When your miles are expiring there are plenty of ways to extend them, depending on the program.
- Some miles don’t expire – like Delta’s and Jetblue’s.
- Some programs don’t let you extend — Singapore Airlines, Etihad Guest for instance.
- Others require you to actually fly (Air France).
- And still others require you to spend on their credit card every month to avoid expiration (Lufthansa).
In general though programs let you extend your miles by earning miles in an account or by redeeming miles. (Avianca LifeMiles extends expiration via earning activity only.)
You can extend your United, American, or Alaska miles by making an online shopping purchase through their portal, by transferring points into your account, or by buying miles.
One of the things I’ve often done for family members’ rarely used mileage accounts I manage is redeem miles for magazines. I’ll choose the cheapest magazine option they’ve got. I can’t tell you the number of Cigar Aficionado subscriptions we’ve had.
Seven airlines let you redeem miles for magazines through Mags4Miles:
I’d personally find a Wall Street Journal redemtion to be useful. I’m currently on a six month free trial with them that started five years ago. I keep suspending delivery, 60 days at a time. That extends the free trial. And while delivery is on suspension you still have access to the Journal’s online content.
There’s actually a couple of interesting options for me based on my zip code:
The Dallas Morning News has gotten pretty tight about paywalling content (and preventing access via incognito browsing so redeeming miles for access may be useful. At least until Conor Shine left a couple of months ago their American Airlines coverage was pretty good.
And the Financial Times often has great content that Google News flags for me, I could use a subscription.