How to Keep Airline Miles from Expiring


Are you concerned about the meter running out on your frequent flyer miles at Delta, United, American and Southwest, or your Starwood points?  Well don’t be.  You don’t have to fly or even have an airline-branded credit card to keep your frequent flyer miles alive and well.  Here’s the scoop:

Delta miles never expire.  United and American expire after 18 months of inactivity.  Southwest points expire after 24 months of inactivity.  Starwood points expire after 12 months of inactivity.  Look at those links to read their policies.

If I decide not to keep a credit card when they start charging an annual fee, I ask that they convert my card in question to a No Annual Fee version of the same card.  I have had the free versions of Delta, United and American for years.

These free versions only give me 1 mile for every two dollars spent, but they’re free.  As a rule, every January I charge a couple bucks on each card, which refreshes the expiration date on my miles.  I never wonder if my miles are in danger of expiring.

You don’t have to have a credit card to keep your miles fresh.  Remember, account activity is what extends the expiration date.  Click on these United, American, Southwest and Starwood links to see the many ways to redeem some of your miles and points.  A couple quickies: Use miles to get a magazine subscription or give your frequent flyer number next time you rent a car.  You can use Starwood points to add frequent flyer miles to 30 airlines.  These activities will refresh your expiration dates as well.

You can also buy stuff via the online shopping centers of UnitedAmerican and Southwest.  Sign in with your frequent flyer number and get credit for purchases.  Go buy some socks or cookies and your miles will be refreshed.

Starwood doesn’t have an online mall, but they have a good solution: Booze.  Spend at least $10 on food or drink at any Starwood Hotel, and they will credit your Starpoints account if you give them your Starpoints number.  Find a Starwood Hotel near you to quench your thirst and refresh your points for another 12 months.

If you are interested in getting airline cards that have no annual fee the first year, with enough bonus miles for a free round trip ticket check out this post.



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