Travel Tips

Travel Tip: How to Reinstate Your Expired Miles

unitedIf you’re a casual collector of frequent flyer miles, then listen up. The airlines may just empty your account if it’s not kept active. Here’s how you can get those expired miles back.

Airlines earn a lot by selling frequent flyer miles to partners: credit card companies, rental car agencies…you name it. Then, they count on you not being able to redeem award tickets (which they control) or expiring altogether (which you control).

To make it even harder, Delta and United now link earned miles with how much you spend. So, if you only buy the occasional low-priced tickets, you’re more likely to have a low mileage balance that you simply forget about.

Most airline miles expire after 18 to 24 months of inactivity. Delta is an exception, with no expiration date.

The good news is that they will alert you ahead of time. At that point, you just have to earn or spend miles—even if it’s on a magazine subscription—to keep the account active.

But remember, it can take up to six weeks for miles to post. But if they are deleted in the meantime, it can cost hundreds of dollars to reactivate the account.

For more information, visit the Mileage and Reward Program archives.

Keep reading for more travel tips.