Basic Guide to When Airline Mileage Program Points Expire

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Recently I received an email from United Airlines promoting the fact that the United Mileage Plus program award Miles no longer has an expiration date. Previously, United’s frequent-flyer program limited their customers to an 18-Month timeline.

For example, If I left 1,000 United Miles in my account for 18-Months and had NO account activity, they would expire. In the past, if for some reason I was coming close to the 18-month expiration date I would just spend a few dollars on my United Airlines Credit Card and reset the clock. Since I’ll be earning United Miles by spending money on the United Credit Card I would be creating account activity. For Basic Travelers who don’t have the United Credit Card; other options certainly do exists like purchasing miles or using miles for products via their portal. 

Even though there are all of these various options for keeping United Airlines Miles from expiring; life happens and we are human! I’ve heard one too many horror stories from friends and family members who have forgotten about a stash of United Miles and ultimately lost out on free travel. Kudos to United Airlines for taking this step to provide their frequent flyers with the piece of mind that their miles will be safe from expiring. If you know me, you know that miles don’t last very long in my airline accounts unless I’m saving up for a particular award like a first-class flight to Tokyo or the Galapagos Islands

United Airlines making this move to remove the 18-month expiration date from the Mileage Plus program got my wheels turning. What are the other airline rules on points and miles expiration? 

Do American Airlines Miles Expire?

American Airlines has a standard 18-Month Rule. Miles will expire after 18 months of no activity. The ability to create activity by using a co-branded American Airlines credit card will reset the expiration clock. 

Do Delta Miles Expire?

Delta Airlines has No Expiration Date! The Delta SkyMiles program often doesn’t get a whole lot of respect in the points and miles community often being referred to as “sky pesos”. This is due to the mystery award charts and often outrageous number of points required to travel. Despite the negatives, I am a fan of the program and have found ways to use their points for travel to Egypt and Greece. 

Do Southwest Airlines Miles Expire?

Southwest Airlines has a 24-Month Rule. In order to keep your Southwest Rapid Reward account opened you must earn a qualifying point at least once every 24 months. You can do this by using a Southwest Co-branded credit card for a purchase or buying miles. 

Do JetBlue Points expire?

JetBlue TrueBlue points do not expire! 

Do Alaska Airlines Miles Expire?

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles expire after 24-Months of inactivity. Earning or using miles will reset the clock! 

Do Hawaiian Airlines Miles Expire?

Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian-Miles will expire after 18-Months of account inactivity. Earning or using miles will reset the clock! 

Do British Airways Avios Points Expire?

British Airways Avios Points will expire after 36-Months of account inactivity. Earning or using miles will reset the clock! 

Do Lufthansa Miles Expire? 

Lufthansa Miles & More award miles expire after 36-months from earning them. Technically, they will be removed at the end of the quarter and you may end up with a few extra months depending on when the points were earned. There are two options to keep your Miles & More award miles from expiring. The first option is to earn elite status (Senator or HON Circle). The second option is to open a Lufthansa Co-branded Credit Card which is available in over 20 countries. 

Do Air France/KLM Miles Expire?

Air France/KLM Miles will expire after 24-months of inactivity. Earning, using miles, or gaining status (Silver, Gold, Platinum) will reset the clock! 

Do Spirit Airlines Miles Expire?

The Spirit Airlines “Free Spirit” Miles expire after 3-months of inactivity! That is a short window of time but thankfully you can reset the clock by earning miles, flying Spirit, making a purchase on the Spirit Co-Branded Credit Card or purchasing miles. 

Do Frontier Airlines Miles Expire?

Frontier Airlines Frontier-Miles will expire after 180 days of inactivity. Earning or using miles will reset the clock! 


As you can see there are many variations in the airline frequent flyer programs. They range from 3-months to infinity! Thankfully most programs provide an option to reset the expiration date by earning points which is easy to do given that most (if not all) airlines have at least one co-branded credit card. In addition to saving points from expiring, airline credit cards often provide great perks like free checked bags and priority boarding! You can find our basic rankings of today’s top credit card offers by clicking here:  Basic Ranking of Today’s Top Card Offers.

It’s important to recognize that in the points and miles world award programs are continuously changing. We try our best to notify our readers when these changes take place and how they impact your award wallet.

New to Credit Card Rewards Points? Check out the BASICS Below!

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