It’s hard enough to earn airline miles so letting those miles expire can be a painful experience, depending on how many miles you have in your account. I was willing to let some of my Frontier Miles expire until someone told me it was possible to donate them to a charity. While I’m all for donating miles, I’d also like to keep them active and use them to pay for future travel.
Fortunately, two airlines have recently changed their mileage expiration policies so I thought it might be a good idea to go over how long you have until your miles expire for the major US airlines.
Let’s first list the airlines whose miles do not expire.
- Delta Airlines
- Southwest (as of 10/17/2019)
- United (as of 8/28/2019)
It was nice to see both United and Southwest announce that miles in their programs will no longer expire. United even touts the same on the sign-up page of their website.
Does anyone know who to contact at United and tell them to update the terms of the MileagePlus program on their website? This is a screenshot I took on 10/27/19.
Whatever, I’m still happy their miles (apparently) never expire.
Here’s a list of the other US airlines’ mileage expiration policies from shortest to longest.
ALLEGIANT AIR – myAllegiant Rewards
The only way to earn miles in the myAllegiant Rewards program is to have their credit card. Canceling the card forfeits all remaining miles in your account. So I guess you can say there is no expiration policy or that the miles instantly expire.
SPIRIT AIRLINES – Free Spirit
To keep miles active in Spirit’s program, you need to fly once every THREE MONTHS (you poor soul) or have their credit card and use it at least once EVERY MONTH.
As long as you earn any miles within the previous three months, your miles won’t expire. If you don’t meet that requirement though, any miles older than three months will expire.
Another way to earn miles and keep them from expiring is to get our Spirit World Mastercard® and make at least one purchase per month
FRONTIER AIRLINES – Frontier Miles
In order to keep your Frontier Miles active, you need to earn miles every six months. According to the airline, this is easy to do…..just get their credit card and your miles will never expire.
All earned miles are subject to expiration if the account does not have accrual activity at least once every 180 days or 6 months. Accruals consist of miles earned by flying on Frontier, using your Frontier World Mastercard or by providing your FRONTIER Miles number with any of our earning partners. Redemption’s or negative transactions do not qualify as accrual activity. To see an all-inclusive list of earning partners, please click here.
AMERICAN AIRLINES – Aadvantage
To keep your Aadvantage miles active, you need to earn or redeem miles at least once every 18 months.
AAdvantage® members must have mileage earning or redeeming activity once every 18 months in order to retain their miles. If your account has no qualifying activity in any 18-month period, all miles in the account will expire. Qualifying activity extends the expiration date of all unexpired mileage credit in your account for 18 months from the date of the qualifying activity. Qualifying activity is defined as redeeming any AAdvantage® award or accruing mileage credit on any eligible American, American Eagle® or AAdvantage® airline participant as well as accruing mileage credit with participating hotels, car rental companies, credit cards, telecommunication providers and other service providers offering AAdvantage® mileage credit.
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES – HawaiianMiles
Any earning or redemption activity will prevent your miles from expiring for 18 months.
If a Member fails to earn or redeem miles for eighteen (18) consecutive months, Hawaiian will expire the mileage accrued on a member’s account. Expired miles may be reinstated for a fee. Members will need to call the HawaiianMiles Service Center toll-free 1-877-HA-MILES (426-4537). for assistance with the reinstatement of expired miles and payment of the associated fee.
ALASKA AIRLINES – Mileage Plan
To keep your account active you need to have activity in it every 2 years, either by earning or redeeming miles. Doing so will keep your miles from being removed from your account.
Mileage Plan miles do not have an expiration date and may remain in an active account indefinitely, provided that the Mileage Plan program has not been terminated pursuant to these conditions of membership. Activity in an account includes redeeming a Mileage Plan award or accruing mileage in the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program. However, notwithstanding any term to the contrary, if a Mileage Plan account is inactive for 2 years, Alaska Airlines may close the account, delete any mileage balance and reassign the Mileage Plan number. Deleted mileage can be reinstated for a fee for up to 1 year. To reinstate a Mileage Plan account please contact customer care.
SUN COUNTRY AIRLINES – Sun Country Rewards
Sun Country has the most lenient expiration policy, except for those airlines whose miles do not expire. You don’t even need to have enough points for a free flight as you can use points to pay for part of a ticket or for baggage fees or seat assignments.
Yes, but only 36 months after the date they were earned. Remember, you don’t need to acquire enough points to pay for an entire trip, you can combine them with dollars to pay or you can use them for bag options or seat selections.
It’s nice to see United and Southwest join Delta and JetBlue as airlines who do not require any account activity to keep your miles. The ULCC airlines (Allegiant, Spirit and Frontier) all have restrictive policies that require you to fly with them all the time or have their co-brand credit card (and use it frequently) to keep your miles. Besides that, American, Alaska, and Hawaiian all have reasonable time limits to keep your account active and all of them have other ways to extend your account expiration even if you don’t have any current plans to fly with them.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary