Do Credit Card Rewards, Points and Miles Expire?

Do Credit Card Rewards, Points and Miles Expire?

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Credit card points and miles won't expire as long as your account remains open. However, points and miles earned with airline and hotel loyalty programs do typically expire following a lack of activity.

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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. However, there are many ways you can keep your points and miles from expiring, including spending on your co-branded credit card (more on that below).

Note, 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.

Pause on points and miles expiration due to COVID-19

Many hotel and airline loyalty programs have made their points expiration policies more flexible during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example:

  • Marriott Bonvoy: paused through March 31, 2022
  • World of Hyatt: paused through Dec. 31, 2021
  • Hilton: paused through Dec. 31, 2021
  • IHG: paused through Dec. 31, 2021 for Club members
  • United: United has extended PlusPoints an additional six months beyond their expiration if you have PlusPoints that expire on or after Jan. 1, 2021. This includes all PlusPoints earned from 2019 and 2020 activity.
  • American Airlines: paused through Dec. 31, 2021
  • Delta SkyMiles: Never expire
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards: Never expire

These temporary changes to expiration policies can be incredibly useful for loyalty members who haven't been actively earning or redeeming rewards during the pandemic and want to avoid losing their points and miles.

If you're not sure whether your loyalty program has put a pause on points and miles expiration, you'll want to check online for recent policy changes.

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Do credit card points expire?

Rewards earned on general travel or cashback credit cards issued by the major banks typically don’t expire as long as your account remains open. For example, there is no Chase Ultimate Rewards® expiration and Barclaycard points don't expire, either. The exceptions are Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and Citi in specific cases (detailed in the second chart).

Some rewards (e.g., Chase Ultimate Rewards® and Amex Membership Rewards) can be transferred to airline or hotel loyalty programs. Once transferred, rewards cannot be moved back to their original program and are subject to the expiration policies of the program you transferred them to.

Issuer program
When do points expire?
American Express Membership RewardsNever
Bank of America Travel RewardsNever
Barclays Arrival MilesNever
Capital One RewardsNever
Chase Ultimate Rewards®Never
Citi ThankYou RewardsSee next chart
Discover Cashback RewardsNever
Wells Fargo Rewards Points5 years
U.S. Bank FlexPerks5 years
Citi card
When do points expire?
  • CitiBusiness ThankYou® Card
  • Citi Prestige® Credit Card
  • AT&T Access Card from Citi
  • AT&T Access More
Never
Citi PremierPass/Expedia® Rewards Card from Citi18 months

Do airline miles expire?

With most major airlines, your miles never expire — however, American Airlines and British Airways are the two major exceptions. Earning and redeeming miles on a semi-regular basis will keep your miles from expiring with these two programs.

Generally, any miles you earn and deposit into your frequent flyer account remain available even if you close your co-branded credit card.

Airline program
When do miles expire?
AAdvantage (American Airlines)18 months
Delta SkyMilesNever
JetBlue TrueBlueNever
Southwest Rapid RewardsNever
MileagePlus (United Airlines)Never
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanNever
British Airways Avios36 months

Do hotel points expire?

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, your points won’t expire. The inactivity period is generally between 12 months to 24 months.

Wyndham Rewards is one exception to this rule among major hotel programs — though you can keep points from expiring in 18 months with account activity, your rewards will expire after 48 months regardless of whether your account is active. (This is a major drawback of Wyndham Rewards.)

Similar to airline rewards, any travel points earned through a co-branded hotel card and then deposited into the loyalty program account remain active even if you close the card.

Hotel program
When do points expire?
Choice Privileges18 months
Hilton Honors12 months
IHG Rewards Club12 months
Marriott Bonvoy Points24 months
World of Hyatt24 months
Wyndham Rewards18 months with no account activity (48 months with account activity)
Best Western RewardsNever

What counts as account activity?

You can keep points or miles from expiring in a number of different ways:

  • Booking travel with your rewards
  • Using your co-branded credit card for purchases
  • Buying a flight or hotel using your loyalty program number
  • Shopping through the loyalty program’s shopping portal (if it has one)
  • Dining with the loyalty program’s dining rewards program (if it has one)
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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. Once the transfer is complete, the rewards cannot be transferred back to the credit card rewards program and will be subject to the expiration rules of the new program.
  • Rewards program cancellation: Issuers generally can cancel their rewards programs at any time. They will typically 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.
  • Program or company (i.e. major airline) goes bankrupt: Even if the airline or hotel chain for which you have loyalty membership goes bankrupt, generally you should still be able to use your points or miles once the company returns to better standing.

How to keep points and miles from expiring

There are a number of simple ways to keep your points and miles from expiring:

1. Use your points or miles

The No. 1 way to avoid losing your points and miles is to earn and redeem them. Making frequent, even small, purchases with your loyalty program will allow you to earn rewards and avoid losing your existing points and miles. Conversely, redeeming miles for flights, hotel stays, statement credits or any other of your program's available redemption options will also register as activity on your account and keep you from losing your rewards.

2. Use a co-branded credit card

Co-branded airline and hotel credit cards, like the Hilton Honors American Express Card, let you earn hotel loyalty program points every time you use the card. If you tend to fly with a particular airline or prefer to stay with a particular hotel chain, these types of credit cards can be incredibly useful. To prevent your points from expiring, all you need to do is make a purchase on your card.

3. Shop through your loyalty program's online shopping portal

Check to see if your airline or hotel loyalty program has an online shopping portal and use it to make a purchase. Not only can shopping portals save you money on purchases, but they’ll also earn you rewards points, preventing your existing points from expiring.

4. Transfer points from another rewards program

Some rewards programs allow you to transfer your points and miles to other rewards programs: Chase Ultimate Rewards® and American Express Membership Rewards, for example. Say your JetBlue TrueBlue points are about to expire — all you need to do is transfer some of your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points over to your JetBlue account to generate activity and effectively reset the expiration period for that account. (Note, we don’t recommend transferring a large number of points unless you plan to redeem them soon.)

5. Keep your account open and in good standing

In order to keep your points and miles from expiring, it's essential to keep your account open and in good standing. This means paying off your balance in full and on time every month and avoiding closing your account in order to maintain your well-earned points and miles.

6. Earn points through dining programs

Some loyalty programs allow you to earn points whenever you dine in or order takeout at restaurants affiliated with their particular dining program. Utilizing a dining program will allow you to earn points and maintain the active status of your points simply by eating out.

Points and miles expiration FAQs

How long do reward points last?

Typically, no credit card rewards expire as long as the account remains open, but hotel and airline loyalty program points can last anywhere from 12 to 24 months (with some exceptions) from the last time of account activity.

Do Visa Rewards points expire?

Most credit card points never expire for the life of the account, though you'll want to double check the terms of your specific credit card to make sure.

Do RBC Rewards points expire?

Yes, all RBC Rewards points expire after three years, so you'll want to be sure to use them before they expire.

Do Capital One reward miles ever expire?

No, Capital One reward miles never expire as long as your account remains open. However, if you close your account, you will lose your reward miles.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

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).