Delta, US Airways, Shorten Frequent Flyer Miles’ Halflife

With nary a peep, Delta and US Airways changed their rules on frequent flyer miles to make redeeming and keeping them even harder for consumers.

Before, the miles had a three year expiration, but will now expire after 18 months for US Airways…

Effective January 31, 2007, active membership status is based on having earned or redeemed miles within a consecutive 18 month period. With our new Mileage Reactivation Policy, Dividend Miles members have an opportunity to reinstate their Dividend Miles accounts to active status for an additional 18 months for a $50 processing fee and reactivation fee of $.01 per mile. If members do not extend with this reactivation option, the Dividend Miles account will be closed and all miles forfeited.

…and two years for Delta.

Starting December 31, 2006, we’re modifying the above policy and miles will expire after two years of account inactivity. Mileage balances of members who have had no SkyMiles activity within the last two calendar years (2005 and 2006) will expire on Dec. 31, 2006.

Mouseprint has got some great ideas on steps you can take to keep your miles active, such as spending a few miles on small items, like magazine subscriptions. Or purchasing miniature airplane models and hammering them to shreds.


Edit Your Comment

  1. humphrmi says:

    >Mouseprint has got some great ideas on steps
    >you can take to keep your miles active, such
    >as spending a few miles on small items, like
    >magazine subscriptions. Or purchasing
    >miniature Delta or US Airways models and
    >hammering them to shreds.

    I hate to say this but most airlines require that you earn *real* miles to prevent expiration, not rewards miles. At least, that’s the case with AA.

  2. The_Truth says:

    Another alternative is to fly exclusivly with SouthWest.

  3. TedOnion says:

    One more reason to trade in any rewards cards you might have, and switch to a no fee credit card, and just find the lowest rate you can.

    Rewards, no matter what they are, tend to be useless.

  4. acambras says:

    Mirror mirror on the wall —
    Which airline SUCKS least of all?

  5. acambras says:

    Reading TedOnion’s post makes me think of flying US Airways last weekend and being subjected to a flight attendant’s PA spiel about US Airways’ rewards card. Really talked it up for several minutes, then passed out applications to the captive audience. Of course, when I checked the table with the required disclosures, there was a hefty annual fee involved. I passed it up and am now even more glad that I did.

  6. AcilletaM says:

    AA is horrible. Hawking magazines and credit cards all the time. Account update email is 92% ads, 8% account info. Worst of the “but we have a prior business relationship” spammers. Even outdoes Sallie Mae.

  7. Triteon says:

    I hope this means that since Delta will be dropping my miles (my last flight with them was in January, 2000) they will also stop sending me junk mailers with credit card offers.
    Delta, if you’re listening: it’s been seven years since we last spoke, and no– it’s over. I don’t want to see you again; no cards, no letters…just let it go.

  8. I know I’m just be

  9. merp

    That should have said:

    I know I’m just being obnoxious this morning, but technically, half-life is the amount of time that it takes half of something (Speficially, atoms of a certain element) to decompose . . . so the headline suggests that after 18 months, HALF of the miles should be gone.

    Sorry to be such a Debby Downer.

  10. InsaneNewman says:


    Rewards cards aren’t useless if you don’t carry a credit balance. I use a credit card for convenience, and it’s nice to get a $50 gift card every now and then from Citi’s Thank You Points. Finiding a low rate does me no good if I never pay interest or financing charges.

  11. Amry says:

    Hey, I guess it all depends on your perspective. I currently have about 1500-3000 miles sitting in frequent flier accounts with a few different airlines – there’s no way I ever would have earned enough on any one airline to get a free ticket anytime within the next 10 years. Delta recently sent me something in the mail about the new expiration date, and info about free magazine subscriptions and other items I could turn my miles in for. I actually appreciated the letter informing me of the new expiration policy – I had no idea there were other things I could use my miles for, and was pretty happy to get some free magazines out of what I thought were useless frequent flier miles that were just going to go to waste anyway.

  12. Hawkins says:

    Mr. Newman:

    Perhaps the message should have been: rewards cards are retarded UNLESS they reward you with cash, or its direct equivalent.

    A local supermarket chain (Kroger) offers a credit card that rewards you with checks (made out to Kroger). If that’s where you do your grocery shopping, it would probably be an excellent idea.

  13. Henrythoreau says:

    The image that accompanies this story is horrifying. Is this an actual photograph of a plane going down? And if so, should it be included on the site in a joke-ish way?


  14. tenmiler says:

    I think the image is the one snapped by a tourist (unwittingly) of the Alaska Airlines flight from Puerto Vallarta that went down into the Pacific off the Channel Islands. when a jack screw broken on the stabilizer. It was a horrible story, and everyone died.

    I know of a few people who died on that plane as it was en route to my home town at the time. I hope that you guys will consider removing this–it’s really not funny.