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How to stop your loyalty points expiring – Part 2

Most miles and points will eventually expire after a certain period of account inactivity. The problem is that these programs all have differing expiry rules and methods of extending the validity of your points.

Last week, I introduced a 2-part series detailing the different expiry rules of major loyalty programs. Both articles include various ways to reset the expiry date on those points. The first section of this series looked at hotel loyalty programs.

In this week’s edition, the focus turns to airline loyalty programs.


When do your points expire?

As you will see from the list below, airline programs, in general, are more relaxed than hotel programs in terms of points expiry.


How to know when your points are expiring

OK so you now have a list of expiry dates, but who wants to manually keep on top of all those dates every time you have some activity that resets your points expiry.

I have written before about the benefits of using AwardWallet to keep track of your loyalty accounts.

I use Award Wallet daily and it takes no more than a couple of minutes to refresh the balances in the 29 active accounts I currently keep tabs on. It would take far too much time to log-in to each of these accounts each day.

Once logged in, there is a tab within each program that shows you the date your points are due to expire. AwardWallet Plus will also email or send push notifications to warn of expiring points. However, the free version only displays the expiry dates of 3 balances and so I find the Plus version, which offers unlimited expiration dates, excellent value.

It has saved me on at least two occasions in the last 18 months where I had a small amount of points due to expire, in a program that I rarely used.

You can register for a free AwardWallet account here

Tricks of the Trade readers can also get a free 6 months of AwardWallet Plus by using the code “xexectricksofthetrade”  when signing up for a new account.


How to stop your points expiring

Say you get to a point where you receive a notification from the likes of AwardWallet that some of your points are set to expire. How can you go about resetting the clock?

Of course, the easiest way to reset the expiry of your frequent flyer points is to take a flight with the particular airline or any of its alliance partners. The options listed below assume you cannot/would prefer not to do that. 

Here are some suggestions for each program. I say “some” because any list won’t be exhaustive without it being pages long. I’ve omitted some of the options that are really poor value.

Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments section below.

American Airlines (AAdvantage)

Aer Lingus (AerClub)

Alaska Airlines (Mileage Plan)

British Airways (Executive Club)

Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)

Qatar Airways (Qmiles)

United Airlines (MileagePlus)

Virgin Atlantic (Flying Club)


Verdict

Much like my discussion of hotel loyalty points last week, there are many different expiry dates to be aware of when it comes to airline miles. A tool like AwardWallet makes life much easier by tracking it all for you. I would recommend signing up for free and seeing whether you get any value from the service. If nothing else, it means I don’t have to remember all of the usernames and passwords for the different programs!

Many people have a constant stream of activity and significant balances in some frequent flyer accounts, but only small amounts of miles in others that are mostly neglected. If you do have some miles expiring, the tips above should give you plenty of methods to salvage them.

Have you ever had to let airline miles expire before?

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