Until recently, most airlines had a policy of expiring their customers’ miles if there was no activity in their accounts. However, even before the pandemic, many airlines discontinued this policy. Currently, only a few US airlines have expiration policies. Here’s a list of these airlines, along with their current policies.
When it comes to points programs from countries other than the U.S., the rules may differ. For instance, British Airways Avios expire if there’s no activity on your account for 36 months. When I was approaching this deadline, I received an email from them notifying me about it.
Fortunately, British Airways has one of the most lenient policies with regard to expiring points. To keep your points, you only need to have some type of Avios activity every 36 months. Here’s the quote from the Executive Club terms and conditions website:
Your Avios stay with you as long as you collect, spend, buy or share at least one Avios every 36 months — any longer and your Avios will expire and be removed, so remember to take action before those three years are up.
Allowing almost any account activity, including earning, spending, and even sharing Avios, to extend your account is very generous.
One way to keep accounts active is to rent a car from Avis or Budget, which are British Airways partners. This will earn you Avios and keep your account active. But what if you’re not renting a car in the next few months or if the prices from those companies are much higher than the competition?
One of the next easiest ways would be to make a purchase through the British Airways shopping portal. There are a bunch of online shopping links, any of which would deposit points into your account.
But what if there was nothing of any interest in the British Airways store?
My next option would be to transfer points to British Airways from either AMEX Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One or Chase Ultimate Rewards. The flexible point programs of these banks are transfer partners with British Airways. I’d have to transfer 1,000 points, but that’s enough to keep my points active for another 3 years. Which currency you choose to transfer depends on which one you value most or which one you have a healthy account balance.
Marriott Bonvoy is also a transfer partner, but unless you’re transferring in 60,000-point increments to get 25% more airline miles, it’s a bad deal. However, it’s not the worst deal.
The last and most repulsive option would be to purchase 2,000 Avios for $65. Ouch.
One last thing to remember is that Avios don’t instantly appear in your account for several of these methods. It can take days, or even weeks for rental car or shopping portal purchases to appear. Point transfers can be instant, or they may take a few days.
As long as you don’t want until the last second, there’s hardly ever a need to pay the ridiculous price to purchase miles to keep an account active when you’re at the deadline.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary