazine subscription.
  • Donate miles to charity.

3.   British Airways Avios

airline miles expiration

Points Expiration Policy

“Your Avios stay with you as long as you collect, spend, purchase or share at least one Avios every 36 months

Keep Points Active By Earning:

  • Fly on a mileage earning British Airways flight or fly with one of their airline partners such as American Airlines.
  • Spend money and earn miles with the co-branded British Airways credit card.
  • Become a customer of one of their partners and provide your Avios number. You can find their car rental, hotel and other partners here.
  • Transfer hotel or bank points to British Airways. For more information on which programs transfer to Avios, see: Transfer Partner Master List.
  • Purchase or share Avios.

Keep Points Active By Redeeming:

  • Use your miles to book a flight on British Airways or one of their partners. (Gold Elite members can book and cancel for free.)
  • Redeem Avios for hotels, car rentals and experiences.

4.   Delta SkyMiles

airline miles expiration

Mileage Expiration Policy

Delta miles do not expire.

5.   Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns

airline miles expiration

Mileage Expiration Policy

“Mileage in a member’s account does not expire as long as the Member generates accrual activity every six months

Keep Miles Active By Earning:

  • Fly on a mileage earning Frontier Airlines flight.
  • Spend money and earn miles with the co-branded Frontier Airlines credit card.
  • Become a customer of one of their partners and provide your EarlyReturns number. You can find their car rental, hotel and other partners here.
  • Transfer hotel or bank points to British Airways. For more information on which programs transfer to Avios, see: Transfer Partner Master List.
  • Purchase or share miles.

6.   Southwest Rapid Rewards

airline miles expiration

Points Expiration Policy

“Points will remain active and valid as long as you have at least one qualifying earning activity every 24 months.”

Keep Points Active By Earning:

  • Fly on a points earning Southwest Airlines flight.
  • Spend money and earn points with one of the co-branded Southwest Airlines credit cards.
  • Enroll in Rapid Rewards Dining and dine at a participating restaurant with your linked card.
  • Shop through the Rapid Rewards shopping portal.
  • Become a customer of one of their partners and provide your Rapid Rewards number. You can find their car rental, hotel and other partners here.
  • Transfer hotel or bank points to Southwest Airlines. For more information on which programs transfer to American, see: Transfer Partner Master List.
  • Purchase or gift points.
  • Book travel through Southwest Vacations.

Keep Points Active By Redeeming:

  • Use your miles to book a flight on Southwest. (Southwest doesn’t charge award cancellation fees.)
  • Redeem for “More Rewards” including hotels, car rentals, gift cards and more.

7.   United MileagePlus

airline miles expiration

Mileage Expiration Policy

“Mileage accrued shall only be subject to expiration on the last day of the eighteen (18) months after the last account activity in the member’s account

Keep Miles Active By Earning:

  • Fly on a mileage earning United Airlines flight or fly with one of their airline partners such as Air Canada or Lufthansa.
  • Spend money and earn miles with one of the co-branded United Airlines credit cards.
  • Enroll in MileagePlus Dining and dine at a participating restaurant with your linked card.
  • Shop through the MileagePlus shopping portal.
  • Become a customer of one of their partners and provide your MileagePlus number. You can find their car rental, hotel and other partners here.
  • Transfer hotel or bank points to United Airlines. For more information on which programs transfer to United, see: Transfer Partner Master List.
  • Purchase or gift miles.
  • Book travel through United Vacations.

Keep Miles Active By Redeeming:

  • Use your miles to book a flight on United Airlines or one of their partners. (Global Services, 1K & Platinum elites can book and cancel for free.)
  • Redeem some of your miles for a magazine subscription.
  • Donate miles to charity.

 8.   JetBlue TrueBlue

airline miles expiration

Mileage Expiration Policy

JetBlue miles do not expire.

Go to: Table of Contents - Credit Cards - Flexible Points Programs - Airline Programs - Hotel Programs - Earning & Managing Points - Miscellaneous

About Shawn Coomer - Senior Editor

Shawn Coomer has spent nearly a decade circling the globe for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

More articles by Shawn Coomer - Senior Editor »

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[…] Airline Mileage Expiration Policies & Extending The Life of Your Miles […]

John
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John

Hi- Been enjoying your posts, but it’s bit difficult to keep up. Have a quick question here: I have a MileagePlus Explorer and have 65k points on it. Anyway, thinking of canceling the card so I don’t have to keep paying the annual fee. What’s the best way to keep the points? I do have an Ink Plus. Is it possible to just link the MileagePlus Dining to my InkPlus (or any credit card?) and eat at one of the listed restaurants once every 18 months? Or, can I have the points transferred to Ultimate Rewards?