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Check your accounts: A complete list of rewards that are expiring at the end of this year

Dec. 11, 2020
7 min read
(Photo by Benji Stawski / The Points Guy)
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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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Alaska Airlines

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.

Related: All of the elite qualification changes you need to know about for 2021

Alaska Airlines lounge at LAX (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

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.

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Related: The best airline miles credit cards

IHG Hotels

Earlier this year, IHG Rewards Club extended anniversary award night certificates earned with the IHG Rewards 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.

Related: Don’t burn your expiring IHG reward night certificates just yet: IHG says an update is coming

A suite at the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

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.

Spirit Airlines

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.

Related: How to keep Spirit Airlines miles from expiring

Spirit A321neo (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

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).

Related: How to keep your points and miles from expiring

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. (Enrollment required).

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.

Bottom line

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 image by (Photo by Benji Stawski / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023