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How to Stop Miles From Expiring When You’re Not Traveling

Many award programs have stopped their miles and points from expiring during the Covid-19 crisis, but I recently received an alert that my British Airlines Avios were about to expire. Like most programs, you can stop your BA miles from expiring by making any kind of transaction with your account, like booking a flight. But since I’m not making any plans to fly anywhere with the uncertainty of this pandemic hanging over us, it took me awhile to figure out the best way to stop the loss.

I already knew that booking a ticket isn’t the only kind of activity that will stop miles from expiring. Most airlines just want you to make any kind of transaction, earning, spending or moving points. For other programs, I have successfully stopped points from expiring by making a quick purchase in the airline’s online shopping mall, therfore earning a few points, or by spending a few points on a “miles for magazines” program.

However, a glance at the BA program showed that neither of those options was available. They do have a wine-for-miles partnership, but it’s not available to customers in the US. I could have transfered a few miles to a friend, but I wasn’t sure if anyone close to me also has a BA account. I could buy 1,000 miles for about $50, but of course I would rather avoid spending money. However, my 40,000 Avios are enough for about $600 in flights, so I would have spend the money in a pinch rather than letting them go.

After a little Googling, I landed on the perfect solution: Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to my Avios account. I happen to have two Chase accounts, one for myself and one for my business. My business account only had a few Chase Rewards in it, and I was thinking of closing my business card. Because you have to have an open Chase Rewards card to keep your miles, transferring them out to BA would be a great first step in eliminating this account altogether.

I clicked the transfer button on the Chase page, then prepared myself for a few days of nervously checking to see if the transfer went through before my BA miles were to expire on Jan. 15. But guess what? The transfer went through instantly, and my Avios recent activity page now reflects that 3,000 Avios were added on Jan. 9. Boom! Just like that, my expiration problem is solved.