AIR MILES expiry: what does it mean exactly?
If you visit the AIR MILES website, you’ll see a notice informing members that AIR MILES has cancelled its expiry policy. At a glance, this seems like great news. But a closer look reveals that the so-called cancellation of the AIR MILES expiry is not quite as clear cut as it seems.
When it comes to the AIR MILES program, no expiration date means that you don’t need to worry about using up your Miles within a certain amount of time, and that the Miles will remain in your account as long as you stay active. But if your account remains inactive for too long it will be considered dormant, and you will indeed lose your AIR MILES. So, while the AIR MILES themselves technically don’t expire, your AIR MILES account can.
When do AIR MILES expire?
As long as you stay active and continue to earn and redeem your AIR MILES, they will not expire. The problem arises when your AIR MILES account becomes inactive for a period of 24 consecutive months. At this point you will lose all of your miles, so make sure you keep your account active by earning some Miles at least once every two years.
AIR MILES expiry statement
The good news is that your AIR MILES won’t randomly disappear on you without warning. You will receive notification in the form of an AIR MILES expiry statement, alerting you to the fact that your account has been unused for too long and you’re coming close to the cut-off period, after which it will be considered dormant.
With that being said, several AIR MILES customers have complained that they never actually received the statement. In the end, it turned out that they indeed received the AIR MILES expiry statements by email, but their email provider labelled the emails as ‘junk’, so the customers didn’t see them.
AIR MILES expiry limit
Unfortunately, there is no limit to the number of miles that you can lose. According to the AIR MILES expiry rules, once your AIR MILES account has reached the dormancy threshold of 24 consecutive months, you will lose all of your miles, even if you’ve amassed a huge number.
How to avoid AIR MILES expiry
There are a few key actions and habits that we recommend to ensure that you get to keep and use all of your miles.
1. Keep an Eye Out for the Expiry Statement
We highly recommend that you adjust your email junk box settings and add any AIR MILES email addresses to your safe sender list, so that you’ll receive the expiry statement when it’s sent to you and have enough warning time to correct the situation accordingly.
2. Earn or redeem AIR MILES frequently
Your AIR MILES account remains active as long as you continue to collect Miles and/or redeem them for rewards items, so you don’t need to worry about losing your AIR MILES as long as you earn and redeem them with regularity.
3. Get in touch with the AIR MILES team
Sometimes account inactivity might be the result of prolonged illness or other personal problems. If this is the case, then get in touch with the team behind AIR MILES and see if they can do anything to help. They may be able to give you an extension on that 24-month inactivity period or even transfer your Miles to a family member or friend. Exceptions can be made, though normally only in extreme circumstances. Please note that if you are going to go this route, you need to reach out before your account expires. If it’s already been labelled dormant it is likely too late.
4. Use an AIR MILES credit card
One of the easiest ways to safeguard your miles from expiration is to choose a credit card that offers AIR MILES as its rewards program. That way you’ll earn AIR MILES on every purchase you make, which ensures your account will stay active and your miles won’t expire. With an AIR MILES credit card you can also earn double or triple the miles at select AIR MILES partners, and some cards earn extra miles for purchases in specific categories, like gas or groceries.
Not sure which AIR MILES credit card is best for you? Our AIR MILES calculator can save you some math. You punch in how much you spend each month in different categories and the basic features of the AIR MILES card you’re considering, and it tells you how much real-world value the card will yield (in $).
5. Consider a different loyalty program
AIR MILES is a popular program for Canadian consumers, but if you’re worried about your miles expiring, you may be better off using another rewards program with a more lenient expiration policy, like American Express Membership Rewards, BMO Rewards, or Scotia Rewards. You can start exploring other options by checking out our in-depth article about all the major travel rewards programs in Canada.