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Whether it’s taken you years or months to earn the miles you’ve accumulated, whether you fly weekly or rarely, the miles in your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account are precious and valuable.
But if you haven’t taken off to any destinations recently, you may be starting to wonder how long those miles can languish unused before they disappear completely. So, do Alaska miles expire?
Alaska miles expiration overview
When do Alaska miles expire? Never, which is good news for frequent and infrequent travelers alike.
But while Alaska miles don’t technically expire, your account can be locked. If your account is inactive for longer than two years, it may be frozen.
Alaska says this is for security purposes, so if you do get locked out of your account after 24 months, you can reverse the action. Call customer service to confirm your identity and they will unlock it for you. When that happens, all of your accrued miles will still be present and accounted for.
» Learn more: Your guide to the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
When can Alaska close your account?
Alaska Mileage Plan members have a year only after account inactivation (a total of three years after your last account activity) to reactivate. After that period, if your account has been locked and you’ve taken no action to have it unlocked, your account will be closed and you’ll lose any unused miles. So take note of any alert emails you may receive about deactivation, and act quickly if you receive one.
If you don't want to deal with the hassle of an inactivated or closed account, keep your Mileage Plan account open. All that's required is that you either redeem miles or earn them at least once every 24 months.
You can do so by flying with Alaska or its airline partners (according to Alaska’s award chart, one-way flights start at 5,000 miles), but there are also plenty of other ways to keep your miles in play.
That includes using Alaska’s Mileage Plan shopping or dining portal, booking a qualifying hotel stay or reserving rental cars with participating companies. It’s likely you’ll be able to keep your account operational with little effort.
» Learn more: How to earn Alaska Airlines miles
Earn Alaska miles quickly
Another way to earn miles easily and consistently — that also serves to keep the miles you have from expiring — is to sign up for one of Alaska Airlines’ credit cards. There’s an option for personal accounts and business accounts.
Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card: Get 60,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) with this offer. To qualify, make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
You’ll also enjoy a free checked bag and priority boarding for you and up to six traveling companions on the same itinerary and 20% back on inflight purchases when you pay with your card. All for a $95 annual fee.
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card: Get 50,000 bonus miles, $100 statement credit and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) after you make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
Also, get a free checked bag for up to six people on your itinerary and 20% back on inflight purchases. The annual fee is $70 for the company and $25 per card.
An additional bonus that comes with carrying an Alaska Airlines credit card: your miles never expire as long as your account is open.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
Other ways to keep miles from expiring
Don’t want to even take the chance that your account could be flagged as inactive? Alaska makes it easy to use miles and keep your account open, even if you don’t have enough miles to purchase an award fare.
You can use the Money and Miles option to book a ticket using a combination of cash and miles and get up to a 50% discount on most fares (except the cheapest Saver fares), use miles to upgrade to first class starting at 15,000 miles, buy miles for yourself or share them with someone else with a Mileage Plan account.
Final thoughts on expiring Alaska miles
Rest easy knowing that your Alaska miles never expire, and you won’t wake up one morning to find them suddenly missing from your account. However, Alaska may deactivate your account if there hasn’t been any activity via earning or redeeming miles in two years and close it after three. Fortunately, it’s easy to keep your account open and flush with miles, even if you’re not flying with the airline regularly.
Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card