Currently, Asia Miles have a fixed expiry date of 3 years after they are earned. Regardless of how actively you earn or redeem miles, they will always expire if not fully used within 3 years. This is problematic because it’s very difficult for the average frequent flyer to save for a dream trip if they only have 3 years to use up their earned miles!
Under the new system, Asia Miles earned from 1 January 2020 will not expire as long as you keep your Asia Miles account active by earning or using at least 1 mile every 18 months. This is the same points expiration policy used by Qantas Frequent Flyer.
Asia Miles earned until 31 December 2019 will still expire after their fixed 3-year period. When redeeming Asia Miles from 1 January 2020, miles earned before the changeover will be used first. Once all of your miles earned prior to 1 January 2020 are used up, the remaining balance will not expire if you keep your Asia Miles account active.
The Asia Miles website has more information about this change.
Earning or redeeming at least one mile every 18 months is not a difficult ask. For example, you can earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for taking Qantas flights (although, beware that most discounted Economy fare classes don’t earn anything). You can also transfer points from many Australian credit cards to Asia Miles. Alternatively, you can keep your balance alive by simply booking a hotel night through Agoda PointsMAX and crediting the points to Asia Miles.
Cathay Pacific’s new Asia Miles expiration policy from January 2020 is definitely a win for program members. The new policy will likely result in fewer miles expiring overall. This will cost Cathay Pacific money, but they must have decided that the benefits to the program through increased customer loyalty and engagement would outweigh that cost.
There are still a few frequent flyer programs around the world that use a fixed-term point expiration system. With Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Malaysia Airlines Enrich and Emirates Skywards, miles also expire after 3 years. Air New Zealand’s Airpoints Dollars expire after 4-5 years, regardless of account activity.
Increasingly, frequent flyer programs globally have been relaxing their expiration policies lately. Last month, for example, Etihad Guest announced that miles will no longer expire as long as there is account activity every 18 months (instead of a fixed 2-year expiration policy). And earlier this year, United Airlines announced that United MileagePlus miles will no longer expire at all.
Expiring points, known in the industry as “breakage”, are obviously very profitable for airlines. But if members find it too difficult to use their points before they expire, this can turn people away from the loyalty program. Without engaged members, you don’t have a loyalty program.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Keep your Asia Miles active and they’ll never expire