Stopping your points from expiring is a related topic that came up in yesterday’s post about transferring points to somebody else.
Most points programs have a time period whereby if there is no activity on your account, you will lose your points balance or a portion of it based on a rolling period. This is not ideal given you might have spent years building these points up. You should be aware of your expiry date. Usually, this is fairly clear in your account. In addition to that, you should have a plan for how to keep your points alive.
Here are three tips you can use to avoid your points expiring worthless.
Take a flight
This is a very easy one, and almost too obvious!
Find the cheapest flight possible and take it. It’s a bit of an extreme way of solving the problem, but it’s perfectly possible. You may not even need to do it on your main airline. Often partner airlines are just as good for this. Taking short internal flights that earn a small number of points is all you need. This is easily done in most countries. If you know in advance you need to do this, it’s usually fairly simple to work into an existing trip as well.
I used to use this trick to reach Virgin Gold quickly. Back in the day, you could take lots of small Delta connection flights in the USA that could get you up the ranks quickly. Sadly the loophole has been closed now, but it was very easy to find a short route costing less than $100 to earn some points or keep your balance alive.
Credit card transaction
If you have a BA Amex card or a Virgin Money credit card, this is something that’s probably already happening for you in the background. When you have these credit cards, each purchase earns you points. Every month, these points will credit to your airline account. That transaction should reset the expiry time every month. All these small purchases made on your credit card, contribute to not only earning your points but also keeping them alive.
Find the smallest possible transaction to make
Another loophole that’s long since been closed was purchasing a ticket on the West Coast mainline to earn Virgin points. You could buy a £10 ticket and get 10 points. Nothing in the grand scheme of things, but very useful for this scenario as you didn’t even need to use the train ticket for the points to credit your account. On the date of the train ticket (or thereabouts), the points would credit to your account just like a flight. Super handy.
A similar way of doing this now is using the British Airways shopping portal or Virgin shops away. This way you can often purchase something you may have been looking to buy anyway and earn points as a bonus. This is the frequent flier points equivalent of cash-back websites. Make sure you don’t overpay though, there is a limit to how valuable this strategy is.
The bottom line is, keep your points from expiring. If you don’t, you’re wasting your time collecting them in the first place!