Guide To Frequent Flyer Points Expiry

There are many different points currencies available to Australians, earned via frequent flyer airline programs, credit card rewards programs and hotel programs.

Each loyalty program operates a different points expiry policy. And, if you’re a member of one or more of each of these kinds of programs, keeping track of your points can quickly become a task in itself.

While some loyalty programs have strict points expiry policies, others allow members to keep points and miles valid by simply registering activity on an account.

This guide has been put together as a handy resource to check when your points expire. We have also included some helpful tips to avoid the heartbreak of vanished (expired) frequent flyer points and miles.

Let’s begin.

When do frequent flyer points expire?

During the pandemic, many airline programs offered extensions or temporary pauses on points expiry. However, as global travel ramps up, we are seeing many programs return to stricter points expiry policies now that air travel is returning to normal.

Whether you are a loyal member of Velocity Frequent Flyer or Qantas Frequent Flyer, or if you prefer to earn your frequent flyer points elsewhere, it pays to know when your hard-earned points expire.

Read on for a comprehensive summary of frequent flyer points expiry policies across some of the most popular programs in Australia.

frequent flyer points expiry

Qantas Frequent Flyer points expiry

Qantas Frequent Flyer is Australia’s most popular airline loyalty program, with over 14 million frequent flyers worldwide choosing to accumulate Qantas Points.

qantas frequent flyer

Qantas Points expire after 18 months of account activity, which means your balance will expire if you have not earned or redeemed at least one Qantas Point in the past 18 months.

Luckily, there are some easy and virtually foolproof tricks to register activity and stop your Qantas Points from expiring. Many of these activities are as easy as sleeping (seriously).

Here are our tips for ways Qantas Frequent Flyer members can keep points valid:

  • Book and complete travel on a Qantas Classic Flight Reward
  • Download the Qantas Wellbeing app for free and take part in points-earning tasks such as fitness and sleep challenges or health assessments. Yes, you can earn Qantas Points in your sleep
  • Take up a Qantas Points earning credit card and earn points on everyday spend
  • Shop online at over 300 retailers through Qantas Shopping to earn at least one Qantas Point per $1 spent
  • Connect your Woolworths Everyday Rewards card to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account and earn Qantas Points by shopping at Woolworths, BigW or Caltex Woolworths
  • Purchase your alcohol via Qantas Wine to earn points for each dollar spent, as well as at times lucrative bonus points offers on cases of wine.

Note that Family Transfers do not count as Qantas Frequent Flyer account activity that will prevent your points from expiring.

Are you a Qantas Business Rewards member? The Qantas Business Rewards points expiry policy mirrors that of Qantas Frequent Flyer.

Qantas Points Challenge

Providing you contact Qantas within six months of the points expiry, the Qantas Points Challenge could make it possible to reinstate all of your expired points on one straightforward condition: you must earn 2,500 Qantas Points within three months.

The ‘challenge’ aspect here is questionable, with 2,500 Qantas Points an easily achievable mark for those who purchase a case from Qantas Wine – though, we’re not complaining.

However, we would suggest avoiding this scenario altogether by closely monitoring your points through a free app AwardWallet, which tracks most everyday accounts used by Australians.

Velocity Frequent Flyer points expiry

Velocity Frequent Flyers have a leg up on Qantas when it comes to points expiry. Velocity Points expire 24 months after the last activity, which means members have a full two years to earn or redeem at least one point before Velocity Points expire.

coles flybuys points velocity virgin australia

Earning Velocity Points with a host of retail partners can be easy depending on where you shop. Here are some straightforward ways to prevent a Velocity Points balance from disappearing overnight:

In terms of the Velocity Family Pooling feature, Velocity very much aligns with Qantas in that it will not prevent your Velocity Points from expiring.

Earning Velocity Points on the ground by converting Flybuys points to your Velocity Frequent Flyer Account is a sure way to avoid that 24-month points expiry.

Reinstating expired Velocity Points

Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer does not offer a points reinstatement policy, but may choose to reinstate Velocity Points on compassionate grounds.

Here, Velocity Frequent Flyer works on a case-by-case basis to take into account the personal circumstances that prevented any points activity. To request the reinstatement of Velocity Points, you’ll need to contact Velocity Frequent Flyer direct.

Other airline frequent flyer program expiry policies

As award availability continues to be a challenge for frequent flyers, many Australian-based travellers are signing up to overseas programs.

International airline loyalty programs, such as Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific and Emirates Skywards – amongst others – are gaining popularity down under.

The advantage of earning points or miles with an international airline frequent flyer program often lies in gaining access to cheaper award redemptions via a global network.

However, it’s worth noting that some of these programs have ‘hard’ points expiry policies, meaning points will expire by a certain date regardless of any account activity.

If you’re earning points with other airline loyalty programs, it’s well worth brushing up on the points expiry policies of leading airline programs.

The table below outlines when points earned with international programs will expire:

Airline programDo points expire?Expiry trigger
Avianca LifeMilesYes (with account inactivity)12 months
Air New Zealand AirpointsYes (for Silver and below members, 
calculated from join date)
48 months
Alaska Mileage PlanYes (with account inactivity)24 months
American Airlines AAdvantageYes (with account inactivity)24 months
British Airways Executive ClubYes (with account inactivity)36 months
Cathay Pacific Asia MilesYes (with account inactivity)18 months
Delta SkyMilesNo   
Emirates SkywardsYes (at the end of your birthday 
month from time earned)
36 months
Etihad GuestYes (with account inactivity)18 months
Malaysia Airlines EnrichYes (with account inactivity)36 months
Qatar Airways Privilege ClubYes (with account inactivity)36 months
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerYes (from date earned)36 months
THAI Royal Orchid PlusYes (from date earned)36 months
United Mileage PlusNo   
Virgin AtlanticNo  

Beyond airline programs, we’ve extended this reference to include other loyalty program points expiry policies. Read on to prevent your credit card, hotel and supermarket rewards points from expiring.

When do credit card points expire?

Often used daily, frequent flyer credit cards can offer an easy way to earn a large sum of points. Most major bank rewards programs don’t let your points expire as long as you remain a cardholder. However, there are exceptions to the no points expiry rule, which is an important factor to note when selecting a bank rewards program.

The table below sets out expiry policies for bank reward programs available in Australia:

Bank rewards programDo points expire? (y/n)Expiry trigger
American Express Membership RewardsNo
NAB RewardsYes (from time earned)36 months
ANZ RewardsYes (from year earned)36 months
Westpac Altitude RewardsNo
Amplify Rewards (includes Bank SA,
St George, Bank of Melbourne)
No
Citi RewardsNo
Bank Rewards Program expiry and triggers

Tips to prevent credit card rewards points from expiring

If you do hold a credit card with an expiry on reward points earned, it’s important to make sure you use those points. While each credit card rewards program operates differently, there are some general tips to ensure your points don’t go to waste.

Holding a credit card with a flexible points program may allow you to send across reward points to airline loyalty program points or miles before expiry.

Taking advantage of credit card loyalty program shopping portal, gift cards or cashback redemptions can also offer an easy way to spend points, preventing points from remaining unused. While these redemption options typically offer a poor value proposition, using reward points for cashback, products or gift cards beats seeing them expire.

Alternatively, if you have no intention of using your points, why not use them to make a charitable donation rather than see them go to waste?

When do hotel rewards points expire?

For frequent travellers, a hotel stay or two often goes hand in hand with every flight. That’s why hotel rewards points can be an ideal way to earn points for every dollar spent on accommodation.

But when it comes to points expiry policies, hotels get a bad rap. Many hotel loyalty programs allow rewards points to expire within one to two years – that’s significantly more restrictive than any airline programs we’ve covered above. Accidentally letting those points expire can be nothing short of a gut-wrenching nightmare.

In the spirit of avoiding that, here is a breakdown of the points expiry policies of major hotel chain rewards programs used by Australians:

Hotel rewards programDo points expire? (y/n)Expiry trigger
Accor Live Limitless (ALL)Yes (with account inactivity)12 months
Best Western RewardsNo 
Hilton HonorsYes (with account inactivity)15 months
IHG One RewardsYes (for Club members with account inactivity)12 months 
Marriott BonvoyYes (with account inactivity)24 months
Radisson RewardsYes (with account inactivity)24 months
Shangri La Golden CircleYes (from year earned)12 months
World of HyattYes (with account inactivity)24 months
Hotel Rewards Program expiry and triggers

The good news for those whose hotel stays are few and far between is that there are ways to earn points without a stay, while keeping your hotel rewards account active. For example, many programs, including Marriott Bonvoy, allow members to convert to airline miles as a qualifying activity.

Other programs, such as IHG One Rewards, offer top-tier elite members the ability to safeguard points from expiry.

When do supermarket loyalty program points expire?

Australia’s two main supermarket loyalty programs, Flybuys and Woolworths Everyday Rewards make it easy to earn reward points on the ground. As a result, a frequent shopper’s points balance can grow to a figure you wouldn’t want to see expire.

Coles Flybuys

Powered by Coles, Flybuys points expire after 12 months of account inactivity. Again, the preference here is to keep your account active by earning, rather than using points for small goods or gift cards at what is often poor value.

Shopping at Coles, Kmart, Target, purchasing fuel at Coles Express or buying your alcohol at First Choice Liquor or Liquorland are all ways to earn Flybuys points and keep your account active.

Just be sure to scan your Flybuys card at the checkout or enter the account information digitally if shopping online.

coles flybuys points card and rewards

Woolworths Everyday Rewards

Woolworths Everyday Rewards program has a slightly longer expiry on points, giving Australia’s second supermarket loyalty program a good advantage. Everyday Rewards points will expire after 18 months without account activity.

Woolworths Rewards members can earn points by shopping at an array of program partners. Should you head overseas for an extended period, or move to a town without a Woolworths or partnered retailer such as BWS, BigW or Caltex, there are still ways to earn points.

woolworths everyday rewards qantas frequent flyer points
<em>Groceries can earn you a steady stream of Qantas Points by linking an Everyday Rewards card to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account<em>

Simply sending an online order of any amount to a friend or family member could be a way to keep your Everyday Rewards balance ticking over from afar. Note that delivery charges may be incurred on your purchase.

Check out the ultimate guide to Australia’s supermarkets to learn more about the loyalty programs offered by grocery stores.

Is it possible to reinstate expired frequent flyer points?

A quick glance at any frequent flyer forum usually features a few cries for help from members who have lost their entire points balance. Depending on your frequent flyer program, there can be ways to retrieve your points.

Some frequent flyer programs make it possible to reinstate points or miles with a fee. Alaska Mileage Plan Miles, for example, can be reinstated for up to one year for a $75 USD fee, while American Airlines AAdvantage charges a ‘redeposit’ fee which varies, depending on the number of miles to be returned.

Other airline loyalty programs make it possible for members to reinstate expired points by taking part in some sort of challenge.

The value of choosing a program with no points expiry

In this case, the lesser frequent flyers and buyers amongst us can have the freedom to accumulate points at their own pace, without the pressure of impending points expiries.

This can avoid, for example, the need to purchase goods when you’re saving frequent flyer points up for a particular flight redemption, purely because your points are about to expire. This is where choosing a program with no expiry can simplify things.

That being said, if the particular rewards program that best suits your travel and spending habits does have a points expiry, there are usually some simple ways to keep your points valid, many of which can be worked into ordinary spending habits.

Conclusion

While keeping frequent flyer points from expiring may seem straightforward enough, juggling multiple loyalty programs can quickly become confusing.

There is certainly value in choosing a loyalty program with no points expiry, particularly for those who earn and redeem points slowly.

While some programs, such as Qantas Frequent Flyer, have made it almost impossible to lose points to an expiry date, others can sneak up with hard points expiries, so it pays to choose the program that best suits your travel habits.

FAQ – Guide to frequent flyer points expiry

How long do Qantas Points last before they expire?

Qantas Points expire after 18 months of account inactivity. This means they will expire if you have not earned or redeemed at least one Qantas Point in the past 18 months.

Do you lose your frequent flyer points?

Yes, frequent flyers may lose points if they have not earned or redeemed within a certain time frame. Each frequent flyer program has a different points expiry policy, so check the fine print before you join.

How do you keep points from expiring?

There are many ways to keep points from expiring. Earning or redeeming once within the program’s expiry period is often one of the easiest ways to keep points from expiring.

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