Do American Airlines Miles Expire?

AAdvantage miles expire after 24 months of account inactivity, but you don't have to fly to remain active.
Alisha McDarris
By Alisha McDarris 
Edited by Meg Lee

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If you have a stock of American Airlines miles saved up — possibly even from pre-pandemic days — you may be wondering if and when those miles expire. After all, you earned them, so you probably want to make sure you put them to good use on award travel.

So when do American Airlines miles expire? Read on to find out, plus how to keep them from disappearing, even if you’re not flying in the immediate future.

American Airlines AAdvantage Miles expiration overview

American Airlines’ AAdvantage mile expiration protocols sit somewhere in the middle of the user-friendly spectrum: Miles expire after 24 months of account inactivity. Compare that to Spirit Airlines’ 12-month expiration and Frontier’s 6-month deadline, and American comes out looking pretty generous. But when you consider that Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines miles never expire, 24 months starts seeming a little stingy.

Fortunately, if all those miles in your account are set to expire soon, you still have options to keep them in play. You can always fly with American or one of its partner airlines to keep your miles from expiring.

But if you’re not planning travel, there are plenty of other ways to keep your account active and extend that deadline. Here’s how to keep American Airlines miles from expiring.

  • Earn or redeem miles on American or with an AAdvantage partner at least once every 24 months by flying or making a purchase with an airline partner, including participating hotels, car rental companies, co-branded credit cards, telecommunication providers, shopping, dining and more. Just take a look at these 30+ ways to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

  • AAdvantage credit card holders are not subjected to the 24-month expiration date for as long as their card account is open (after closing an account, your miles will expire either 4 months from account closure or 24 months from the latest qualifying activity, whichever is later).

  • You can also reactivate up to 500,000 expired AAdvantage miles within 24 months of their expiration by paying a reactivation fee. The cost is determined by the number of miles you wish to reactivate. It's worth noting that these miles won’t count toward elite status.

  • AAdvantage members under 21 years of age are excluded from the normal expiration rules.

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Check out our nerdy picks for the best American Airlines credit cards and find the right card for you.

When can American Airlines close your AAdvantage account?

Just because miles expire doesn’t mean your account will be closed, even if expiration leaves you with a zero balance. In fact, several things have to happen in order for American Airlines to close your AAdvantage account entirely.

If you have zero miles, exceed 36 months of no earning or redeeming activity, don’t have an AAdvantage credit card, and don’t have lifetime benefits (like Million Miler or Lifetime AirPass), the airline has the right to terminate your account.

But as long as you meet at least one of the above criteria, your account is safe and will remain open.

How to earn American miles quickly

If you’re worried about miles expiring or want to earn a bunch of AAdvantage miles in a short amount of time, an AAdvantage credit card may be the way to go, especially since cardholder miles never expire as long as the account remains open and in good standing.

American offers several credit card options depending on your credit and goals.

  • American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® (annual fee: $0): Earn 15,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, earn 2 miles for every dollar spent at grocery stores and American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® (annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $99): Earn 75,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $3,500 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening. Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent at gas stations and restaurants and on American Airlines purchases, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else, plus 1 Loyalty Point for every eligible mile earned from purchases so you can reach elite status faster.

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (annual fee: $595): Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening. Earn 4 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases, 10 miles per dollar on eligible car rentals and hotels booked through American Airlines, and 1 mile on other purchases. You'll also earn 1 Loyalty Point for every dollar spent on purchases and 10,000 additional Loyalty Points after you reach 50,000 and 90,000 Loyalty Points in a qualifying status year. The most notable perk is an Admirals Club membership.

Final thoughts on expiring American miles

You can generally avoid AA mile expiration because of the airline’s relatively generous 24-month expiration window. Plus, there are plenty of ways to keep those miles active — even if you’re not planning on flying in the near future. Keep your AAdvantage miles from expiring and still enjoy award travel down the road.

Photo courtesy of American Airlines.

The information related to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

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 2024, including those best for:

Cards for American Airlines from our Partners
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


Intro offer


Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Citibank Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® Credit Card

on Citibank's application

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

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