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You do not want to let your miles and points expire. At best, some loyalty programs will reinstate them, but you will likely have to pay a fee. Worst case scenario, you may not even have the option to pay to have points or miles reinstated.
There are so many easy ways to keep your points and miles in hotel and airline loyalty programs active. You do not have to fly or book a hotel to keep your points from expiring in most programs. So here is a list of the loyalty programs we use the most and how to keep your miles and points active in each. These are not necessarily the only ways to keep your points from expiring, but to my knowledge, they are the easiest/cheapest ways.
Keep your hotel points from expiring
Obviously, paid stays and/or redemptions for a stay are qualifying activities to keep a hotel account active. I’ll discuss the other activities that may or may not qualify.
Each hotel loyalty program has a different policy and timeline. I will list the policy and different ways to keep points active with each of these programs.
World of Hyatt
- Policy: World of Hyatt points will be forfeited after 24 months of inactivity.
- There is no way to reinstate points once they are removed from the account.
How to keep Hyatt points from expiring:
- If you have the Hyatt credit card from Chase, your points are active for at least as long as the credit card account is. If and when you close the card, you won’t lose your points for closing the card, but they become subject to Hyatt’s expiration policy. In another words, you will need to do one of the items listed above every 24 months to keep them active.
- If you have a Chase Sapphire Card, it is unclear if Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Hyatt will count as activity in your World of Hyatt account. So transferring 1,000 UR points to Hyatt may or may not work to keep your account active.
- But, it is definitely considered activity if you transfer Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt then use the Hyatt points to redeem a room.
- Worst case scenario, you can purchase points. I generally do not recommend purchasing points but if you have a stash of points that are about to expire, it may be worth it to buy the smallest amount. Currently, the smallest amount you can purchase is 1,000 points and the cost is $24.
Once your World of Hyatt account has activity, your expiration is extended another 24 months.
World of Hyatt credit card from Chase
World of Hyatt is my top hotel loyalty program, so naturally the co-branded credit card is going to be my top hotel credit card. The welcome bonus on the World of Hyatt credit card from Chase is up to 50,000 World of Hyatt points. Also, there is a great benefit that may make this card worth keeping year after year. This is the annual free night certificate which is good for any Hyatt property that is category 1-4. The annual fee is $95, but there are so many properties for which you can use the annual free night with rates significantly higher than $95. This is a 5/24 card, so it’s a card you will want to open before opening cards from other banks. Click here for the top cards for beginners.
Current offer: Up to 50,000 Hyatt points. 25,000 if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, then another 25,000 if you spend an additional $3,000 in the first 6 months (a total of $6,000 in the first 6 months).
This card also comes with Discoverist status, which is mid-tier at best, but Discoverist status will get you free premium internet and late checkout. in our experience, Hyatt is also generous with room upgrades, even for lower status!
The earn rate is 4 World of Hyatt points per dollar at Hyatt, 2 points per dollar at restaurants, 2 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly from airlines, 2 points per dollar on local transit, and 2 points per dollar on gym memberships.
You can find more info about Marriott’s expiration policy and answers to FAQs here.
- Policy: Points will expire after inactivity for 24 months
- Marriott makes your expiration date very clear on your account under “activity”, so that’s nice. Not all programs make it that easy to find.
- Marriott defines activity as earning or redeeming, but explicitly lists these activities as non-qualifying activity
- Gifting or transferring points, but converting points to airline miles or airline miles to points does count toward maintaining an active status
- Receiving points as a gift or transfer
- Earning through social media programs, such as #MarriottBonvoyPoints.
Marriott and SPG merged last year. Starpoints no longer exist. Any Starpoints you had prior to the merger were converted to Marriott Bonvoy points.
Ways to keep Marriott Bonvoy points from expiring:
- If you have a Chase Marriott co-branded credit card or an Amex Marriott co-branded card, make a purchase
- Transfer points to airlines. Remember, there is a minimum, though. You must transfer a minimum of 3,000 Marriott points. Also, the transfer ratio for most airline partners is 3:1, so 3,000 MR points is only 1,000 airline miles.
- Worst case scenario: you can buy 1,000 Marriott Rewards points for $12.50
It is unclear whether or not transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards is qualifying activity to keep your points from expiring.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card from Chase
Although I don’t value Marriott Bonvoy points as much as Chase Ultimate Rewards points or World of Hyatt points, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card’s welcome bonus and benefits land the card on our list of top offers. This is a 5/24 card, so it’s a card you will want to open before opening cards from other banks. Click here for the top cards for beginners.
Current offer: 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.
The annual fee is $95. 100,000 Marriott points can get you at least one free night at some of the most luxurious Marriott properties worldwide. You can get multiple nights at category 1-7 properties with 100,000 points (depending on peak/off-peak dates).
One reason to keep this card is the annual free night worth up to 35,000 points (This benefit kicks in at your first anniversary of card membership, not when you open the card). The annual free night can be valuable. We booked the Tambo del Inka property (a Luxury Collection Resort) in Peru with our certificate and the rate on our dates was over $400 per night.
With this card, you earn 6 points per dollar at Marriott properties, and 2 points per dollar on everything else. The earn rate on this card seems high, but remember, Marriott points aren’t as valuable as other points. This card also comes with Marriott silver status.
- Policy: Hilton Honors points expire after 12 months of no activity
- But there is a 90 day grace period.
How to keep Hilton points from expiring:
- Make a purchase if you have a Hilton co-branded credit card from American Express.
- Make a purchase through the Hilton Honors Shopping Mall
- Buy points. You can get 1,000 points for $10
- Donate points
- Transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards or Citi Thank You
- Hilton Honors dining program
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
Hilton points aren’t as valuable as other points, but the current welcome bonus on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is 125,000 points. The annual fee is $95. You can use this card to keep your Hilton points active, plus there are some decent benefits.
Current offer: 125,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
If you spend $15,000 in a calendar year, you will earn a free weekend night. The earn rate is 12 points per dollar on purchases at Hilton, 6 points per dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations, 3 points per dollar on everything else. If you spend $40,000 in a calendar year, you will earn Hilton Honors Diamond status. Terms apply, learn how to apply here.
There are a few different Hilton co-branded cards, including one with no annual fee (the Hilton Honors American Express card. Terms apply, learn how to apply here). All are issued by Amex which means they are not 5/24 cards. You may not want to apply for non-Chase cards if you’re under 5/24. Click here to read more about the 5/24 rule and why it’s important to open cards issued by Chase before opening cards from other banks.
IHG Rewards Club
- Policy: Keep your points from expiring by earning or redeeming at IHG or with partners once every 12 months.
- IHG does not explicitly state was does and does not qualify as account activity, but data points suggest that just about anything that increases or decreases your account balance will extend your expiration date 12 months.
How to keep IHG points from expiring
- If you have the Chase IHG credit card, make a purchase
- Buy the minimum amount of points (1,000 points for $13.50)
- Redeem points for ebooks for as low as 200 points
- Transfer the minimum amount of Chase Ultimate Rewards to IHG which is 1,000 UR.
- IHG dining program
IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card from Chase
I prefer Hyatt and Marriott points, but if you’re loyal to IHG, this card may take priority. The IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card from Chase has a decent welcome bonus, plus some good benefits that may outweigh the annual fee of $89. Cardmembers receive a free night after each anniversary. There are some good category bonuses and other benefits. This is a 5/24 card, so it’s a card you will want to open before opening cards from other banks. Click here for the top cards for beginners. There are some good category bonuses and other benefits.
Current offer: 80,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months.
Earn 25 points total per dollar when you stay at IHG hotels, 2 points per dollar at gas stations, 2 points per dollar at grocery stores, 2 points per dollar at restaurants, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. As a cardholder, you’ll receive automatic Platinum Elite Status.
Also, you can receive a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit of up to $100 every 4 years.
How to keep airline miles from expiring
If you fly on an airline on a paid ticket, your miles expiration date will be extended for the number of months stated by that individual airline’s policy. Some airlines will count a redemption as qualifying activity but some airlines, such as Southwest do not. In other words, you must have earning activity to keep Southwest points active.
American Airlines AAdvantage
- Points expire after 18 months of no activity
- Activity is earning or redeeming miles with American airlines or their partners
- AA may let you reinstate expired miles, but it will cost you
How to keep American Airlines miles from expiring:
- If you have an AA co-branded credit card, make a purchase
- Make a purchase through the AAdvantage shopping portal
- Earn miles on qualifying car rentals
- Purchase miles
- Transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy
- American Airlines dining program
- Donate miles to charity
British Airways Executive Club
- Points expire after 36 months of no activity.
- Activity is defined as collecting, spending, sharing, or purchasing at least 1 Avios every 3 years.
How to keep miles from expiring:
- If you have the BA co-branded credit card from Chase, make a purchase
- Make a purchase through the British Airways shopping portal
- Earn miles on qualifying car rentals
- Purchase or share Avios
- Transfer from UR or Amex MR.
British Airways Visa Signature Card from Chase
The British Airways Visa Signature Card from Chase has a welcome bonus of up to 100,000 British Airways Avios. Plus, there are other benefits and statement credits that more than make up for the annual fee of $95. A recent enhancement to this card is the reimbursement of some fuel surcharges and fees on award tickets. This is a Chase 5/24 card.
Current offer: Up to 100,000 Avios! 50,000 Avios after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. If you spend $20,000 in the first year, you’ll receive an additional 50,000 bonus Avios.
The earn rate is 3 Avios per dollar for purchases with British Airways, Iberia, LEVEL, or Aer Lingus, 2 Avios per dollar on hotels, and 1 per dollar on other purchases.
Other notable benefits are 10% off British Airways flights starting in the US when you book by March 31, 2020, plus the opportunity to earn a Travel Together ticket. Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
Award ticket fee reimbursement benefit: you will receive up to $200 as a statement credit on award tickets up to 3 times a year.
How it works:
For economy or premium economy award flights, receive a statement credit of $100. For business or first class, receive a $200 statement credit. You must use the British Airways Visa Signature to pay for your taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges.
The award ticket must be a transatlantic international itinerary departing from the US. It’s unclear, but it does seem that one ways originating in the US would be eligible for the credit (Europe-US one way would not qualify). Non-transatlantic portions (such as LHR-MAD) can be operated by a codeshare partner (such as Iberia), but the transatlantic segment must be operated by British Airways
The ticket must be booked with Avios from the cardholder’s Executive Club account. Per the terms published on Chase’s website, the credit is applied at the booking level, not per ticket. So if you book 2 tickets on one reservation, you only receive 1 credit. But it makes me wonder, if you book 2 tickets on 2 separate reservations, would you receive 2 credits? I guess we will have to wait for some data points.
At this time, Delta miles do not expire!! That was easy.
JetBlue True Blue
At this time, JetBlue points do not expire!
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- Points expire after 24 months of no activity
- Activity is defined as earning or redeeming at least one mile.
- Miles can be reinstated if it’s been less than a year since expiration but there is a fee of $75.
How to keep Alaska Airlines miles from expiring:
- If you have an Alaska Airlines co-branded credit card from Bank of America, make a purchase
- Make a purchase through the Alaska Airlines shopping portal
- Earn miles on qualifying car rentals
- Purchase miles
- Transfer miles from Marriott Bonvoy
- Alaska Airlines dining program
Southwest Rapid Rewards
Points expire after 24 months with no earning activity.
How to keep Southwest points from expiring:
- If you have a SW co-branded credit card, make a purchase
- Make a purchase through the Southwest shopping portal
- Earn points on qualifying car rentals
- Purchase points
- Transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Southwest Rapid Rewards dining program
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit card
This is also a Chase 5/24 card. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card was launched in July 2018. There are 3 other personal Southwest co-branded credit cards from Chase, but if you fly Southwest, this would definitely be the top pick of the 3. The welcome offer is the same on all 3 personal cards.
Current offer: Up to 60,000 points. Earn 40,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $1,000 in 3 months. If you spend a total of $12,000 in the first 12 months, you’ll receive an additional 20,000 Rapid Rewards points.
The annual fee is $149, but if you fly Southwest, the $75 annual credit effectively brings that fee to $74. Another notable benefit is that you get 4 upgraded boarding positions per year with this card.
The earn rate is 2 points per dollar on Southwest and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
United Mileage Plus
As of summer 2019, United points no longer expire!
Besides the obvious: staying at a hotel or flying on an airline, there are other ways to keep your miles and points active. Be careful and take measures to prevent your miles and points from expiring!
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