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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 Expiration by Airline & Hotel Loyalty Program
- Other Ways to Lose Your Rewards
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.
|When Do Points Expire?|
|American Express Membership Rewards||Never|
|Bank of America Travel Rewards||Never|
|Barclays Arrival Miles||Never|
|Capital One Rewards||Never|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||Never|
|Citi ThankYou Rewards||See next chart|
|Wells Fargo Rewards Points||5 years|
|U.S. Bank FlexPerks||5 years|
|Citi card||When Do Points Expire?|
|Citi PremierPass/Expedia Card||18 months|
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 program||When Do Miles Expire?|
|AAdvantage (American Airlines)||18 months|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||24 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 program||When Do Points Expire?|
|Choice Privileges||18 months|
|HIlton Honors||12 months|
|IHG Rewards Club||12 months|
|Marriott Rewards||24 months|
|Starwood Preferred Guest||12 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.