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Do Credit Card Rewards, Points and Miles Expire?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

Point or miles you earn with a regular rewards credit card largely don’t expire. But even the few exceptions give you ample time to redeem those rewards. Miles and points earned on co-branded hotel and airline travel rewards cards do expire usually if you are not active in redeeming them for 12 to 24 months, depending on the terms of the hotel or airline loyalty program.

Note that the terms of these points and miles are dictated by card issuers or the respective companies that run loyalty programs. These rules may be subject to change, so you should always double check whether the information on this page still holds true before committing to any financial decision.

Rewards Expiration by Credit Card Issuer

Rewards earned on general travel or cash back credit cards issued by the major banks typically don’t expire. The exceptions are Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and Citi in specific cases detailed in the second chart. It’s important to note, though, that some rewards can be transferred to airline or hotel loyalty programs. Once transferred, those rewards cannot be moved back for other redemption options offered by the credit card. Here is how each of major U.S. credit card issuers treat the expiration of their rewards.

Issuer Program

When Do Points Expire?
American Express Membership RewardsNever
Bank of America Travel RewardsNever
Barclays Arrival MilesNever
Capital One RewardsNever
Chase Ultimate RewardsNever
Citi ThankYou RewardsSee next chart
Discover RewardsNever
Wells Fargo Rewards Points5 years
U.S. Bank FlexPerks5 years
Citi cardWhen Do Points Expire?
  • CitiBusiness ThankYou Card
  • Citi Chairman Card
  • Citi Prestige Card
  • AT&T Access Card
  • AT&T Access More Card
  • AT&T Universal Rewards World MasterCard
Never
Citi PremierPass/Expedia Card18 months
  • AT&T Universal Card
  • AT&T Universal Rewards Card
  • AT&T Universal Savings and Rewards Card
5 years
  • AT&T Universal Business Rewards Card
  • Citi Professional with ThankYou Rewards
  • CitiBusiness Card with ThankYou Rewards
  • CitiBusiness World Card with ThankYou Rewards
3 years

Rewards Expiration by Airline & Hotel Loyalty Programs

Earning and redeeming miles on a semi regular basis keeps your airline miles from expiring. You can do that in a number of different ways: by booking travel with your rewards, using your co-branded credit card for purchases, buying a flight using your frequent flyer number or shopping through the airline retail portals. Generally, any miles you earn and deposit into your frequent flyer account remain available even if you close your co-branded credit card. Here’s how the major airline loyalty programs treat the expiration of their rewards.

Airline programWhen Do Miles Expire?
AAdvantage (American Airlines)18 months
Delta SkyMilesNever
JetBlue TrueBlueNever
Southwest Rapid Rewards24 months
MileagePlus (United Airlines)18 months

Hotel rewards points typically expire if you are inactive in the program. The expiration is not based on when the points were originally earned. That means as long as you earn and redeem your points regularly, then your points won’t expire. The inactivity period is generally between 12 months to 24 months. Wyndham offers the longest inactivity period at four years, or 48 months. Similar to airline rewards, any points earned through co-branded hotel card and then deposited into the loyalty program account remain active even if you close the card. Here’s how the major hotel loyalty programs treat the expiration of their rewards.

Hotel programWhen Do Points Expire?
Choice Privileges18 months
HIlton Honors12 months
IHG Rewards Club12 months
Marriott Rewards24 months
Starwood Preferred Guest12 months

Other Ways to Lose Your Rewards

There are other ways you can lose your rewards, miles or points even if you’re part of a rewards program that has no expiration date. Here are situations to look out for if you want to keep your rewards.

Refunds or returns: If you return a purchase that earned rewards, your rewards account will be reduced accordingly after the return. If you redeemed those rewards before the return, your rewards balance could go negative until future earned rewards bring the balance back to zero.

Transfer points: Some rewards programs allow you to transfer points to hotel or airline loyalty programs. But once the transfer is complete, the rewards cannot be transferred back to the credit card rewards program.

Rewards program cancellation: Issuers generally can cancel their rewards programs at any time. They typically will send a notice about the cancellation and give you a short time to redeem any remaining rewards before they’re lost.

Late payment: Issuers generally will temporarily prevent you from earning or redeeming rewards if you miss a monthly payment. The issuer will reinstate the program, allowing you to earn and redeem points, once you catch up on your payments. In some cases, the issuer may charge a fee to do so.

Delinquent account: If you’ve missed several payments in a row and your account is 60 or 90 days past due, you may forfeit all your rewards permanently. Similarly, some issuers may cancel your rewards altogether if you file for bankruptcy, receivership, reorganization, liquidation, dissolution, or insolvency.

The information related to the AT&T Universal Savings Platinum Credit Card, the Citi Prestige® Card, and the AT&T Universal Savings and Rewards Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Comments and Questions

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

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