Trillions of banked miles and points in travel reward programs worldwide have led to many of these programs enacting expiry dates on the miles and points held in the accounts of millions of people. Frequent Flyer programs in particular are the proprietors of expiring miles and the majority of airlines in the world will now remove miles from your account due to periods of inactivity. For hotel and shopping programs the opposite tends to be true with the majority of them having no point expiry limitations.

Terms and conditions

"Frequent Flyer programs in particular are the proprietors of expiring miles and the majority of airlines in the world will now remove miles from your account due to periods of inactivity."

Periods of between 12 to 36 months of inactivity are the most common seen in frequent flyer programs however some do go further out to four or five years. The general definition of activity means any addition or deletion of miles or points in an account. To keep an account current, collectors just need to have one earning or redeeming action within the period set out by the program. Many collectors are being caught by the inactivity rule due to a lack of knowledge in their program. Members tend not to read the terms and conditions set out by programs or simply delete emails of any changes that the program has tried to advise them of.

Keeping your miles from expiring can be quite simple as long as one keeps track of their account and knows the dates of their last activity. This can be easily done by creating an excel spreadsheet or by using one of the many online mileage tracking websites like Awardwallet. com or Gomiles.com.

If you are not traveling frequently or don’t have a credit card tied to your program many loyalty programs have options to earn miles for online shopping or for redeeming a small amount of miles by donating them to charity as ways to keep your account current. They also have options to buy or transfer miles which can be a good way to top off an account to get bigger rewards. All of these actions are considered activity and will keep a travel rewards account current.

Expired miles

The airlines have set mileage expiry rules to try to lessen the liability on their books with all the unused miles but have put the burden of keeping track of the dates on the miles or points on the collectors. Some programs do send out notice of expiring miles or list the expiry date when viewing accounts online but many do not. Collectors have to do their due diligence to make sure the miles in their travel rewards accounts do not expire by keeping an eye on the dates of their last activity and ensuring they perform an eligible activity at least once within the period set out by the program. You’ve earned them, make sure you don’ t lose them.