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You’ve accumulated a bunch of frequent flyer miles. Now, you’re just sitting on them – waiting for a reason to use them. Maybe you’re planning a vacation or maybe just a trip to your hometown. Whatever the case may be, they won’t last forever if you are not careful. How long will they last? How do you keep your frequent flyer miles from expiring?
The lifetime of frequent flyer miles depends on which airline they are with. Most frequent flyer miles expire in 1 to 2 years. Jet Blue is at the low end of this spectrum with a 1 year expiration on it’s miles while Southwest is at the high end with a 24 month expiration on it’s miles. The exception to this is Continental Airlines, as their miles do not expire.
Using the credit card that is affiliated with the frequent flyer miles will keep your miles active. Even if you have decided to ditch that card, it could be beneficial to link up a monthly bill to it to keep the miles active. Alternatively, you could buy a cup of coffee, a song on the Internet, a pack of gum or some other relatively inexpensive item each month on your card. If you’re already using your card, then you won’t have to worry about losing your miles with most airlines.
If you’re not ready to fly yet, but don’t want to lose those miles, consider earning miles through an affiliated company of the airline that you use. Such companies include vehicle rental companies, hotels and/or any other type of company that your card gives miles for. Be sure to check with your provider for other ways to earn miles – and thereby keep your current miles from expiring.
If your frequent flyer miles have expired, you may be able to get them back. Some airlines will reinstate your miles if they expire. However, doing so comes at a fee. Some charge a flat fee and others charge a fee per mile and a processing fee. Determine whether or not you’d make out better by leaving your miles expired or paying to reinstate them, as you may have to pay up to several hundred dollars to do so – which can be more than they are worth in some cases.
By planning ahead, you should be able to avoid losing your frequent flyer miles. Check with your provider for the expiration date on your miles and ways in which you can keep them alive. Also, consider switching to a better frequent flyer program if yours isn’t working well for you. Racking up a load of miles isn’t going to do you much good if they tend to expire before you use them. So, stay on top of your frequent flyer miles to avoid losing them, as you’ll have to pay for your next flight out of pocket if you don’t!