American Pausing Mileage Expiration Through End Of Year, Will Restore Recently-Expired Miles

Delta, United, Southwest, and JetBlue no longer expire miles, period. American Airlines does – requiring activity in your account every 18 months, or else you lose the miles you’ve already earned.

During the global pandemic, with program members not traveling, American waited until April to pause mileage expiration – and only did so through June. They started expiring miles again July 1. That just chases away members. They aren’t pushing away purely inactive members, moving costs off the balance sheet. They’re pushing away members who might still be active, and doing so in a way that leaves a bad taste in members’ mouths during Covid-19.

It looks like they’ve had a belated change of heart, because serial leaker JonNYC reports that American Airlines will again pause mileage expiration through the end of the calendar year.

They will also restore miles that they’ve expired since July 1, and anyone who paid to get their miles back will not receive a refund, but will be given bonus miles for the price they’ve paid instead.

This is ‘better than a hole in the head’ as my late grandfather used to say.

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. Expiring point, while not popular is a smart business call. Point liabilities can be huge to a business and keeping millions of accounts open with a handful of point doesn’t do the business or the individual any good. For example, we used to have the DL AMEX and fly DL a lot but when we moved out of a DL hub cities, we stopped flying them and cancelled the card. We now live in an AA hub city and switched to the AAdvantage citi card. We don’t need to fly, just use the card every 17 months to keep your miles. We do fly AA 6 to 18 times a year, but used to fly both but since keeping the DL Amex didn’t do much and my DL miles never go anywhere, I just save them and AA gets the business. If I had motivation to keep my miles, I would fly DL a few times a year.

    The business case for loyalty and liability is sound, better to expire.

  2. People are lazy. American has 1,000 partners where you can earn even a few miles to keep miles from expiring.

  3. @Kevin – You’re absolutely right, but most people don’t have the engagement that you and I do. I manage my parents miles and if it wasn’t for me keeping their accounts active, they’d have lost on enough miles for several trips through the year.

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