Expiry and Inactivity Rules of Canadian & International Loyalty Programs

First posted on October 5, 2016
Last Updated on December 24, 2021

Over the years we've seen some positive changes to rules surrounding the expiry of loyalty currencies in Canada due to a tumultouus 2010s when both Air Canada Aeroplan and AIR MILES had miles set to expire regardless of one's activity in the programs due to them being time stamped with 7 year and 5 year lifespans respectively. After much fight back from the public, the media including threats of class action lawsuits both programs pulled those life span rules. It was especailly brutal for AIR MILES who took a beating in the media for the better of 2016 and they only relented a few weeks before the expiry was set to kick in. Thanks to the AIR MILES debacle we saw Canada's two most populous provinces put in laws that loyalty programs could not put these lifespan expiry rules on loyalty progarms where rewards could exceed $50 in value. It was due to the AIR MILES 2016 saga that we created this page to compile the rules that most Canadian loyalty programs have regarding this issue. As of December 2021 we have also expanded it to include some international programs that are popular with Canadians.

First off it is god to know that there are two different types of 'expiry' rules employed by loyalty programs. Those two rules are Inactivity Account Expiration and Mile/Point Expiry. The definitions of each are as such:

Inactivity

Inactivity expiration happens when you have not been active with a loyalty program for a set amount of time. If you are not active with a program you stand to lose all your miles and points and have your account closed. This is the most common type of expiry rule in Canada as those laws in Ontario and Quebec do allow for it. In terms of being active with a program it typically means earning or redeeming at least one mile or point in your account in the set amount of time as outlined by the program. Some activity may not qualify, for example Marriott Bonvoy was famous for giving out some free points via Twitter and other social media channels, those points did not extend your account. You can see in the chart below that almost every Canadian program has an inactivity rule and the set time period ranges from 12 months to 24 months of inactivity. A key point to consider however is with myHusky Rewards. Your account is suspended after 18 months and if you don't re-activate and use your account within 60 days after that date you will lose all your points. Also some programs will only count earning activity and not redemption. Always read the terms of conditions of all programs that you join to see what their rules are pertaining to Inactivity.

Expiry

Mile/Point Expiry differs from the inactivity rule in that it affects the points and miles in your account even if you are active with that program. Effectively Mile/Point expiry is a date stamp on those you have earned and they will expire after the time set out by the program if you don't redeem them. This is the rule where all the news surrounding AIR MILES had been trumpeted from in 2016. Back at the end of 2011 AIR MILES announced that miles would begin expiring 5 years from when they are earned but then in December 2016 they reversed course due to customer backlash. Aeroplan had set a similar rule prior to AIR MILES of 7 years but then removed that rule before it came into effect. As you can see from the chart below there are only a few of the major Canadian loyalty programs that actually have an expiry rule and those are the ones where rewards are below $50. If you collect miles or points in certain European and Asian frequent flyer programs check the terms and conditions as many of them have date stamp expiry rules. Of note, all programs run first in first out, so when you redeem from a program that has one of these expiry rules the oldest miles count toward that redemption.

 


Canadian Loyalty Programs

Canadian Loyalty Programs


Program Inactivity Expiry COVID-19 Extension (Pause on Expiry)
Air Canada Aeroplan 18 Months Points do not expire if account is active Until Sep 30, 2022
AIR MILES 24 Months Miles do not expire if account is active No extension
WestJet Rewards No rule Base Dollars do not expire if account is active
Bonus Dollars expire after 12 months
No extension
Canadian North Aurora Rewards 24 Months Points do not expire if account is active Until Jan 1, 2023
Chapters Indigo Plum Rewards 12 Months Points do not expire if account is active No extension
Coast Hotels Coast Rewards 24 Months Points do not expire if account is active No extension
Hudson's Bay Rewards 24 Months Points do not expire if account is active No extension
Journie Rewards 12 months + 60 days Points do not expire if account is active No extension
More Rewards 18 Months Points do not expire if account is active No extension
MyHusky Rewards 18 months + 60 days Points do not expire if account is active No extension
MyMcdonald's Rewards No rule Points expire 6 months after they are earned (on a rolling basis) No extension
PC Optimum 24 months Points do not expire if account is active No extension
Petro-Points 12 months Points do not expire if account is active No extension
Porter Airlines VIPorter 24 months Points do not expire if account is active Until Dec 31, 2021
7-Eleven 7Rewards 90 days Points do not expire if account is active No extension
Sandman Hotels RSVP Rewards 18 months Points do not expire if account is active Until Dec 30, 2022
Scene+ 24 months Points do not expire if account is active No extension
Starbuck Rewards 12 months Stars expire 6 months after they are earned (on a rolling basis) No extension
Tim Hortons Tims Rewards 12 months Points expire 12 months after they are earned (on a rolling basis) No extension

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International Loyalty Programs

 International Loyalty Programs


Program Inactivity Expiry COVID-19 Extension (Pause on Expiry)
Air France KLM Flying Blue 24 Months Miles do not expire if you have one flight with Air France, KLM or their partner airlines every 2 years Until Dec 31, 2022
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan 24 Months Miles do not expire if account is active No extension
ALL Accor Live Limitless 12 Months Points do not expire Only elite members have an extension to Dec 15, 2022
American AAdvantage 18 Months Miles do not expire if account is active Until Mar 31, 2022
Best Western Rewards No rule Points do not expire No extension
British Airways Executive Club 36 monhts Avios do not expire if account is active No extension
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 18 Months > Miles earned prior to January 1, 2020 have a 36 month lifespan
> Miles earned on or after January 1, 2020 do not expire if account is active
No extension
Choice Privileges 18 Months Points do not expire Only elite members have an extension to Dec 31, 2021
Delta SkyMiles No rule Miles do not expire No extension
Hilton Honors 24 Months Points do not expire if account is active Until Dec 31, 2022
IHG Rewards 12 Months Points do not expire if account is active Until Dec 31, 2022
Hyatt World of Hyatt 24 Months Points do not expire if account is active Until Dec 31, 2021
JAL Japan Airlines Mileage Bank 36 Months Miles expire at the end of the month 36 months from the month they were earned in Until Mar 31, 2022
Marriott Bonvoy 24 Months Points do not expire if account is active Until Dec 31, 2022
Miles & More (Lufthansa, Austrian, SWISS etc.) 36 Months Miles expire at the end of the quarter 36 months from the month they were earned in No extension
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 36 Months Miles expire 36 months from the month they were earned in Until Mar 31 to Sep 30, 2022 (depending on when they were initially going to expire)
United MileagePlus No rule Miles do not expire No extension
Wyndham Rewards 18 Months Points do not expire if account is active Until Dec 31, 2021





Tips to keep your miles and points from expiring

 

Keep track of expiry/inactivity dates

The first step in keeping on top of expiry and/or inactivity dates is to track your loyalty programs. We here at Rewards Canada like to use a site called Award Wallet. Not only does it let you track the balances of most of your reward programs they will tell when those points or miles are set to expire (and send you reminders!). Of course you can just set up your own spreadsheet at home to keep track of your programs as well. If you don't use Award Wallet you can sign up here

Make sure you earn and/or redeem frequently

Be aware of the rules of the programs you use and make sure you have at least one qualifying activity in the set time period as outlined in the chart above. If you haven't earned points or miles and stand to lose some in a program look for a very low redemption option like donating points to a charity. For most programs that will count as an activity. For others it can be as simple as buying a chocolate bar at a gas station convenience store.

Use a credit card tied into the loyalty program

When a loyalty program has a co-brand credit card attached to it you can almost guarantee that you won't be subject to the inactivity rule, if you use the credit card that is! So long as you utilize your co-branded credit with programs then you have no worries at all unless that program has no rules in place at all for expiry or inactivity. Check out all the latest credit card offers here.

Use programs that don't have expiry/inactivity rules

Simple as that - pick the programs that you know don't have rules that will affect you or if they do that at least you know you'll be active enough to keep the program from closing your account

Going to lose your points due to an extenuating circumstance? Talk to the program!

If you have lost your job or had an unfortunate accident or medical condition that will keep you from being active in a program, talk to that program! We have seen lots of compassion over the years from Canadian loyalty programs in extending members accounts, letting them transfer them to another, etc. You just have to ask and you may have to provide some paperwork but at least your hard earned points and miles may not be lost. Please note however that if you contact the program after your account has already been closed or the points & miles have been removed you may have a tougher time getting them back.