Mile Expiration Policies By Airline: Our Complete Guide

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Mile Expiration Policies

Mile Expiration Policies By Airline: Our Complete Guide

Airline mileage programs have different policies regarding your frequent flier accounts and miles. The policies relating to mileage expiration are among the most important for you to be aware of. We’ve compiled this chart to give you the mile expiration policies for the more popular programs.

UPDATED 11/23/21

Related: Guide to Airline Award Change and Cancellation Fees

Types of Mileage Expiration Policies

  • Miles expire after specified period of inactivity – this generally means that as long as there is some activity in your mileage account either from earning or redeeming miles your time period resets
  • The miles expire after a specified period from the date of travel or when the miles were earned, regardless of account activity.
  • The miles expire after a specified period of time with no earnings activity. Some airlines specify the earning activity must come from paid flights.

Related: Ways to Get Free or Reduced Cost WiFi on Flights

Mile Expiration Policies by Airline

AirlineMile Expiration Policy
Alaska 

Miles don't expire, but your account can be shut down after 24 months with no account activity
Alitalia24 months with no qualifying activity
American Airlines
18 months with no account activity
ANA36 months after they are earned
Asiana10-12 years, depending on your status and how the miles were earned
Avianca (Lifemiles)12 months with no earning activity
British Airways36 months with no account activity
Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)18 months with no qualifying activity
Delta
Never
Emirates3 years from when they are earned, then they expire in your birth month of that year
Etihad18 months after they are earned; miles never expire for Platinum elites
Finnair18 months with no account activity
Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)24 months with no account activity
Iberia
36 months with no account activity
Japan Airlines (JAL)36 months after they are earned, regardless of other activity
JetblueNever
Lufthansa36 months after the miles are earned; unless you have elite status or a Lufthansa credit card, which allows you to extend them
Korean10 years from when they are earned
HawaiianNever
Latam3 years from when they are earned
Qantas18 months with no account activity
Qatar3 years from when they are earned; if earned in the first half of the year, they expire June 30; if earned in the second half of the year, they expire December 31
Singapore3 years after they are earned
SouthwestNever
UnitedNever
Virgin AtlanticNever
Virgin Australia24 months with no account activity

Final Thoughts

Increasing how long your miles remain active, as well as making it easier to achieve qualifying activities, is a bonus. Nothing is worse than losing miles from your frequent flyer account.  Throughout the pandemic, we have seen multiple domestic and foreign airlines make positive changes.  Hopefully more will continue to follow suit.

Holding miles in programs that have no expiration policies makes life a little bit simpler. It also gives you a little more security, should you have a stash of miles from recent cancellations or miles you transferred for a booking that didn’t work out. It’s nice when you don’t have to constantly monitor those miles or keep doing required activities to avoid losing your stash.

For any airline programs that require earning to extend their miles, there are a few easy ways to accomplish that.  Many airlines have a shopping portal or dining program, which are easy ways to earn a few miles and extend the others.  Carrying an airline’ co-branded credit card and making a small purchase is another way to provide qualifying activity on your account.  Lastly, making a transfer from a transferrable currency like Membership Rewards will also normally do the trick, but make sure to check your account data afterward to confirm. Don’t just assume.

Bethany Walshhttp://Bougiemiles.com
Founder of BougieMiles.com, Bethany is a points, miles and loyalty program strategist who enjoys luxury travel and lives for a deal. When Bethany is not following her Miles to Memories family around the world to various meet-ups you can find her on a beach, in a casino or on a mileage run.

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14 COMMENTS

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you so much. I gather ANA miles, and falsely assumed that each time I earned more miles with credit card usage, ALL my miles would be extended 36 months! But this is definitely bad news, as my miles will slowly vanish now if unused! We really have to be careful with everyone nowadays!

  2. I think Lufthansa is wrong- they can’t be extended unless you have the credit card. Even if you have the card I think there is some weird rule about needing to use it each month or something like that.

  3. Asia Miles/Cathay Pacific miles expire after 18 months of no activity. This is a new change for since you now can keep miles from expiring by adding, using or transferring miles.
    SQ could be added. Krisflyer miles expire in January after 36 months. No extensions unless you pay.

  4. you might recheck Avianca Lifemiles, I believe the policy is you need to earn every 12 months not just have some activity.

    • I think you’re right – transferring in works, using miles does not. The 10 years from the flight on Korean is confusing. I’ve never flown Korean, but I’ve transferred miles in their and earned them on the branded CC. Does it just mean 10 years from when you earned? I think Turkish should be added to this list, since it is a TYP partner

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