How to Ensure your Frequent Flyer Miles Do Not Expire

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With the announcement from Delta that they have eliminated the expiration of their frequent flyer miles, I have decided to post the expiration rules of the other major airline carriers, along with giving you some tips on keeping your miles from expiring without even flying. I have listed them in order from best to worst expiration policy.

  • Continental Airlines: No expiration date
  • Delta Airlines: No expiration date
  • American Airlines: AAdvantage members must have mileage earning or redemption activity once every eighteen (18) months in order to remain active and retain their miles
  • US Airways: Miles are subject to forfeiture if no miles have been earned or redeemed within a consecutive 18-month period
  • Southwest: Credits Earned Pre-March 1: Each credit expires 24 months from its activity (the date it was earned, not the date it was posted); Points Earned On or After March 1: The Southwest Rapid Rewards program is changed significantly on March 1st and credits will no longer be earned, but instead points. Points do not expire provided there is earning activity in your account within the preceding 24 months. Activity does not include redemption to keep points from expiring.
  • JetBlue: Points expire after 12 months if no points are earned through flying JetBlue or through the use of the JetBlue Card from American Express
  • AirTran Airways: A+ credits expire 12 months after the date that they are posted

Many of the carriers allow miles to be posted through partner activity. This is a great way to ensure your miles stay active and do not expire. For example, prior to Delta changing their policy, I found a promotion where I received 600 miles with a car service company in NYC (Carmel Car & Limo). My mom’s Delta miles were expiring, so using this car service company allowed her miles to stay active for another 18 months. There are many ways to receive partner activity, just need to do a little research!

Although the suggestions below can help earn miles on everyday usage, they are specifically targeted towards retaining activity with American and US Airways (Delta and Continental do not expire, and JetBlue and AirTran do not allow partner activity to extend expiration; once Southwest’s new program is rolled out will update with their partnerships).

  • Shopping through their online mall – This allows you to make every day online purchases while receiving miles (this can be done through most of the major airline and hotel chains). The site will simply take you to the partner website where you make your online purchase as normal.
  • Earning miles through Dining Programs – Register your credit cards and you will earn miles at many participating restaurants. I have all my credit cards registered and many times see a surprise mileage posted to my American Airlines account.
  • Donate miles to an eligible charity
  • Earn miles with car rental
  • Earn miles with Hilton Honors double dip program which allows you to earn Hilton points and miles (need to change your earning preferences)
  • Using an affiliated credit card to earn miles
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[…] start to see a trend of other frequent flyer program eliminating their expiration rule. Although using partners to receive account activity is not difficult, it is still something that needs to be monitored. Now […]


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