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With few exceptions, airline miles will eventually expire if you don’t use them. Some types of miles such as those with ANA have set expiration dates regardless of how much other activity you have in your account, while many others types of miles, especially within the US programs, won’t expire as long as you continue to have account activity where you are earning or redeeming miles at least every 12 – 36 months, depending on the program. That said, some programs (cough, Spirit, cough) will expire your miles after just three months of no activity so it pays to be familiar with the programs you utilize.
Today specifically I want to look at the British Airways Avios program as these are points I have found to be somewhat troublesome in the miles and points world because they have an expiration date if you don’t have account activity at least every 36 months, but the account doesn’t display an expiration date. This means it can be easy to lose track and all of the sudden find yourself needing to do something to extend the life of your Avios ASAP. British Airways does typically send out an email warning you the Avios will expire, and of course if you have Award Wallet tracking your accounts for you then you should also be notified through them of a coming mileage expiration date.
The good news is that to keep your British Airways Avios from expiring you have lots of options, some of which are immediate. All you need to do is earn, spend, purchase or share at least one Avios to extend the life of all your Avios for another 36 months, so there are tons of options. To help narrow it down, here are four easy ways to keep your British Airways Avios from expiring.
Use the British Airways Shopping Portal
An easy way to earn Avios and keep them from expiring is to make a purchase via their shopping site at retailers such as Apple, Macy’s, Target, Walmart, Etsy, Groupon, and hundreds more. In other words, you can place an online Walmart order for toilet paper and paper towels by first clicking through the British Airways shopping site and that will extend the life of your Avios for 36 months.
However, if you are down to the wire and only have a a few days left to extend your Avios, this is not your best strategy as it will take time for everything to post to your account.
Purchase or Transfer Avios
Two other quick and easy ways to extend your Avios are to purchase or share Avios. Outside of a family household account, it will cost you $37.50 to transfer 1,000 Avios to another British Airways account or $53.00 to purchase 1,000 Avios for your own account. Those are pretty insane prices, but if those are your only available options, then it could be worth it to save all of your Avios. The benefit of the transfer option is that both the sending and receiving accounts will get their Avios extended for 36 months.
Book a Flight
Maybe needing to keep your Avios from expiring is a good excuse to go ahead and use some Avios to fly yourself or a loved one on British Airways or a partner airline. Using some Avios will extend the life of the remaining Avios for 36 months.
Transfer in Points from Amex or Chase
If you don’t need to book a flight, don’t want to spend money transferring or purchasing Avios, and don’t have time to wait for a shopping site purchase to post, then transferring in British Airways Avios from Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards will probably be your best bet. These transfers don’t cost you anything out of pocket, are typically instant, and right now there is even a 40% bonus on transferred Membership Reward points from cards like The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card that earns 2x on most charges (terms apply), or even The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card.
This means you could transfer 250 Membership Reward points and almost immediately have 350 Avios added to your British Airways account. This easy transfer will then get you 3 more years of time to use your Avios.
What if your British Airways Avios are already expired?
Sometimes life happens, and if your Avios already expired, then you need to call and beg forgiveness and see if they might be reinstated. I have read that sometimes Avios get an automatic three month extension, but if yours are really gone, call British Airways and very politely ask if anything can be done. I’ve read that the UK based call reps are much more helpful with this situation than the reps based in the US, India, etc. so try calling 1-877-455-2488 until you get a UK based rep who may be able to help. This is not a guarantee, but it is worth a shot.
Keeping your British Airways Avios from expiring is thankfully pretty easy due to the variety of ways to earn and use Avios. If you have any stories about expiring Avios I would love to hear them!
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.