If you don't use them, you will lose your miles. Each airline has a different time limit. If American, Hawaiian, and United Airlines accounts have no activity for 18 months, miles will expire. Alaska requires some form of activity within 24 months, while Southwest specifically mentions fliers must earn points by flying within 24 months to remain active. Air Canada is less generous; Aeroplan accounts expire after 12 months of zero activity, and Avios (British Airways and Iberia) points expire after 36 months of no activity. Delta and JetBlue miles never expire—although they reserve the right to close an account if a member does not respond after repeated communication.
Here are some ideas to keep your miles from expiring:
- Use a service to monitor them
This is a great way to stay organized if you have multiple accounts.
- Use a credit card that gives you double miles for all purchases and can be used to pay for flights. This is a great choice because the cards can be used on any airline or travel service. If you don't travel a lot, these are usually an exceptional deal. Capital One and Citi both have these cards.
- Use each card on an anniversary. Use them on your birthday, anniversary, or many other things. This is much like changing the batteries in your fire detectors on the same date every year.