Do Credit Card Points Expire?

Travel2 years ago
Person pulling a credit card from their wallet

Building up credit card points is a fantastic way to get some perks and benefits. With your everyday spending, you can build up air miles, discounts on accommodation, and transferable loyalty points for a wide variety of schemes. However, if your cars expire, it can be incredibly disappointing. So, whenever you apply for a new credit card, one of the key questions to ask is "How often do credit card points expire?"

Usually, credit card points and air miles will not expire as long as you keep your account open. This is in contrast to the points you may build up on airline or hotel points programs which will expire if they are not redeemed after a certain amount of time, or a period of inactivity (usually 1 to 2 years.) Although, you can build up miles and air points which don't expire by using a co-branded airline credit card which will help you to keep your account active with your everyday spending on non-travel purchases.

Your first action if you are opening an account with the objective of earning rewards is to ask, "do reward points expire?", and if so when. This should be one of the main questions followed by how much points are worth, and whether they are transferable to different loyalty schemes and frequent flyer memberships.


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Do Credit Card Points Expire?

Typically, credit card points that are issued by major banks and card providers will not expire for as long as you keep your account open. However, there are some expectations such as Wells Fargo, and Citi cards. Below we will give you a rundown of the main US card providers and answer how often do credit card points expire for each.

Some reward points such as those you build up in the American Express Membership and Chase Ultimate Rewards schemes can be transferred across to a travel rewards scheme if you are closing the card. (Although the points or miles will be subject to the rewards expiration date of that loyalty program.)


How Often do Credit Card Points Expire - A Breakdown

Below you will find a breakdown of each of the main rewards credit card providers and whether the points you build up will expire within a certain period.

Credit Card Rewards Points Which Will Never Expire

  • AT&T Access Card from Citi
  • AT&T Access More
  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Bank of America Travel Rewards
  • Barclays Arrival Miles
  • Capital One Rewards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • CitiBusiness ThankYou® Card
  • Citi Prestige® Credit Card
  • Discover Cashback Awards
  • Credit Card Points that Expire After 18 Months
  • Citi PremierPass/Expedia® Rewards Card from Citi
  • Points on Credit Cards that Expire After 5 Years
  • Wells Fargo Rewards Points
  • U.S. Bank FlexPerks

As you can see, the majority of the main card provider reward cards offer points with no expiration dates. And even those that do (with the exception of Citi Premier,) will allow you to collect points for five years before you need to redeem them.


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Reasons You May Lose the Reward Points You Have Built Up on Your Account

Although you don't have to worry about the answer to "do reward points expire" with the majority of major card providers, there are other ways you can inadvertently lose the rewards points you have been building up! Here are some things you need to watch out for when you are working to collect points for airline and hotel rewards.


Points Which You Have Transferred to Other Loyalty programs Cannot be Transferred Back

If you choose to transfer your points to a partner airline or hotel loyalty scheme, they will become subject to the expiration dates of these memberships. If you change your mind and don't spend the points, they cannot then be transferred back to your card.


Your Ability to Gain Points May Be Suspended Due to Late Payments

If you have missed your monthly credit card payments, your card issuer may temporarily pause your ability to collect points on spending. Once you have caught up on your payments and your balance is up to date, your provider will reinstate your points building (although fees may be involved.)

If you have failed to make several payments on your monthly credit card builds, and your account payments are overdue by 2 or 3 months, then your points may be removed permanently.


If You Return Products You Have Earned Rewards On

If you return purchases which you have earned rewards points on, then (once the return has gone through), those rewards points will be retracted from your account.


Your Card Provider Changes or Closes Their Points Program

Your card provider may change its reward scheme or how you can build up points. If card providers are closing or adjusting a program, they should give you a decent amount of time to redeem your points,


How Do You Keep Your Points and Air Miles From Expiring?

  • Keep your card from expiring by making small purchases to keep your account active. This will allow you to continue earning points and ensure that those you have collected will remain redeemable on an active account.
  • Redeem points to keep your account active. For some accounts, the simple act of redeeming the points you have collected on your account will classify as activity.
  • Earn points when you dine at restaurants. Some rewards and loyalty schemes will allow you to earn reward points when you use their card at partner restaurants. This will allow you to keep your account active by eating out.
  • Keep your account open and pay your bills on time. In order to make sure that your ability to collect points is not disrupted, you need to make sure that you pay your monthly bills on time. You should also be aware that if you close your account, you will be forfeiting the point you have collected unless you transfer to a different scheme beforehand.


Summary: Do Credit Card Points Expire?

For the vast majority of credit card accounts, you do not have to worry about your rewards expiring. When it comes to answering the question "do reward points expire?", the answer can vary according to your card provider. But generally, as long as you don't default on payments and keep your account open you shouldn't have to worry about losing your rewards!


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