How to Keep Your Miles and Avios from Expiring When You Can’t Travel

Some links on Turning Left for Less pay us an affiliate commission to support this blog

If you a frequent flyer like me, you probably don’t worry too much about your miles expiring. Certain airlines do operate a “hard expiry” policy of course, which helps to focus the mind on the earning and spending of those specific miles. But for those airlines who only expire the miles of inactive accounts, it shouldn’t be difficult for most readers to credit a flight once in a while. But with the coronavirus crisis bringing most travel to a halt – and the likelihood that it will take months, if not years, before many people will take their next flight – how can you keep your miles from expiring without actually flying?

The first thing to consider is how to easily monitor your expiry dates.  Award Wallet is the best tool available to track your points expiry. You can read more about it here.


How to Keep my Avios Alive?Avios bonus

Your Avios will expire if you do not earn or redeem Avios within a period of 36 months. This applies to all of the loyalty programmes that use Avios as their currency – British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, Aer Lingus AerClub, Vueling Club.

The Bright Side… I have heard of so many people making the exact same mistake that I’ll just say it up front – Combining Your Avios with Iberia Plus, Vueling Club or AerLingus AerClub does NOT – I repeat…NOT – extend the life of your Avios! Even worse, if you Combine Your Avios into an account that hasn’t been used in more than 36 months, those Avios will IMMEDIATELY expire.

Accordingly, you must remain individually active in EACH of the Avios-based accounts that you use. If you use your Vueling Club / AerClub account merely as an intermediary to move Avios from Iberia Plus into a BA Household Account, you must be very careful to keep that account independently active.

Luckily there are many ways of earning Avios without flying.



Many online retailers can be accessed via the e-stores operated by BA, Iberia and AerClub. As a result, you can earn a few Avios for online shopping. However, online shopping isn’t something that you can rely upon as a last-minute method of earning some Avios. It can take many months for your purchase to translate into that handful of life-extending Avios…

Click here for the AerClub eStore.

Click here for the BA eStore.

The Iberia eStore is intended for Spanish residents only, but you can easily get around this by changing the country settings on the Iberia website.

You must then log into your Iberia Plus account, where you’ll find the eStore under the Iberia Plus drop-down box.


Take an Online Survey

Some people hate taking surveys. I don’t blame you. Sometimes you spend 20 minutes completing a survey, only to be told at the last minute that you don’t qualify.

But if you want a free way to earn some Avios from time to time, you should sign up for Rewards for Thoughts.

The advantage of Rewards for Thoughts versus other online survey platforms is simple. For each successful survey completed, you receive 25 or 50 Avios into your account within days. So you can easily keep your Avios account active by completing a single survey every once in awhile.

The Bright Side – As some of you know, the Avios Travel Rewards Programme doesn’t exist any more. However what was known as is still operating as Aer Lingus’ Aer Club, as well as Vueling Club. However, I don’t believe that you can sign up for Rewards for Thoughts using an AerClub number – despite what the landing page says…

Spend Your Avios on Wine

If you aren’t travelling – but have a reasonable balance of Avios – a fun way to keep your account active is to spend those Avios on wine!

The value proposition is poor when compared to other uses of Avios. But UK residents can drown their unable-to-travel sorrows with something that keeps their Executive Club account active…

The Usual Suspects – Convertible Currencies

“Convertible currency” is an expression used to describe points that can be converted into a variety of different airline miles, hotel points, money off vouchers, etc. It usually makes sense to hold onto “convertible currencies” until you have an award redemption that you are planning to book. And they are great to have when you need a quick transaction to extend the life of any miles/Avios about to expire…

If you have at least 1,000 Membership Rewards points from American Express, you can convert them on a 1:1 basis to British Airways Executive Club or Iberia Plus.

If you have at least 3,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you can convert those into 1,000 Avios from British Airways Executive Club or Iberia Plus.

If you collect Tesco Clubcard points, you can convert a £2.50 voucher into 600 Avios from British Airways Executive Club.

If you have Heathrow Rewards points, you can convert 250 points into 250 Avios from British Airways Executive Club.


Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Many of the options listed above also apply to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, which also has a 36-month expiry policy.

A Virgin-specific option is Virgin Red. Some people love it. Other people just can’t be bothered to figure it out. (like me)

But essentially you download an App to your phone and spend a minute or two each day accumulating “points”. These points aren’t actually worth anything… but can help you open up “vaults” with valuable prizes inside, including Flying Club miles. If you use the App enough, you almost certainly will earn some Flying Club miles within each 3-year period.


American Airlines AAdvantage

Of the three largest North American airline programmes, AAdvantage is the only one that expires miles – for inactivity longer than 18 months… 

Back to Award Wallet, however. If you visit the blog section of the website and leave a comment that the moderators approve for posting, you will receive 5 free AA miles. That is all you need to extend the life of any AA miles you might have…


The Bottom Line

There is no real excuse for allowing miles to expire, at least with those airlines that offer activity-based expiry policies. Not only is it possible to earn miles without leaving home, but you can also usually do it for free by making a little effort.


13 Comments on "How to Keep Your Miles and Avios from Expiring When You Can’t Travel"

  1. In a ba household account does each individual need to make a transaction or does one count for all

  2. What about Avios points that are sitting in a children’s BA account ? Is it possible to do any sort of activity on those individual accounts, other than flights, so they’re extended ?

  3. Mr Brightside | 5 April 2020 at 8:24 am |

    Each individual member must remain active and each individual member earns Avios independently. The easiest way to keep everybody active is to make a redemption, since an award redeems Avios pro rata from everybody’s account.

    18.1.17. The Avios points balance of individual Household Account Members shall expire in accordance with Clause 14.4 if the individual Household Account Member has not earned or redeemed Avios points or purchased or transferred Avios points in accordance with the Conditions of Use for 36 consecutive months.

  4. Using the Avios estore is a pretty easy way of keeping and accumulating Avios. I’ve been using it quite a bit during the lockdown and racked up quite a few thousand Avios . They’ve changed their processes to include an email notification after each purchase and the points are credited within 5 days.

    We keep our Virgin Flying Club accounts going by registering our credit cards with them and earning points on most of the shopping we do. Unfortunately Waitrose is stopping that arrangement shortly but we tot a few hundred points each every month without any effort.

  5. Michele, a couple of months ago there was a post on star alliance from one of your team promising a follow up shortly, that never materialised. Is this article going to be published?

    • Mr Brightside | 5 April 2020 at 9:22 am |

      Was that about family accounts? Unfortunately I couldn’t find any user-friendly ones that I would be happy to recommend.

  6. No, about United Airline, the only programme that does not appear to have hard expiry.

    • Mr Brightside | 5 April 2020 at 9:49 am |

      I’m not sure I picked up the query then… What did you want us to look at?

  7. Andy Hawkins | 5 April 2020 at 2:57 pm |

    You can no longer spend your avios on wine or experience days. I tried to post this on the BAEC Facebook page but it was rejected an being Covid-19 related and I couldn’t find an appropriate part of the masterthread to place it.

    • Thanks Andy. Is that from trying or have you seen an announcement?

      • Andrew Hawkins | 5 April 2020 at 6:18 pm |

        Investigating options Michele as I unfortunately have a healthy balance from recent refunds. I’ve sent you a screenshot from the BA redemption page via twitter.

  8. Phil Jones | 6 April 2020 at 10:19 pm |

    Am I missing something here? If you are using a Amex BA credit card, surley the monthly Avios points keeps the account active?

    • Mr Brightside | 7 April 2020 at 8:13 am |

      Yes it does.

      Keeping a BA account active usually isn’t an issue for most of us. Remembering to keep the Iberia Plus or account active can be a bit trickier.

Comments are closed.