At a Glance
Credit card rewards, points, and miles are valuable perks many cardholders strive to accumulate. These rewards can be redeemed for travel, cash back, gift cards, or other valuable benefits. However, it’s essential to understand the rules surrounding these rewards, as they may have expiration dates or conditions that can lead to their loss. Let’s explore how you might lose your credit card rewards and provide tips on keeping them from expiring.
In this article, you’ll learn:
The average value of one credit card point.
Do general credit card rewards expire?
General credit card rewards typically do not expire as long as the credit card is open and in good standing.
|Credit Card||Reward Benefits||Rewards Expiration|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Flexible travel points, transferable to airline and hotel partners||Points do not expire as long as the card is open and in good standing|
|American Express® Gold Card||Membership Rewards points, dining, and travel benefits||Points do not expire as long as the card is open and in good standing|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||Cash back on all purchases||Rewards do not expire as long as the card is open and in good standing|
|Discover it® Cash Back||Cash back on rotating categories||Rewards do not expire as long as the card is open and in good standing|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||Miles for travel purchases, transferable to airline partners||Rewards do not expire as long as the card is open and in good standing|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card||Points for travel, dining, and entertainment||Points do not expire as long as the card is open and in good standing|
Do airline credit card rewards expire?
Airline credit card rewards typically have varying expiration policies depending on the specific credit card and airline reward program. Here is a table showcasing different airline credit cards and their associated reward programs:
|Credit Card||Airline Reward Program||Rewards Expiration|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®||American Airlines AAdvantage||Miles expire after 18 months of inactivity|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||Delta SkyMiles||Miles do not expire|
|United℠ Explorer Card||United MileagePlus||Miles do not expire|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card||Southwest Rapid Rewards||Points do not expire|
|JetBlue Plus Card||JetBlue TrueBlue||Points do not expire|
|Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card||Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||Miles do not expire|
|British Airways Visa Signature® Card||British Airways Executive Club||Avios expire after 36 months of inactivity|
|Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®||Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||Miles expire after 36 months of inactivity|
Hotel credit card reward expiration policy
Hotel credit card reward expiration policies can vary depending on the specific credit card and hotel loyalty program. Here is a table showcasing different hotel credit cards and their associated reward programs:
|Credit Card||Hotel Reward Program||Rewards Expiration|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||Hilton Honors||Points do not expire|
|Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card||Marriott Bonvoy||Points do not expire as long as there is account activity within 24 months|
|World of Hyatt Credit Card||World of Hyatt||Points do not expire as long as there is account activity within 24 months|
|IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card||IHG Rewards Club||Points do not expire|
|Wyndham Rewards® Visa® Card||Wyndham Rewards||Points expire after 4 years of inactivity|
|Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card||Radisson Rewards||Points expire after 24 months of inactivity|
|Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card||Choice Privileges||Points expire after 18 months of inactivity|
Ways you might lose your rewards
One common reason for losing credit card rewards is inactivity. If you fail to use your credit card for an extended period, typically ranging from 12 to 24 months, some issuers may deem your account inactive. As a result, they may either cancel your rewards or start charging an inactivity fee.
2. Late payment
Late payments can also lead to the forfeiture of your credit card rewards. If you miss a payment or pay your bill after the due date, the issuer may penalize you by nullifying the rewards you earned during that billing period. To avoid this, making your payments on time and in full is crucial.
3. Delinquent account
A delinquent account, where you consistently fail to make payments or exceed your credit limit, can result in the cancellation of your rewards. When your account is in poor standing, the issuer may revoke your accumulated rewards due to non-compliance with the credit card agreement.
4. Returning item purchased with the card
If you make a purchase using your credit card and later return the item, some issuers may deduct the corresponding reward points from your account. This policy aims to discourage abuse or manipulation of the rewards system.
5. Closing an account
Closing your credit card account may lead to the loss of your rewards, especially if you don’t redeem them before closing. It’s essential to review the terms and conditions of your credit card program to understand how closure impacts your rewards balance.
6. Cancellation of reward program
Occasionally, credit card issuers may discontinue their reward programs altogether. In such cases, the rewards you accumulated could become void if you haven’t redeemed them before the cancellation. Stay informed about program changes or updates to avoid losing your hard-earned rewards.
Ways to keep rewards from getting expired
While it’s crucial to be aware of the potential pitfalls, there are several strategies you can employ to safeguard your credit card rewards and prevent them from expiring prematurely.
1. Choose a credit card with flexible earning
Opting for a credit card with flexible earning and redemption options can be advantageous. Look for cards that allow you to redeem rewards for various purposes, such as travel, merchandise, or cash back. This flexibility ensures that you can utilize your rewards effectively, minimizing the risk of expiration.
2. Get an elite status credit card
Elite status credit cards often have additional benefits and perks, including extended reward expiration periods. These cards typically cater to frequent travelers or high-spending individuals. You can enjoy longer grace periods for redeeming your rewards by attaining elite status.
3. Transfer rewards to someone else
Some credit card programs allow you to transfer your rewards to another person. If you anticipate not using your rewards in time, consider transferring them to a family member or friend who can put them to good use. This way, the rewards remain valuable and don’t go to waste.
4. Donate rewards to charity
Donating your rewards to charitable organizations is an excellent way to utilize them, especially if you’re unable to redeem them for personal benefit. Many credit card programs partner with charitable foundations, allowing you to make a positive impact while avoiding expiration.
In many cases, yes. Credit card points or rewards typically have expiration dates, and if you fail to redeem them within that time frame, they may expire and become unusable.
Credit card rewards can disappear for various reasons, including account inactivity, late payments, closing the account without redeeming rewards, or the issuer’s cancellation of the reward program. Understanding the terms and conditions of your specific credit card is crucial to prevent the loss of your rewards.
The frequency of cashing out credit card rewards depends on your personal preference and the rules of your credit card program. Some individuals prefer to accumulate a substantial amount before redeeming, while others prefer to redeem rewards regularly to maximize their value. Check with your credit card issuer to understand the redemption options available to you.
The duration for which reward points last varies depending on the credit card program and issuer. It’s common for reward points to expire within 12 to 24 months of inactivity or after a specified period if not used or redeemed. It’s essential to review the terms and conditions of your specific credit card to determine the expiration period for your rewards.