Take inventory of points, miles and flight credits to set your future travel goals – The Points Guy

As we emerge from the busiest travel season in years, this is a good opportunity to take stock of what’s in your travel accounts: that means points, miles and all those refunds of flight and travel credits you may have accumulated in the previous two years. a year and a half of COVID-19 throwing a spanner in travel plans. Although you may have just made a big buyout or used up most of the credits you have, it’s good to know what you’ll have to work with going forward; not to mention you’d hate to leave credits on the table because they’ve expired.

This goes for airlines and hotels with which you have recently traveled, and those with which you have not traveled.

It’s a great time of year to ask a few key questions:

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  • How many points and miles are there in your different accounts?
  • Do you have travel credits with airlines?
  • When do they expire?
  • Are you within reach of a new level of elite status after your summer travels?

Taking a few minutes to log into your accounts can also help you answer a few other questions:

  • Where are you with your next redemption?
  • What would it take to move to the next level of elite status?
  • Which airline credits could expire soon?
  • What should you do to prevent your points and miles from expiring?

This inventory could not only help you avoid leaving points, miles, or cash on the table, but also help you build your revenue strategy in the future.

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Airline miles

An American Airlines plane sits at the gate of John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). SEAN CUDAHY/THE DOT GUY

The best way to check your mileage balance is to log into your account online or via the airline’s app.

Once you know how many miles you have, you should take a look at the latest TPG ratings to see their approximate value. This is also a good time to start browsing the airline’s website to see what you might be looking for in terms of reward prices for future travel.

Airline mile expiry

As far as mileage expiration among the four largest US airlines, the only loyalty program where this really comes into play is American Airlines’ AAdvantage program, because miles/points on Delta, United, and Southwest do not expire.

Even in the AAdvantage program, where miles expire again if you have no activity on your account for 24 months, there are plenty of ways to keep your miles active, whether it’s flying, shopping, opening or simply having certain credit cards, as long as your account is in good standing.

Even when your miles technically expire, you can reactivate up to half a million miles within two years with just one qualifying transaction. AAdvantage miles do not expire for those under 21.

Airline flight credits and expiration

Take inventory

With a big summer travel season behind us, chances are you’ve used most of your flight credits — which many travelers accumulated in the first two years of the pandemic. But now is a good time to check and make sure you’ve used all that’s available. If you’re wondering if anyone would actually leave flight credits on the table, look no further than the billions of dollars in unspent gift card funds.

No, you probably didn’t forget about $300 in your airline account, but here’s an example of what I found while doing my inventory: After having to cancel a flight on Southwest Airlines just around New Years, for the thrust of omicron has sown uncertainty in the voyage. equation, I ended up with several hundred dollars in southwestern flight credit – more which I used on a trip to Florida this summer.

However, I logged into my Southwest Rapid Rewards account and discovered – and voila – I had about $40 left that could be applied to another trip,


You can usually find all the credits you have on each airline by logging into your loyalty account. However, it may happen that the credits are not linked to your account. This can be especially true if you got some kind of gate voucher during flight disruptions.

Major US airlines each have ways to find and claim your credits by entering either your information or the flight voucher/credit confirmation number.

For example, on the American website, there is a banner at the top of the home page where you can search for travel credits.


Delta has a guide to help you locate eCredits. If you don’t see credits listed when you access your United MileagePlus account, there is a link to this page where you can search by credit confirmation number and last name.


Travel credit expiry

A United Airlines plane waiting to take off. SEAN CUDAHY/THE DOT GUY

When travel credits expire depends on the type of credit, as each airline has several types, and the type of credit you got depends largely on what you got it for. There’s usually a difference between a voucher the airline gives you because you had some kind of bad service on your trip, and the credits you get because you canceled a ticket.

  • American offers three types of travel credits: travel credits, flight credits, and travel vouchers. Travel credits and travel vouchers expire one year from date of issue, unless otherwise specified; flight credits must be used for travel commencing one year after date of issue.
  • Delta offers several types of credits, but if you received credit due to a canceled trip, chances are you received eCredits. Delta eCredits must be used by December 31, 2023 for travel through 2024.
  • Future United flight credits, which are likely what you received if you got credit for a canceled or changed flight, must be used by December 31, 2023 for travel through 2024.
  • Southwest Flight Credits, which you earn when you cancel a non-refundable ticket at least 10 minutes before boarding, do not expire. If you received a good LUV for some reason, this will be have an expiration date noted on it.

Can you split flight credit?

You might think that one way to ensure you use up remaining flight credit is to share it with another traveler, like a family member who has an upcoming trip. However, whether you are allowed to do this depends on the airline and, again, the type of credit you are dealing with.

  • American: Travel vouchers can be used to book travel for anyone; travel credits and flight credits must be used by the person who received them.
  • United: You can only use future flight credits for other travelers if you received them by August 21, 2021. If you obtained a travel certificate by giving up your seat voluntarily or for another reason, this can be used by anyone.
  • Southwest: Travelers who received transferable flight credit for the cancellation of a Wanna Get Away Plus, Anytime or Business Select ticket may transfer their credit to another Rapid Rewards member.

Hotel Points and Expiration


As with airline loyalty programs, now is also a good time to see how many hotel points you have in your account, how many nights or stays you need to reach the next level of Elite status, and reflect what it would take to reach your next redemption goal.

As the end of the year approaches, some larger hotel loyalty programs will resume their expirations. With Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors, you have until December 31, 2022.

It’s also quite easy to prevent your hotel points from expiring, whether by staying at a property, redeeming them, spending them with partners, or with a co-branded credit card. The points most likely to disappear are those you earned with a hotel loyalty program if you haven’t made a recent stay. For example, if you are a loyal World of Hyatt customer, but occasionally stay at Marriott Bonvoy properties but haven’t in a while, you might want to double-check your Marriott Bonvoy account.

Generally, Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt points expire after 24 months without activity. IHG One Rewards points expire after 12 months of inactivity

At the end of the line


Now that the busy summer travel season is over, it’s a good time to check your loyalty accounts to take stock of how many miles and points you have and make sure you’ve used every last dollar. in credits when planning your next getaway.

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