With many of us quickly approaching the one-year mark of halting all things travel, knowing how to protect your travel points from expiring is critically important.
The rules vary dramatically by vendor. Some programs put a stop to any points expirations during COVID while others are holding to their prior policies. Today I’m sharing how to best keep track of your points as well as how to protect them if they are at risk of expiring.
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How to Keep Track of Expiring Points
AwardWallet is the best way that I have found to keep track of points for both travel and shopping. While you can use AwardWallet for free, one of the key benefits of having a Plus account includes the ability to track point expirations for many accounts. With the free version, you are only able to set 3 point expiration notifications.
While a Plus account normally costs $30/year, I have ten FREE UPGRADES available for my readers to try with the code: free-gakzsx. NOTE: Once the ten free upgrades have been used, the code will no longer work.
AwardWallet is easy to set up and you can specify multiple family members within one account. A handy app enables all your data to be easily accessible from your phone. To enter accounts:
- Select the blue “Add Award Program to Track” button.
- Search for the program you wish to add (credit cards, airlines, hotels, cruise lines, shopping, dining, and more)!
- Select the account owner/member of the family and enter their email login and password for the program.
- Repeat until all programs that you wish to track are entered.
NOTE: A few programs have limited access to AwardWallet (Delta, Southwest, United). In order to work-around this and receive point balance updates, log in to each of those accounts and change the email address to YOUR AWARD WALLET USER NAME @AwardWallet.com. To find your user name, go to your account on the top left of the page and drop down to Personal Information. User Name is the first item listed.
How to Prevent Travel Points from Expiring
In many instances, all that is required to keep your points from expiring is SOME transaction within your award program. Easy ways to accomplish this include:
- Shopping Through the Program’s Portal. Available on most major airline and hotel sites, this is as easy as going to the program’s website, accessing the shopping portal, and purchasing something you were already planning to buy. NOTE: Gift cards are often disqualified from these programs.
- Transfer Miles from Credit Card Program. The minimum transaction (usually 1000 points) is enough to re-start your expiration clock. So check in with your Chase, Citibank, or AmEx card and see if you can transfer some points over into the account that is due to expire.
- Donate Points to Charity. Do a good deed and extend your miles. As with transferring miles, you typically need to donate 1000 points. Because the transaction happens instantly, this is a great method to use if you become aware of a point expiration at the very last minute.
- Join Your Program’s Dining Network. We all have to eat, right? To take advantage of this point extender, simply enroll your credit card number with a program’s Dining Network. Each time you dine at a participating restaurant, you’ll earn points and extend your expiration date. BE AWARE: These programs do not work with 3rd party delivery services like DoorDash or UberEats AND while you can join multiple Dining Network programs, you must use a unique credit card for each one – no double-dipping!
- Open a Credit Card. Some programs offer a no-expiration benefit as part of their terms while with other programs you can accrue points per dollar spent that will post to your affiliated program at the end of each billing cycle. Both are easy ways to ensure you are always earning, never expiring.
Of course, you can always reset your expiration by completing a flight, stay, rental or whatever. Great for those that have continued to travel for work during the pandemic. Hopefully, the rest of us will be back to maintaining our miles that way sometime later this year!
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