Simple Trick To Keep Points From Expiring

simple travel trick

When you start to get serious about collecting miles, points and other digital currency to help you achieve your travel goals, you end up with lots of accounts spread all over the place. Keeping your miles and points in a single location such as becomes increasingly important to help you track and manage your various account balances.

You will find over time you will collect points that go unused. Some of those, especially points banked with airlines, will expire after a period of inactivity (typically when you haven’t gotten any miles for a set period of time like 1 year).

We all know the shopping thru an airline shopping portal is a no brainer way to bank extra miles for purchases you’re already going to make.  Did you know know that a simple way to keep miles from expiring, especially airline miles, is to use the airline’s shopping portal to make a small purchase. This will bank a few miles into your account and extend the expiration date of your current miles.

I recently used this trick to keep a few thousand United miles from expiring. I no longer have a United Airlines branded credit card, and can’t remember the last time I flew on United. My miles were showing an expiration date of May 2015. Keeping a few thousand miles active is not worth a mileage run or anything crazy, however, those of us who collect miles and points, leaving even a few hundred on the table can be enough to keep you up at night.

I simply logged into my United MileagePlus account, clicked through the shopping port to an online merchant I was already going to purchase something from, and voila, miles expiration date was extended to May 2016!

Here’s the general process that should apply to any airline with a shopping portal:

  1. Log into your frequent flyer account.
  2. From your frequent flyer account, you’re looking for the Shopping Portal (this can be named different things on different sites, for instance Southwest calls it Rapid Rewards Shopping).  You can also look for an “Earn Miles” link.  See the example from United’s site below.
  3. Once on the Shopping Portal, find a merchant to purchase from, click thru to the merchant’s site, make your purchase and bank the miles!

Here’s where United’s link is:

United Airlines Shopping Portal

Clicking on the “Earn Award Miles” link takes you to the following page:

United Airlines Shopping Portal

By clicking on the MilesPlus Shopping link, you will be taken to the United MileagePlus Shopping Portal.  Click thru to a merchant, make a purchase and earn extra miles as well as extending the expiration date of your miles.

Here is a list of some of the more popular airline shopping portals:

Alaska – Mileage Plan Shopping

American – AAdvantage eShopping

Delta – SkyMiles Shopping

Hawaiian – Hawaiian Airlines eMarket

JetBlue – ShopTrue

Southwest – Rapid Rewards Shopping

United – MileagePlus Shopping

US Airways – Dividend Miles Storefront

Virgin Atlantic – ShopsAway