Check your accounts: A complete list of rewards that are expiring at the end of this year
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In the grand scheme of things, most airline and hotel loyalty programs did a terrific job quickly adapting to the pandemic. Airlines and hotels have proactively extended elite status, extended expiring rewards and even reduced elite qualification requirements for 2021.
With the situation taking longer to recover than originally anticipated, many loyalty programs have extended rewards for the second or even third time. However, not all rewards have been extended.
Here’s a complete list of all of the loyalty rewards that are expiring when the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31.
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Come January, Alaska Airlines will automatically extend all current Mileage Plan elites’ status through December 2021. Alaska has confirmed to us that at that time, it will also provide MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75k members new Gold Guest Upgrades, as well as Alaska Lounge day passes for the higher-tier elites. Because of that, it has decided not to extend certificates expiring at the end of this year.
This is disappointing for those who might have expiring certificates from having status in 2019, but not 2020, as they won’t be getting new ones in January. Fortunately, the expiration date of Guest Upgrades is not the travel-by date, so even if you don’t have any more trips planned for this year, you should still be able to apply expiring certificates to flights next year.
For those with a cobranded Alaska card, you may have noticed that companion fare certificates set to expire in 2020 were extended until Dec. 31, 2020. However, there have been no further extensions since that initial announcement. So, if you want to use your reward, you must book a flight before the end of the year. You can purchase travel through Nov. 26, 2021 and even make free changes down the line (unless you booked a Saver fare), but if you cancel your ticket, you will lose your companion fare discount.
Related: The best airline miles credit cards
Earlier this year, IHG Rewards Club extended anniversary award night certificates earned with the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card expiring between March and December 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020.
In early December, TPG reached out to IHG regarding the reward night certificates that expire on Dec. 31, 2020 and got the following response from a spokesperson:
We’ve continually monitored the impact of the global pandemic and have responded with program changes and increased flexibility to better serve our IHG Rewards members. We understand that, right now, some members may need more time to use their certificates to travel when they feel ready.
This week, we’re announcing to cardmembers that they will have until August 31, 2021 to use Anniversary Night certificates originally set to expire in 2020. Cardmembers will begin to see a new Anniversary Night certificate with a redemption period through August 31, 2021 in their accounts. These certificates will be deposited on a rolling basis, through the end of the week.
As a reminder, earlier this year we announced that all Anniversary Night certificates deposited in 2020 had an 18-month redemption period to give members more time to travel.
Remember that you must book and use the certificate before its expiration dates. So, if you have a certificate that expires on Aug. 31, 2021, the latest day you can check-in is Aug. 30, 2021.
As of now, the expiration of IHG Rewards points has only been paused until Dec. 31, 2020 (unless you’re an elite member, in which case your points don’t expire). To keep your points from expiring, you’ll need activity in your account at least once every 12 months.
At the onset of the pandemic, Spirit paused mileage expiration through the end of September. Unfortunately, it didn’t extend this pause, so Spirit miles are back to expiring after three months of no additional earning activity. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep your Spirit miles from expiring that don’t require flying. For instance, if you have the Spirit World Mastercard, you can keep your miles from expiring by making at least one purchase every month or so. You can also join the Free Spirit Dining program and earn miles by eating out or ordering in.
Expiring points and miles
In addition to IHG and Spirit, there are several other airline and hotel loyalty programs that, so far, are not extending expiration dates for their loyalty points any further.
- Air Canada Aeroplan: Miles are now valid for 18 months from last activity; expired miles can be reinstated by flying with Air Canada or opening a cobranded Aeroplan credit card within six months of expiration.
- Hawaiian Airlines: Expiration paused until Dec. 31, 2020. Then, points will expire 18 months from the last activity (can extend with activity).
- Accor Live Limitless: Expiration paused until Dec. 15, 2020 for Classic members and April 30, 2021 for Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond elite members. Beyond that, you’ll need activity once per year to keep your points from expiring.
- Choice Privileges: Expiration paused until Dec. 31, 2020. Then, points will expire 18 months from the last activity (can extend with activity).
Credit card statement credits
There are several travel and shopping credits offered by popular rewards credit cards expiring at the end of the year and are not being extended. For example, the annual airline fee credits offered by cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card reset in January. The same goes for Amex Platinum’s semi-annual Saks Fifth Avenue shopping credit.
There are also several limited-time promotions expiring either Dec. 31 or Jan. 31, including the Amex Platinum’s $20 monthly streaming credit and $20 monthly wireless telephone service credit and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express‘ up to $200 in additional statement credits (for a total of $400 in 2020) for U.S. purchases with Dell.
While it’s unlikely that we’ll see these credits be extended, we know that American Express plans to add new features to these cards to retain customers and encourage upgrades.
Most airline and hotel loyalty programs have done a good job responding to the pandemic and continuously extending benefits. However, as you can see, there’s still some work to be done. Hopefully, the travel companies discussed above reevaluate the situation and follow their competitors in further extending loyalty benefits. Make sure you stay up to date with all your loyalty programs’ policies, so you aren’t caught off guard and can use your rewards before they expire.
Featured photo of the Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.
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