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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
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Advertising Disclosure

LendingTree is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products. We are compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order).
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American Express Disclosure
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

American Express Disclosure

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Do Credit Card Rewards, Points and Miles Expire?

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Credit card points and miles won’t expire as long as your account remains open. However, points and miles earned with airline and hotel loyalty programs do typically expire following a lack of activity.

Miles and points earned on co-branded hotel and airline travel rewards credit cards usually expire if you aren’t actively using your account. Many will expire after 12 to 24 months from the date of your most recent activity.

Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can keep your points and miles from expiring. You can use your co-branded airline or hotel credit card for a small purchase, redeem points for a gift card or even donate them to charity, among many options.

It’s important to remember that each program has its own policies. You should always consult the terms and conditions so you know all the details and nuances to its rewards program and policies.

Do credit card points expire?

Rewards earned on general travel or cash back credit cards issued by major banks typically don’t expire as long as your account remains open. For example, Chase Ultimate Rewards® and Barclays Arrival Miles don’t expire.

Some rewards (like Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards) can be transferred to partner airline or hotel loyalty programs. Keep in mind that once transferred, they cannot be moved back to their original program. Those points or miles are now subject to the expiration policies of the program you transferred them into.

Issuer programWhen do points expire?
American Express Membership RewardsNever
Bank of America Travel RewardsNever
Barclays Arrival MilesNever
Capital One RewardsNever
Chase Ultimate Rewards®Never
Citi ThankYou® RewardsSee your specific card member agreement*
Discover Cashback RewardsNever
Wells Fargo Rewards Points5 years
U.S. Bank FlexPerks5 years

*Shared Citi ThankYou® Rewards expire 90 days from receipt of rewards.

Do airline miles expire?

With most major airlines, your miles never expire. However, there are two notable exceptions: American Airlines and British Airways. Earning and redeeming miles on a semi-regular basis will keep your miles from expiring with these two programs.

Typically, any miles that you earn and deposit into your frequent flyer account remain available to you even if you close your co-branded airline credit card.

Airline programWhen do miles expire?
AAdvantage (American Airlines)24 months
Delta SkyMilesNever
JetBlue TrueBlueNever
Southwest Rapid RewardsNever
MileagePlus (United Airlines)Never
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanNever
British Airways Avios36 months

Do hotel points expire?

Hotel points typically expire if you are inactive in the program. However, with most programs, as long as you earn and redeem points regularly, the remaining ones won’t expire. For the major hotel programs listed below you can see that hotel points typically expire between 12 and 24 months of inactivity.

An exception is the Wyndham Rewards program. Even with account activity, your points will expire after 48 months, even if your account is active.

Similar to airline rewards, any travel points earned through a co-branded hotel credit card and then deposited into the loyalty program account remain active, even if you close the card.

Hotel programWhen do points expire?
Choice Privileges18 months
Hilton Honors12 months
IHG Rewards Club12 months
Marriott Bonvoy Points24 months
World of Hyatt24 months
Wyndham Rewards18 months with no account activity (48 months with account activity)
Best Western RewardsNever

What counts as account activity?

You can keep your points or miles from expiring by:

  • Booking travel with your rewards
  • Using your co-branded travel credit card for purchases
  • Buying a flight or hotel using your loyalty program number
  • Shopping through the loyalty program’s shopping portal (if it has one)
  • Dining with the loyalty program’s dining rewards program (if it has one)
  • Donating miles
  • Buying miles

Ways you could lose your credit card rewards

Even if your credit card rewards don’t expire, you can lose them. These are some situations in which you may lose your credit card points or miles:

    • Refunds or returns: Some rewards programs allow you transfer points to hotel or airline loyalty programs. Once the transfer is complete, they cannot be transferred back. Be sure you know the expiration rules of the new program before you initiate a transfer.
    • Transfer points: Some rewards programs allow you to transfer points to hotel or airline loyalty programs. Once the transfer is complete, the rewards cannot be transferred back to the credit card rewards program and will be subject to the expiration rules of the new program.
    • Rewards program cancellation: Though it may be uncommon with large rewards programs, companies can cancel rewards programs. The company will typically send you a notice regarding the cancellation and may allow a short redemption period.
    • Late payment: Issuers may temporarily prevent you from earning or redeeming credit card points if you miss a monthly payment. The program may be reinstated once your account is current, though a fee may be charged.
    • Delinquent account: If your account becomes delinquent (meaning 60 to 90 days past due) you may forfeit all rewards permanently. Likewise, some issuers may cancel your rewards completely if you file bankruptcy, receivership, reorganization, liquidation, dissolution or insolvency.
    • Program or company (i.e. major airline) goes bankrupt: You may be unable to use your points or miles if an airline or hotel chain declares bankruptcy — at least temporarily. You may be able to use your points once the company returns to better standing.

    How to keep points and miles from expiring

    There are a number of ways to keep your points and miles from expiring:

    • Use your points or miles regularly

    This is the obvious way to keep rewards from expiring. Making frequent purchases with your loyalty program will allow you to earn rewards and keep your account active. Redeeming rewards has the same effect if you occasionally use them for a statement credit, hotel room or flight.

    • Use your co-branded credit card

    Co-branded airline and hotel credit cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Card let you earn hotel loyalty program points every time you use the card. Even if the card isn’t your go-to credit card, use it for a small purchase once a month.

    • Shop through your loyalty programs’ online shopping portal

    Many airline and hotel loyalty reward programs have online shopping portals which allow you to either redeem or earn points. If you’re saving up points for a big trip but are at risk of losing them, use some for an item that has a low point value like a magazine subscription. Or use the shopping portal to purchase something you need, and earn some extra points for doing so.

    • Transfer points or miles

    A simple way to keep miles without having to use them or buy something that will net you more, is to transfer them to a partner program like Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards. Say your JetBlue TrueBlue points are about to expire – all you need to do is transfer some of your Chase Ultimate Rewards to your JetBlue account to generate activity. We don’t recommend moving large amounts of points unless you plan to use them soon.

    • Keep your account open and in good standing

    Your credit card account needs to remain open and in good standing to keep your miles from expiring. Pay your balance in full every month and avoid closing your account in order to maintain your well-earned points and miles.

    • Use a dining programs

    Some loyalty programs allow you to earn points whenever you dine in or order takeout at restaurants affiliated with their particular dining program. Utilizing a dining program allows you to earn points and maintain activity simply by doing something you do anyway.

    • Donate miles

    Another option that will enable you to push out the expiration date for your points and miles is to donate them to charity. Most loyalty programs partner with nonprofits and allow customers to donate points and miles to help various causes including helping a child’s wish come true with Make-A-Wish or sending relief workers to disaster-stricken areas via the American Red Cross.

    • Buy additional miles

    This isn’t the most economical way to keep your miles from expiring, but occasionally airlines sell miles at a discounted rate and you can get airline miles for less than they’re worth. Or if you’re a few thousand miles from the amount of miles you need to book your reward, consider buying enough to top off your account and take the trip.

    How to reinstate expired points or miles

    In some cases you may be able to call the credit card or airline or hotel loyalty program’s customer service number and ask for your rewards to be reinstated. It never hurts to ask, especially if they recently expired. Alternatively, you can try submitting a customer service ticket or email with your request.

    Remember to be polite when making your request — a little friendliness goes a long way. Expect that the program representative may say “no” and if they do, leave it at that.

    Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Chase credit card points, or Chase Ultimate Rewards, do not expire while your card is open and in good standing.

Southwest credit card points, also called Southwest Rapid Rewards, don’t expire while your card is open and in good account standing.

Once credit card points expire, they may be gone for good. However you may have success with calling or writing to the company to ask for a courtesy reinstatement of your points or miles. It’s best to use or earn miles proactively to avoid running into this issue.

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