American Airlines AAdvantage Improves Miles Expiration Policy

Considering that Delta, United and Southwest have all eliminated the expiration of miles, it is certainly odd that American Airlines AAdvantage decided to improve their policy, but only by 6 months! AAdvantage miles will now only expire if you do not have any account activity within a 24-month period, rather than the prior 18-month period.

Perhaps more importantly, AAdvantage has also decided to end its freeze on miles expiration on March 31, 2022.  This doesn’t mean that you have two years from that date to renew activity – it means that you must be sure before then that you have had some activity SINCE March 31, 2020. 

If this applies to you – and it might if you only tend to earn miles from actual travel – then you only have a few weeks left to generate some activity in your AAdvantage account.

What is the Fastest Way to be “Active”?

The easiest (and cheapest) way to remain active is to donate 1,000 miles to charity. Click here for details.

If you have a miles balance that you’d like to keep – but don’t want to buy more miles or have any imminent travel plans – a small donation is the best approach. The transaction should process within a few hours, but could take a day or two.

You could also simply book an award flight. The miles deducted for that award would count as activity. Even if you subsequently decide to cancel that award, you would have the intervening period to earn some miles some other way.

Miles Don’t Expire for Credit Card Holders

If you have an AAdvantage co-branded credit card, your miles will never expire. Of course, if you use the card occasionally, the miles you earn will count as activity.

Considering the amount of time it takes to open an account and complete a statement cycle, applying for a new co-branded credit card isn’t the best way to avoid an imminent expiration of your AA miles.

Hotel Point Conversions

The only hotel chain with a reasonable conversion ratio is Marriott. Marriott points convert on a 3:1 ratio, with a minimum of 3,000 Marriott points needed. Alternatively, you can convert 60,000 Marriott points and receive 25,000 miles.

Other hotel chains also allow their points to be converted into AA miles, but at a much worse ratio. But if you have some orphaned Hilton, IHG or Hyatt points that are also close to expiration, then you can kill two birds with one stone by converting some of them into AA miles.

However, the time any transfer / conversion takes can vary.

Bottom Line

Although “activity-based” expiration policies are infinitely better than “hard expiry” policies, it can be hard for an infrequent traveller to remain active. But unless you want to see your hard-earned AAdvantage miles disappear, you need to be aware of the policy and easy ways to remain active…


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