One of the worst things that could happen on your Miles & Points journey is earning a tidy sum of points, only to lose them before you have a chance to make a redemption.
While some loyalty programs have done away with expirations altogether, most still have some sort of policy in place, which might cause your points to vanish into thin air if you’re not careful or organized.
In this guide, we’ll go over the expiration policies for major loyalty programs, as well as some general strategies on how to keep your points active without too much effort.
Best Practices for Keeping Your Points Active
First and foremost, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the expiration policies of any loyalty program you engage with. This way, there won’t be any unwelcome surprises when you go to check your balance.
You’ll then want to make sure you’re organized, especially if you have points across a number of programs.
One good practice might be to audit your loyalty accounts at the end of the year, and make note of any programs that require attention. A spreadsheet might help you with keeping track of your points inventory, too.
For most programs, you’ll need to make some sort of qualifying activity every once in a while to keep your balance active. Fortunately, this doesn’t always involve taking a flight or booking a hotel, as there are plenty of alternatives that you can do, even online.
Usually, simply holding a co-branded credit card associated with a loyalty program keeps your account active for as long as you hold the card, or as long as you make a purchase on it every now and then. Some of these cards even come with no annual fees, which means there’s no cost associated with keeping your account active.
Therefore, as part of your annual routine, you may want to make a small purchase on a co-branded card, and you should then be good to go for another year or so.
Alternatively, transferring points from another program may also keep your balance active, since it counts as a qualifying activity in many programs. An example is converting RBC Avion points into British Airways Avios.
Note, however, that there are minimum amounts for most points transfers, and in some cases, you might wind up losing some value or flexibility in the process.
While holding a credit card with an associated program and making transfers are the…