Sunday Reader Question: How to Keep Miles and Points From Expiring

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TPG reader James writes:

“What is the best way to avoid miles/points from expiring? Does transferring a small amount to the particular account from either Membership Rewards or Ultimate Rewards extend the lifetime?”

Yes, transferring points from American Express, Chase or a hotel program to an airline, will generally reset the expiration clock. Additionally, purchasing an item though the online shopping portals and thus earning miles through that method will also extend the expiration. Apple iTunes is a merchant on most portals, so buying a single song can keep your miles/points active – something most people don’t realize.

There are, however, exceptions such as Singapore Airlines miles which expire after three years from when they are earned. They can be extended once for 6 months (12 months for elites), but after that you lose them. I recommend checking the expiration policy for your airline just to be safe. Some airlines, like Delta, don’t have expiration dates and this Wikipedia post has a rundown of expiration policies of most major frequent flyer programs.

I recommend using an online mileage tracker like Award Wallet, which will alert you if any of your mileage balances are in risk of expiration.

As a last resort option, you can also swap points on points.com, though swapping large balances is generally a bad deal. However, letting miles expire is the worst possible deal and basically amounts to throwing money in the trash.

Starwood Points are the most valuable points currency out there.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

 

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More Things to Know
  • Earn a $100 statement credit after you make $1,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn an additional $100 statement credit after your first purchase on the Card at a participating SPG® or Marriott Rewards® hotel within your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • From now through July 31, 2018: Earn 2 Starpoints® for every dollar of eligible purchases on the Card at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other eligible purchases.
  • On August 1, 2018, SPG will convert every one Starpoint in a loyalty member account to three points. In general, corresponding redemption changes will occur. Visit members.marriott.com for details.
  • Effective August 1, 2018: Earn 6 points for every dollar of eligible purchases on the Card at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 2 points for all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
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  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.99%-20.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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