Do Credit Card Points Expire? How to Keep Points and Miles Active

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “do ____ points expire?” Depending on the program, some do, but there are ways to keep your points active.

Bank Points

Points from banks like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou points do not expire as long as you have a card active that earns those respective points.

For Chase, if you decide to close a card, you’ll need to transfer the Ultimate Rewards to another Chase UR point earning card.

For American Express, points are automatically pooled. The Amex EveryDay card doesn’t have an annual fee, and it’s a good option to keep Membership Rewards points alive.

Airline Points

Airline points usually have an expiration date, but an easy way to keep the points alive is to have a credit card from the respective airline program.

The benefit of having an airline credit card from a carrier you frequent is getting benefits like free checked bags and priority boarding. Each purchase you make counts as an activity since you’re earning the respective airline points.

Some airline credit cards like the Amex Delta and Citi American Airlines cards have no annual fee downgrade paths.

If you’re someone who hates keeping track of points expiring, choose an airline carrier like Delta or JetBlue whose points don’t expire.

In the chart below, the airlines highlighted in red have points that expire from a certain timeline from earning them. There is no way to extend the point shelf life, even with a co-branded credit card.

How to Keep Points and Miles From Expiring

Below are a few ideas on how to keep your points active:

  • Set calendar reminders a few months out of when the points are going to expire so you have time to redeem them

  • Redeem points or have some activity to accumulate points (co-branded credit card purchases count)

  • Transfer bank points to an airline or hotel transfer partner

  • Buy points directly from the airline or the hotel program

  • Donate some points

  • Shop through the airline shopping portal - be aware that this may take a few weeks for the transaction to post

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. 

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