How to Keep Your Frequent Flyer Miles From Expiring

When do miles expire for the major US airlines?

  • American Airlines – 18 months after last activity
  • British Airways – 3 years after last activity (including BA because of the big sign-up bonus they just had)
  • Delta – never
  • Continental – never, but accounts can be closed or miles forfeited after 18 months of inactivity
  • United – 18 months after last activity (Continental will be absorbed into United’s program with the merger)
  • US Airways – 18 months after last activity

With the high sign-up bonuses lately, you might be worried that the miles will expire before you can use the miles.  Fear not.  There are easy ways to keep the points active even without flying.

  • Use a co-branded credit card.  The activity from the credit card posts miles to your frequent flyer account giving you activity on the account.
  • Sign up for the shopping program on the airline’s site – You can keep your miles alive for as little as downloading 1 song from iTunes.
  • Sign up for one the dining program on the airline’s site – You sign up one of your credit cards for the program.  When you eat at one of the participating restaurants, you earn miles.
  • If you absolutely have to, you could buy miles.  But considering how easy it is to keep them alive with shopping and dining, I don’t know why you would need to.

So go collect all the miles you can.  You will be able to keep them from expiring.

Now there is some news on the credit card front.

There is an American Express credit card offer which has a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after $500 in 3 months.  There is no annual fee the first or second year.  You are not eligible for this offer if you already have another American Express charge card such as the blue, green or one of the other color cards.  But if you have the Starwood Hotel, Delta, or Hilton cards, you are eligible as those are credit cards, not charge cards.  Amex Membership Rewards points can be transferred to a number of airline and hotel frequent flyer programs.  They can also be redeemed for merchandise or gift cards.

Also Chase has a new offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  It comes with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus and no annual fee.  The offer officially is live on Monday.  There are links available now, but they don’t show the offer page which would say the sign-up bonus and spending requirements.  I’m not comfortable posting the links until I see the offer page.  I’ll post the link when I see that, but I wanted to let you know the deal was coming now in case you’re trying to decide what credit cards to apply for.  Sapphire points can be redeemed for travel as well as merchandise or gift cards.

(HT: Frugal Travel Guy)

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