27 Jan Before Your Frequent Flyer Miles Expire
Many airlines are adjusting the policies for frequent flyer miles. The miles that you have been saving for a special trip or vacation may soon be at risk. Some airlines send a notice to you by mail, provided the correct address is on file. Other airlines may notify you by email, provided the notice does not get stopped by your email filter. In other cases the airline may not notify you at all. Rather than take chances, review your frequent flyer policy and the status of the miles that you have earned.
The following are a few of the airline policies current at the time of this writing, and are subject to change.
AirTran A+ Rewards expire 12 months after earned, so be prepared to use your miles within the year, or lose them
Alaska Mileage Plan miles expire after 3 years of inactivity, so be sure to fly on Alaska at least once every three years to keep your miles active
Aloha Airlines AlohaPass miles don’t expire. Mahalo Aloha Airlines.
America West Dividend Miles expire after 18 months of inactivity, so plan to at least once every year and a half.
American Airlines AAdvantage Miles expire after 36 months of inactivity, so plan to fly American every 36 months if you want to continue earning miles
ATA Travel Awards points expire after 24 months, so use them before the two years are up
Continental offers OnePass and currently does not cancel or expire miles, so save up your miles for a special trip
Delta Skymiles previous program preserved for 36 months have been been reduced to expire after 24 months of inactivity, or until Delta expires, whichever comes first
Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns miles expire after two years of inactivity, thus the appropriately name program, Early Returns
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles expire after 36 months of inactivity, can you really wait three years to get back to Hawaii?
JetBlue TrueBlue miles expire 1 year after the miles are earned, so you may not get a chance to use your frequent flyer miles, but at least the rates are low
Midwest offers Midwest Miles that expire if no additional miles are earned in 36 months, not very original, but neither is the program name
Northwest Airlines WorldPerks miles expire if none are earned in 3 calendar years, because it may take three years to earn enough points to see the world
Southwest Rapid Rewards credits expire after 24 months, earn them rapidly and use them rapidly
United Airlines Mileage Plus lasts for 36 months until December 31, and then they will expire after 18 months
US Airways Dividend Miles were previously preserved for 36 months, now expire after 18 months of inactivity, just like the America West program
What do you do if your miles are about to expire and you do not have enough for that dream vacation? Spend your miles elsewhere, combine them or donate them. Many frequent flyer programs offer alternative ways to spend your hard earned miles. Many airlines offer the option to cash in your mileage credits for magazine or newspaper subscriptions, or use the credits towards other benefit purchases. Look at the affiliate airlines to determine if there is an opportunity for you to transfer miles to another airline partner and combine your miles for a much deserved getaway.
AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Midwest Airlines, Northwest Airlines, United Air Lines and US Airways participate in Operation Hero Miles, a program that enables you to easily donate unused frequent flyer miles to family members of wounded troops traveling to military hospitals to visit injured loved ones. For more information, please visit http://www.heromiles.org/
If you choose to donate your accumulated and unused frequent flyer miles to the Red Cross, the IRS even acknowledges this as a donation and a deduction. Just imagine, you can donate unused miles before they expire and the IRS recognizes it as a donation. America West FlightFund members may donate miles in 5000 mile increments into the Miles of Hope Program. Continental makes it easy for OnePass frequent flyer members to donate mileage through the web site or by calling customer service. Northwest Airlines offers two programs, you can donate a minimum of 5000 miles to the Red Cross, or you can donate $50 to the Red Cross and receive 500 WorldPerk frequent flyer miles in return. United Airlines frequent flyers may also participate with a minimum donation of 1000 miles. The frequent flyer miles collected by the Red Cross are used exclusively for disaster response. For more information, please visit http://www.redcross.org/donate/donatemiles.html
Words of Wisdom
“The saying “Getting there is half the fun” became obsolete with the advent of commercial airlines.”
– Henry J. Tillman
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
– Mark Twain
“If at first you don’t succeed, find out if the loser gets anything.”
– Bill Lyon
“I want to hang a map of the world in my house. Then I’m gonna put pins into all the locations that I’ve traveled to. But first, I’m gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won’t fall down.”
– Mitch Hedberg