As a family of frequent travelers, we belong to dozens of loyalty programs. While we do our best to keep our points and miles organized, some occasionally slip through the cracks and we forget to make the most of them before the expiration dates.
To avoid losing your hard-earned points and miles, look for ways of keeping your loyalty accounts active. Here are some helpful tips to stay on top of your rewards:
The average household belongs to 29 loyalty programs, which can make it tricky to keep tabs on all your earned points and miles before they expire. But, by educating yourself on their expiration dates, you can make sure none of your rewards go unused. Consider keeping a log of expiration dates in a travel journal, marking dates on your calendar, or using online tools like the Points Loyalty Wallet to keep your rewards top of mind.
To get you started, here’s a roundup of some top programs and their required time frames for activity:
Alaska Mileage Plan – 24 Months
Choice Privileges – On Dec 31 – 2 years after the year of last activity (non-extendable)
Club Carlson – 24 Months
Delta Skymiles – No expiration
Hilton HHonors – 12 Months
Hyatt Gold Passport – 24 Months
IHG Rewards – 12 Months
Marriott Rewards – 24 Months
Southwest Rapid Rewards – 24 Months
Starwood Preferred Guest – 24 Months
Share the wealth
Did you know that keeping your account active can be as simple as buying, gifting or transferring your points or miles? If you don’t have enough points to book a flight, consider topping up your account by buying points. Or, if travel is not in your near future, consider sharing the wealth by transferring your unused points to family and friends. In many cases, it just takes a little shuffling of points to reset your expiration dates.
For example, Marriott Rewards members can transfer 1,000 to 50,000 points per year for a transaction fee of just $10 (Gold and Platinum Elite members can do so for free). And Choice Hotels members can purchase up to 50,000 Choice Privileges points in a year, helping members keep their accounts active, even if they aren’t traveling.
Donate to charity
If charitable giving is one of your 2017 resolutions, why not donate a portion of your unused rewards to a charity of your choice? Loyalty programs like Marriott, Hilton and Southwest offer members the ability to donate loyalty rewards to charity. Pick from many national organizations like the American Red Cross or Make-A-Wish Foundation. While many hotel and airline loyalty programs have pre-selected charity partners, others even let you select a charity of your choosing – meaning you can donate soon-to-expire points to a charity you’re truly passionate about.