Members of most frequent flyer programs in the U.S. have between 18 and 24 months to generate some type of earn or burn activity to keep their accounts active, but what happens if someone is overseas on a military deployment or incarcerated and unable to keep their account active? This question was recently posed by Los Angeles resident Errol Segal, who lost 346,000 miles on United Airlines while he was serving a 41-month prison sentence for fraud. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Segal’s miles expired in June 2008 and if he had contacted United by June 2009, it’s possible he could have had his miles reinstated. United spokesperson Sarah Massier says that United will “work with anyone on a case-by-case basis. You just have to contact us within 12 months of your miles expiring.”
Bottom line: Even convicted criminals have a chance at getting their miles back. But they still have to follow the rules. If you ever find yourself with expired miles, call the airline and they may be able to reinstate your miles if you have a legitimate reason for why you weren’t able to earn or redeem miles within the specified time frame.