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How to Prevent Frequent Flyer Mile Expiration

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How to Prevent Frequent Flyer Mile ExpirationFrequent flier miles are like an alternate form of currency, but they are never as good as cash. Airlines can and will devalue miles over time by making awards more scarce and requiring more miles for them. Yet even worse than their inevitable devaluation is the possibility of losing all miles due to expiration.

Many airline frequent flier programs will confiscate an account holder’s miles after a period of inactivity, typically 18 months. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are several steps that can be taken to avoid losing miles to inactivity.

First, account holders should be aware of the policies of each airline and when their miles can expire. Since the expiration date changes each time an account holder generates some activity, there is are no fixed dates to keep track of.

In other instances, customers may receive notices from the frequent flier program that their balance will soon expire. Nevertheless, this is not a reliable way to prevent mileage from expiring. Therefore, it helps to use a tracking program such as Award Wallet that stores all account information and alerts users when miles are about to expire.

Next, take the time to learn how to keep miles from expiring. Earning, or spending a small amount of miles is enough to postpone the mileage expiration date. Most programs allow account holders to purchase magazines, newspapers, or other low-value merchandise. Such a redemption makes sense if it helps to preserve a much larger balance.

There are also many ways to earn small amounts of miles to postpone expiration. Miles are awarded through a variety of travel partners including hotels, car rental agencies, and though shopping portals. For example, just a small online purchase can generate a few miles when made through an airline’s mileage earning shopping portal.

Another excellent way to extend expiration date of mileage is by using an airline affiliated credit card. In this way, cardholders will earn miles each month when their statement is issued. Some banks even promote their airline credit cards with the claim that cardholder’s miles never expire. This is true since the act of paying the annual fee by itself will generate enough miles to keep the account active for at least a year.

Frequent flier miles can be a very valuable currency, and account holders need to do as much as possible to ensure their miles never expire. By learning all of the ways to keep accounts active, customers can avoid the possibility of losing their chance to take an award trip.

Editor's Note: This content is not provided by Citi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Citi or any of the other companies whose products are featured in this content.

About the author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele is a freelance journalist specializing in personal finance and travel and is recognized as an expert in credit cards. He is a regular contributor to many of the top personal finance sites such as Wise Bread and Money Talks News. His work has been frequently carried on mainstream news outlets such as MSN Money, Yahoo, Finance, and Business insider.

Jason lives in Denver Colorado with his wife and two daughters.

– has written 350 posts.

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