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Rewards Programs

When do credit card rewards, airline miles, hotel points expire?

Programs are complicated, inconsistent, and inactivity can cost you

Summary

Your credit card rewards could have an expiration date, and if you ignore that deadline you could be throwing away money

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Just like the milk in your fridge, your credit card rewards could have an expiration date.

Ignore that deadline and you’re throwing away money.

“There’s a lot of confusion around loyalty currency expiration, and that’s not a surprise, given how complicated and inconsistent the individual policies can be,” says Zach Honig, editor-in-chief at The Points Guy.

Every card plays by a different set of rules. And, as that fine print on your card agreement informs you, card issuers can change the terms at any time.

So, if you’ve ever lost card rewards, you’re definitely not alone.

“We all go through this,” says Daniel Tulbovich, co-founder of RewardExpert.com. “You forget – then you really can lose some of them.

“The best advice, especially for those who don’t want to keep track: It’s not about the card, it’s about the program,” he says. “You simply get a flexible program that gives you the most value and points – and doesn’t expire at all.”

Either that, or really dig in to understand all the rules and regs behind your favorite rewards programs, says Tulbovich. And read every email or bill flier you receive, to stay current.

Need to check the current rules on your favorite rewards cards? Here’s a rundown on everything from rewards cards to co-branded airline and hotel cards – along with a few tips for keeping rewards fresh:

Rewards credit cards
Even some rewards with no expiration date are only valid if your credit card account is in good standing. If you want to keep accumulating those rewards, follow the same rules you would to build good credit:

  • Make every payment on time.
  • Always pay at least the minimum.
  • Never exceed your credit limit.

In some rewards programs, even one missed or late payment could mean waving bye-bye to those goodies you wanted to get gratis.

“One surefire way to forfeit your credit card rewards is to close the only card you have linked to your credit card program,” says Honig. But that doesn’t apply to airline and hotel programs. “Once your points arrive in a partner account, they’re safe once you close your card – though individual program expiration policies will apply,” he says.

GENERAL-PURPOSE CARD REWARDS PROGRAMS’ EXPIRATION POLICIES*
Card/rewards programRewards expiration date
ABOC Platinum Rewards MasterCardNone
American Express Everyday/Gold/PlatinumNone
American Express Premier Rewards GoldNone
Bank Americard Travel RewardsNone
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCardNone
Capital One Venture Rewards/Premier Dining RewardsNone
Chase Sapphire Reserve/PreferredNone
Citi ThankYou Premier/Preferred/PrestigeNone
Discover it MilesNone
MasterCard Titanium/Gold/Black Luxury CardsNone
USAA Rewards American Express/Visa SignatureNone
Expedia+ Card/Voyager Card from CitiNo expiration date as long as you using or redeeming points at least every 18 months. Members redeem points for coupons, which expire after one year.
Charity Charge World MasterCardThree years from the calendar quarter in which your rewards posted to your account.
Navy Federal Credit Union Go RewardsAfter four years
PenFed Platinum Rewards Signature VisaAfter five years
PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American ExpressAfter five years
US Bank FlexPerks Select+/Gold American ExpressFive years from the end of calendar quarter in which points are earned.
Wells Fargo Propel American ExpressAfter five years

Hotel rewards credit cards
Hotel rewards cards often combine their own affinity rewards programs with a rewards credit card. Cardholders who want to keep all their rewards from expiring need to ask both about the affinity program requirements and the rewards credit card rules, says Honig.

HOTEL REWARDS CARDS’ EXPIRATION POLICIES*
Card/Rewards ProgramRewards expiration date
Best Western Rewards/Premium Rewards MasterCardNone
Club Carlson Platinum Rewards/Rewards Visa Signature/Premier Rewards Visa SignatureNo expiration as long as you use/redeem points at least once every 24 months. E-certificates expire one year after the issue date.
Hilton HHonors and Hilton HHonors Surpass from American ExpressNo expiration as long as you use your Hilton HHonors account at least once every 12 months to keep it active. Event vouchers expire one year from the redemption date.
Hyatt Visa Signature from ChaseNo expiration as long as you use the Hyatt points account every 24 months.
IHG Rewards Club SelectNo expiration as long as card is used at least once every 12 months.
Marriott Rewards PremierNo expiration as long as card is used every 24 months.
Ritz-Carlton Rewards VisaNo expiration as long as you use the card or otherwise earn rewards at least every 24 months. E-certificates expire one year after issue date.
Starwood Preferred Guest from American ExpressNo expiration as long as you keep your SPG membership active by using it at least once a year. Also, Starwood points issued/earned through Vistana will expire after six years.
Wyndham Rewards VisaRewards expire four years after posting to a member account. In addition, to keep them active for that period, you must use the account at least every 18 months.

Airline/rail rewards credit cards
Like hotel-branded cards, many airline cards combine card rewards with their own affinity programs. That means that, with some, you may have to use the card within a specific time frame to keep the rewards – even when rewards technically don’t expire.

AIRLINE, RAIL REWARDS CARDS’ EXPIRATION POLICIES*
Card/Rewards ProgramRewards expiration date
Alaska Airlines Visa SignatureNo expiration. Also, rewards can be reclaimed up to one year after closing account.
Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCardNo expiration as long as account is open and you use/redeem rewards every 36 months.
British Airways Visa SignatureNo expiration as long as you collect or use points every 36 months.
Citi/AAdvantage Executive/Platinum Select World Elite MasterCardNo expiration, as long as you use/redeem rewards every 18 months.
Gold Delta SkyMiles from American ExpressNone
JetBlue/JetBlue PlusNone
Platinum Delta SkyMiles from American ExpressNone
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus/PremierNo expiration as long as you use the card every 24 months.
United MileagePlus ExplorerNo expiration as long as card account is open.

*The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date. Please see the banks’ websites for the most current version of card offers.

See related: Maximizing card rewards after you’ve earned the sign-up bonus

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: September 18th, 2019
Business
15.45%
Airline
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Cash Back
17.52%
Reward
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Student
17.58%

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