When Do Your Frequent Flyer Miles Expire?

Elina GellerAugust 21, 2020
On a similar note...
On a similar note...
When Do Your Frequent Flyer Miles Expire?

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

One of the most frustrating experiences with miles and points is when you accidentally let your hard-earned airline miles expire. When this happens, you might be out of luck if the airline won’t do anything to reinstate your miles — or you could get your miles back after paying a reinstatement fee.

Regardless of which category you fall into, saving yourself the headache by avoiding this situation is more desirable.

To help, we’ve put together a handy guide with mileage expiration dates for 69 airlines (nine domestic and 60 international). If you want to keep track of the expiration policies of various airlines, bookmark this page for reference.

Domestic airline expiration dates

International airline expiration dates

  • Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus: None, as long as the account remains active.

  • Aer Lingus Aerclub: 36 months if account is inactive.

  • AeroFlot Bonus: None if registered for account after Jan. 1, 2018.

  • AeroMexico Club Premier: 24 months if no earning activity.

  • Aerolíneas Argentinas: 36 months if account is inactive.

  • Air Canada Aeroplan: 18 months if account is inactive.

  • Air China PhoenixMiles: 36 months from the end of the month in which it was earned.

  • Air Europa SUMA Programme: 18 months if no account activity.

  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue: Two years if no account activity.

  • Air New Zealand Airpoints: Four years after they are earned.

  • Air India Flying Returns: End of the 36th month after earning date.

  • Alitalia MilleMiglia: 24 months if account is inactive.

  • ANA Mileage Club: 36 months after they are earned.

  • Asiana Airlines Asiana Club: For Diamond, Diamond Plus or Platinum members, miles expire on Dec. 31 on the 12th year after earning. For Magic Miles, Silver or Gold members, miles expire on Dec. 31 of the 10th year after earning. Miles earned before Sept. 30, 2008, don't expire.

  • Austrian Airlines Miles & More: 36 months (on the last day of the quarter). No expiration for Frequent Traveller, Senator or HON Circle Members and holders of the Miles & More credit card in certain countries including the U.S.

  • Avianca Airlines Lifemiles: 12 months if no earning activity, however mileage expiration has been paused from April 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020. Additionally, 24 months for those who hold an Avianca LifeMiles credit card.

  • British Airways Executive Club: 36 months if account is inactive.

  • Brussels Airlines Miles & More: 36 months (on the last day of the quarter). No expiration for Frequent Traveller, Senator or HON Circle Members and holders of the Miles & More credit card in certain countries including the U.S.

  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 18 months if earned on or after Jan. 1, 2020, and you have no account activity. Otherwise, three years after they were earned.

  • China Airlines Dynasty Flyer Program: 36 months from the date of flight.

  • China Southern Airlines: 36 months from being earned. No expiration for Silver and Gold members. Base card members can register in the China Southern Airlines SkyPearl Mileage Extension Program before mileage expiration. The program allows members to extend expiration date by 12 months by forfeiting 20% of total miles held in the account.

  • Croatia Airlines Miles & More: 36 months after they are earned unless you have a Miles & More credit card.

  • Czech Airlines OK Plus: 36 months after they are earned. Miles of OK Plus Silver, Gold or Platinum cardholders don't expire.

  • El Al Matmid: Three years after they are earned.

  • Emirates Skywards: Three years after they are earned on the last day of your birthday month.

  • Ethiopian Airlines ShebaMiles: Miles expire Dec. 31 three years after they were earned.

  • Etihad Guest: 18 months if account is inactive. For miles not spent/earned since Feb. 1, 2019, miles will expire after two years for Bronze members, 2.5 years for Silver members and three years for Gold and Platinum members.

  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands: 36 months after they are earned.

  • Finnair Plus: 18 months if account is inactive.

  • Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles: 36 months from being earned.

  • Iberia Airlines Iberia Plus: 36 months if account is inactive.

  • Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank: 36 months (on the last day of the month) after they are earned.

  • Jet Airways InterMiles (aka Jet Privilege): At the end of the 13th quarter from the quarter in which they were earned. Miles of Platinum members won't expire.

  • Kenya Airways BlueBiz: Miles don't expire as long as you take a flight every 2 years.

  • Korean Air SKYpass: 10 years after they are earned if earned after July 1, 2008. Mileage earned prior don't expire.

  • LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass Multiplus Points: 36 months (on the last day of the month) after they are earned.

  • LOT Polish Airlines Miles & More: 36 months (on the last day of the quarter). No expiration for Frequent Traveller, Senator or HON Circle Members and holders of the Miles & More credit card in certain countries including the U.S.

  • Lufthansa Miles & More: 36 months (on the last day of the quarter). No expiration for Frequent Traveller, Senator or HON Circle Members and holders of the Miles & More credit card in certain countries including the U.S.

  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich: Three years (on the last day of the month) after they are earned.

  • Middle East Airlines Cedar Miles: Five years from earning.

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer: 18 months if account is inactive.

  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club: Minimum of three years after they are earned. Miles earned between January and June will expire June 30 and miles earned between July and December will expire Dec. 31.

  • Royal Air Maroc Safar Flyer: Miles expire Dec. 31 of the third year after they are earned. Corporate and family accounts are governed by different expiration dates.

  • Royal Jordanian Royal Club: 18 months if account is inactive.

  • S7 Airlines Priority Programme: Miles are valid during the year they are earned, and the next two full calendar years.

  • Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan: Three years from the end of the calendar year in which they are earned.

  • Scandinavian Airlines SAS EuroBonus: Four years after they are earned.

  • Shenzhen Airlines PhoenixMiles: 36 months (on the last day of the month) after they are earned.

  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer: 36 months (on the last day of the month) after they are earned. 18 months if no account activity.

  • South African Airways Voyager: Three years after they are earned. A "year" ends on March 31.

  • SriLankan Airlines FlySmiLes Miles: Expire after three years either in March or Sept.

  • Swiss Airlines Miles & More: 36 months (on the last day of the quarter). No expiration for Frequent Traveller, Senator or HON Circle Members and holders of the Miles & More credit card in certain countries including the U.S.

  • TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go: Three years after they are earned; bonus and promotional miles expire one year after they are earned.

  • TAROM Airlines Flying Blue: Explorer members: Two years if no earning activity, however miles that were set to expire between March and Dec. 2020 won't expire. No expiration date for Silver, Gold or Platinum members.

  • Thai Royal Orchid Plus: Three years after the quarter they are earned.

  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles: Three years after they are earned; expiration date can be extended for three years by paying $10 for every 1,000 miles.

  • Vietnam Airlines Lotusmiles: Two to three years depending on the date of joining the loyalty program.

  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club: 36 months if account is inactive.

  • Virgin Australia Velocity: 24 months if account is inactive.

  • Xiamen Airlines Egret Miles: Three years after they were earned, at the end of the year (Dec. 31).

Varying policies

Policies vary among airlines and some have extended mileage expiration dates due to the pandemic. Delta SkyMiles, United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards and JetBlue TrueBlue points don't expire. On the other end of the spectrum is Spirit Airlines, where miles expire three months after they are earned. This deadline is extremely tight for this budget domestic airline.

Some airlines (like Lufthansa) have more lenient expiration policies for those who have elite status or hold a co-branded credit card as a way to incentivize elite members and cardholders to maintain loyalty to the airline.

Some airlines set expiration dates for miles a certain time after they are earned, while others consider any activity to be valid for keeping miles active (earning, redeeming and transferring). In these cases, as long as your account has some mileage activity and isn't inactive, your miles won't expire.

This kind of policy is the broadest and provides the most options to keep your miles active. British Airways, for example, expires Avios after 36 months of inactivity in your frequent flyer account. Some examples of qualifying activities include purchasing merchandise through the British Airways eStore shopping portal, reserving a car rental (and adding your Avios number to the reservation) and transferring points from a rewards credit card.

The AmEx and Chase option

If you have a credit card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points or Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, you can transfer points to British Airways, which would keep the account active and extend the life of expiring Avios. Although it would be nice to transfer just one mile, you’ll likely need to transfer a minimum of 1,000 points into your account. AmEx is known for running transfer bonuses to hotels.

While that example is specific to British Airways, the ways to keep your miles alive are often similar from airline to airline: earn, redeem, transfer or buy to trigger activity.

Consider low and no-fee cards

There are even some low-fee and no-fee rewards credit cards that allow point transfers. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card only has a $95 annual fee and earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card earns American Express Membership Rewards points and has a $0 annual fee. Credit card offers can vary, so if you’re in the market for one of these cards, check out their welcome bonuses to make sure you’re maximizing the offer.

Other card and loyalty programs

Keep in mind that Chase and AmEx aren’t the only credit card companies with rewards programs that allow point transfers to airlines. Citi ThankYou points and Capital One miles can also be transferred to airlines.

If you’ve collected hotel points that you have no use for, consider transferring them to an airline if you have expiring miles. Some of the hotel rewards programs that allow point transfers to airlines include:

The number of miles you receive in your frequent flyer account will depend on the transfer ratios of each hotel program.

Some airlines aren’t transfer partners of many programs (or any at all), in which case you can extend the validity of your miles by applying for a co-branded credit card. For example, American Airlines is only a transfer partner of Marriott, so if you don’t have Marriott hotel points, you won’t be able to do a transfer. A great way to keep your American Airlines AAdvantage miles active is to apply for a co-branded credit card. Citi and Barclays are the credit card issuers on AAdvantage co-branded cards, so you have various options to choose from.

One of our favorite cards is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® because it has an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $99, providing you with a great opportunity to try the card. The welcome offer is: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

The bottom line

Knowing the mileage expiration dates for frequent flyer programs is crucial to ensuring that the miles you’ve worked hard to earn don’t disappear from your account. We suggest that you bookmark this page as a reference to stay ahead and even set reminders in your personal calendar for key dates of your big stashes of points.

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 2020, including those best for:

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet’s official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.