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 12/3/20

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 

24 Months with no account activity
AlitaliaJanuary 31 for all miles earned in the prior year
American 
18 Months with no account activity
AsianaMileage expiration dates are determined according to your membership grade at the point of boarding or mileage accrual Details Here
Avianca (Lifemiles)12 Months with no earning activity
British Airways36 Months with no account activity
Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)Expire 36 Months from the date the miles are credited to the account
Delta
NEVER
Iberia
36 Months with no account activity
JapanExpire 36 Months from the date the miles are credited to the account
JetblueNEVER
Lufthansa36 Months with no account activity (Exception: Lufthansa Elites and Monthly Users of Miles and More Credit Card)
SingaporeExpire 36 Months from the date the miles are credited to the account
Korean10 Years from the date of flight
Virgin Australia24 Months with no account activity
SouthwestNEVER
Virgin AtlanticNEVER
ANAExpire 36 Months from the date the miles are credited to the account
EtihadExpire 24 Months from the date the miles are credited to the account
Emirates3+ years from the date of travel (miles are removed from your account at the end of your birth month)
Hawaiian18 Months with no account activity
Latam36 Months with no earning activity
Finnair18 Months with no account activity
Qantas18 Months with no account activity
QatarQmiles are valid for a period of 3 years and will expire twice a year at the end of the semester in which those Qmiles where earned. Expiry dates will be 30th June and 31st December each year
UnitedNEVER
Air France / KLM 24 Months with no account activity

Final Thoughts

It has been nice to see more and more airlines switch their program over to a no expiration policy.  During the 2020 calendar year we have seen multiple domestic and foreign airlines make the changes.  Hopefully more will continue to follow suite to stay with the competition.  I am surprised American Airlines hasn’t made the change yet since they usually follow whatever Delta and United do and vice versa.

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 a transfer for a booking that didn’t work out etc. Knowing that there doesn’t need to be a rush to use or extend the airline miles reduces some of the anxiety from managing multiple frequent flyer accounts.

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 is an easy way to earn a few miles and extend them.  Carrying one of their co-branded credit cards and making a small purchase is another.  Lastly, making a transfer from a transferrable currency like Membership Rewards will also normally do the trick.

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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10 COMMENTS

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10 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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