Following the trend to place an expiration date on miles, as of Dec. 15, 2007, American AAdvantage members’ miles will expire from AAdvantage accounts that have not had miles either earned or redeemed within the previous 18-month period. Members have until Dec. 15 to prevent any mileage set to expire on that date from expiring. Members of the program recently received e-mails stating, “Because we value your participation in the AAdvantage program, we want to let you know about an upcoming program change” and continues with details mapping out the change and all the ways in which members can earn or redeem miles to keep their account active.
Members can verify their last activity date by logging in to AA.com with their AAdvantage number and password. Click on “View All” in the “View My Miles” section. Just above the Mileage Summary, the last activity date is noted. If your last activity date was between Jan. 1, 2000-May 31, 2004, those miles have expired. If your last activity date was between June 1, 2004-June 15, 2006, those miles will expire Dec. 15, 2007. Activity dates between June 16, 2006 and beyond will expire 18 months later.
In the fine print, the airline states that “Any mileage earning or redeeming activity will prevent your miles from expiring for 18 months.” This is different from Delta’s two-year expiration policy implementation where certain bonus miles would not extend miles, leading to some confused and ultimately angry members who lost miles. Also different, is that American is giving its members fair warning of the change, a benefit of waiting to implement this change in policy and having the advantage of hindsight.
Furthermore, even if your miles expire after American’s advance warning, you have the option to reactivate some or all of your expired miles through the reactivateAAmiles program. Miles that expired on or after Dec. 31, 2002 are eligible for reactivation. There’s no limit to the number of expired miles you can reactivate but there is a $50 fee for every 5,000 miles, plus a $30 processing fee per transaction, per account. This offer is only available through Dec. 31, 2007. Reactivated miles will not expire as long as you have qualifying activity in any 18-month period, but the miles do not count toward elite status. And it should go without saying that this should be a last resort. Earning miles before the Dec. 15 deadline would be the best way to go. For a full FAQ on the change in policy, visit http://insideflyerus.wpengine.com/link/?427
US Airways and United also have 18-month mileage expiration policies. Continental OnePass miles do not have a set expiration time limit but the program does stipulate: “If no mileage is deposited in your account for 18 consecutive months, your membership may be cancelled, and your miles may be forfeited.”