As a frequent flyer, the worst feeling you can have is finding out that your miles expired.
Typically, this problem primarily affects the casual traveler who maybe takes 1 trip a year and purchases tickets solely based on price.
Since casual travelers are buying their tickets solely on price, unless 1 airline is consistently the cheapest, they end up flying all different airlines and earning in all difference programs. Since they don’t fly one airline consistently, eventually the miles in all their various frequent flyer accounts expire because they didn’t have any qualifying activity.
It is for this reason that the number 1 thing I stress for anyone starting to collect miles is to sign up for a free miles tracking service like AwardWallet. Your future self will thank you!
While some frequent flyer programs have gotten rid of expiration dates, unfortunately the majority of programs still do have them. To keep the miles / points in these accounts from expiring, you basically need to have some kind of activity in your account that will result in earning some miles.
Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean hopping on a plane or booking a hotel stay.
Simply by purchasing some miles, transferring in miles from other programs, doing some online shopping, dining out, signing up for their credit card, etc, you can have “qualifying” activity that will reset the expiration clock on your miles / points.
With Chase Ultimate Rewards, it is pretty easy to simply transfer 1 mile into your respective United or British Airways account to reset the expiration clock, however some of the non Ultimate Rewards hotel programs can be a little more difficult.
Recently, I discovered a new company called TopGuest that makes it really easy to earn some miles / points while simultaneously generating some qualifying activity to keep your miles from expiring.
If you aren’t familiar with TopGuest, in short they give you miles / points for performing certain social media activity and informing your online friends about it.
For example, by “checking-in” at O’Hare via Facebook, I’d earn 50 United miles.
The amount of points you earn varies by the program, but given that you are earning miles just for pressing a button on your phone, it really doesn’t get much easier than that.
Brands that participate in TopGuest include:
- Priority Club
- Hilton HHonors
- Virgin America Elevate
- Best Western Rewards
- Wyndham Rewards
- Kipton Hotels
- Viola Hotels
- Club Hotel
United also participates in the program but for some reason or the other it isn’t publicly displayed. So you have to first sign up for TopGuest and then separately sign up for the United program. Don’t ask me why.
I take public transit everyday and my office is on Michigan Avenue, so the bus goes right by the Intercontinental Chicago, Hilton Chicago, etc daily, however what I realized is that you can “check-in” even if you aren’t necessarily close to the location.
For example, I check-in via FourSquare to O’Hare Airport randomly when I am sitting at home on my couch and still earn 50 United miles.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if I could check-in to SFO (San Francisco) airport while still in Chicago, and get 50 United miles.
As with anytime there is a really amazing opportunity to earn miles, if you abuse the system, you will get banned. So don’t try to check-in to the same hotel or airport everyday and think you are going to earn 250 miles a week by doing that.
While it may seem silly that a company would pay (in miles) for users to “share” their location with their friends, at some level it does make sense. If you see that your friend is constantly checking-in to a certain hotel, you might be curious to check out the hotel for yourself.
Anyways as stated above, this is a really easy way to earn some free miles, while keeping all your random loyalty program active so I strongly encourage everyone to sign-up!
Below is what I have earned so far from spending literally a grand total of 10 seconds checking in.
If you have any other ideas on ways to keep miles / points from expiring, feel free to leave a comment!