How to Keep Avios from Expiring
There are few things worse than letting your hard-earned points and miles expire. Failing to earn a new card welcome offer might take the cake. But letting miles expire is a close second. Since I rarely use them, I’ve had to keep Avios from expiring multiple times.
One of my worst fails ever was losing some of the currency through forgetting to cancel an award ticket. Yet I’ve still not managed to let Avios expire. Tracking my points and miles is worlds easier with AwardWallet, a tool I recommend. It can notify you when your points are nearing expiration, giving you time to figure out how to keep your balance alive. This is how I was most recently notified that my Avios were nearing the end of their shelf life.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to keep your Avios from expiring. But first, a bit more about Avios.
RELATED: Mile Expiration Policies By Airline: Our Complete Guide
Which Carriers Use Avios?
Avios are an interesting award currency, as several airlines now use it. All the IAG-owned airlines use Avios. These carriers include:
- British Airways
- Aer Lingus
Qatar Airways also recently switched to the Avios currency. Besides being a Oneworld partner, the carrier owns a 20% stake in IAG, so this transition makes sense. This brings the total to five airlines that use Avios.
Yet not all of them use Avios the same. The award charts, award taxes and fees, and other program details are different. You can also move Avios from your loyalty account between airlines.
When do Avios Expire?
Unlike some of the other program details, the Avios expiration is the same across all four IAG-owned airlines.
- Avios with British Airways, Ibiera, Aer Lingus, and Vueling expire after 36 months without qualifying activity in your account. Qualifying activity is defined as earning, spending, or purchasing Avios.
- Likewise, Qatar Airways Avios expire after 36 months of account inactivity. Account activity includes Avios accrual or redemption activity with Qatar Airways or partners (both air and non-air).
Fortunately for us, it’s very easy to reset the clock with your Avios.
Ways to Keep Avios from Expiring
Any of the following earning activities will reset the expiration of your Avios:
- Fly with any of the airlines, or one of their partner airlines, and credit to the loyalty program
- Stay in a hotel or book a holiday/vacation package booked through an Avios-earning airline (offered by British Airways)
- Rent a car and credit to Avios (offered by Iberia and British Airways)
- Earn Avios by using a co-branded credit card. Chase issues British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus cards. Vueling issues a Visa through Spanish CaixaBank.
- Earn Avios through an airline shopping portal (offered by British Airways and Aer Lingus)
- Purchase Avios (offered by Iberia, British Airways, and Aer Lingus)
- Transfer bank points to Avios
Any of the following spending activities will keep Avios from expiring and reset the clock:
- Book a reward flight using Avios, or Avios + Money
- Upgrade a flight using Avios (offered by British Airways and Iberia)
- Pay for flight extras (e.g. seat assignment, baggage, etc.) using Avios
- Book a hotel or car rental using your Avios (offered by Iberia and British Airways)
- Book an experience using Avios (offered by British Airways)
Easiest Ways to Prevent Avios Expiration
In my opinion, these are the simplest ways to reset the Avios expiration date:
- Transfer 1,000 flexible bank points to Avios. If you have lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards, transferring them to British Airways or Iberia Avios is an easy solution. This is best done when they are running a transfer bonus. I don’t transfer lots of points speculatively, but I have reset the clock by transferring the minimum 1,000 points. Additionally, you can transfer Citi Thank You Points to Qatar Avios.
- Book a reward ticket. If you haven’t used your Avios in a while, time to get planning. I often try to plan a trip using a specific currency that is nearing expiration, even if I don’t get the best value from it.
The One Gotcha
The one thing to be aware of that does not count as activity is combining your Avios. Since Avios can be freely transferred between various accounts, this is something to watch out for. What may look like account activity is not, in fact, activity. You aren’t earning or redeeming Avios. Just combining/moving them.
Fortunately, you can move all your Avios to a single account and only worry about resetting the expiration date of that account. I’ve always kept my Avios with British Airways unless I want to transfer them to another carrier for a specific award.
Keep Avios from Expiring: My Final Thoughts
With a long expiration period and plenty of ways to keep Avios from expiring, it should be easy to keep your points alive. I get that a lot of people haven’t traveled much, though, over the past couple years. So maybe it is high time you make sure you don’t lose your points!
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If you book a ticket using your Avios and cancel within 24 hours, and the points are redeposited, will this reset the clock?
Do they tell you when your Avios are about expired?
This is why I recommend Award Wallet. I typically only get their notifications.
You can also sign up for “Avios for Thoughts”, a variant of My Opinion. You’ll get Avios for signing up, completing your profile and taking an initial survey. The downside is that you’ll then be sent emails daily with new survey invitations so use an email account you can easily sweep to delete.
Thanks for the tip!