American Airlines Will No Longer Expire Miles For Members Under 21

Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United Airlines no longer expire frequent flyer miles. American Airlines expires miles after 18 months of account inactivity. Alaska Airlines expires miles after 24 months of inactivity.

American AAdvantage will no longer expire miles for accountholders who are less than 21 years old. You can’t drink, you can’t earn miles for wine purchases, how can your miles expire?

  • This new policy starts July 1, when the airline was poised to start expiring miles again after their COVID pause

  • So anyone with a date of birth in their account showing they are less than 21 won’t have their miles expire – and since the counter starts on the 21st birthday, the earliest miles will expire for currently under 21s is age 22 1/2. [Your date of birth needs to be in your account to benefit from this.]

  • Anyone under 21 whose miles expired this year can call AAdvantage customer service to have their miles re-instated.

Last fall United Airlines introduced flight discounts for people 18-22 (“older people pay more”). American makes a similar step towards trying to build loyalty with young people, when certainly,

  • The oldest people have a harder time, and fewer opportunities, to earn miles

  • Right now especially older people are advised to stay home even where states are ‘opening up’

I don’t have a fundamental problem with expiring miles. They’re a way of cutting significant cost out of the program, by rewarding only actively engaged members. Here the airline simultaneously limits their expenses, keeping as many miles off the balance sheet while targeting younger members for future loyalty. I leave it up to you to judge the appropriateness and attractiveness of the offer. Maybe they ought to consider ‘no expiration for members under 21 or over 60’ or just … no expiration, for competitive reasons.

It’s not hard to keep miles from expiring – a couple bucks in a no fee Bask Savings Accoutn, crediting an online shopping purchase through the AAdvantage portal. Unfortunately you can no longer just redeem 300 miles for a magazine subscription you do not want.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The policy is discriminatory for so many reasons IMO from this garbage airline run by the biggest crook fake CEO Parker
    I didn’t need another reason to hate them more but then they always find a way

  2. This is great for my 3yo. I was using the dining program to help keep her
    miles from expiring so not I’ll switch is to keeping her UA miles from expiring.

  3. Great decision.

    I was signed up for AAdvantage when I was 3yo, and have lost countless miles to expiration. Of course, the better option is to just stop expiring miles… so yeah…

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