How to prevent United miles from expiring (for now)

I track all of the mileage accounts I manage for people through Award Wallet, and I just got a notice saying that my dad’s United Mileage Plus miles will expire in a few weeks. He only has about 25,000 miles which I’m sure he’ll get around to using now that I had him sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, but he probably won’t be credited those points before they expire. I could have just transferred 1,000 points from my Ultimate Rewards account to his Mileage Plus account, but instead something rather obvious occurred to me.

Miles can now be freely transferred between Continental and United. While United has an 18-month mileage expiration policy, Continental miles don’t expire as of now. So I transferred the miles from his United Mileage Plus account to his Continental OnePass account at no cost, and in the process extended their life by two years without paying a cent. Per the merger page, Continental writes the following:

Miles currently have no expiry date; however, Continental Airlines reserves the right to impose expiry limits or terminate the OnePass program, thus terminating your ability to claim rewards. The OnePass program will formally end on December 31, 2011, followed by a wind-down period during the first quarter of 2012. Following the wind-down period, your OnePass award miles will be replaced with an equivalent grant of Mileage Plus reward miles. At that point, the Mileage Plus 18-month expiration policy will apply.

In other words it will likely be April of next year before the 18-month expiration policy applies, meaning Continental miles won’t expire until at least late 2013.

Nothing brilliant here, but maybe it’ll help a few of you with expiring United miles (or your relatives with expiring United miles).

Filed Under: Advice, Continental
  1. Or simply sign up with one of these survey partners and get some opening bonus miles. That will extend the expiration date. Sign up using an email account that you don’t have to monitor every day because these survey sites send high volumn of emails.

  2. @ afrugaluaflyer — True, though it’s worth keeping in mind that those points can take 6-8 weeks to post.

  3. You can also eat at one of the MileagePlus Dining participating restaurants.

    I use this to keep my miles/points from expiring in many other programs.

  4. @ Graham — Correct, any activity would count, including using a United credit card.

    @ rick — True, though it’s always worth keeping in mind those can take a while to post.

  5. Thanks for the timely info. Was just trying to figure out how to keep Mr. BunMama’s United points from expiring. Had a little difficulty linking the accounts, since one had his as a Jr. and the other didn’t. Since he had no points in the Continental account, I just opened a new Continental account with the correct ending and transfered points. Easy-peasy!

  6. Good tip, but my favorite is still buying a song off Itunes (via the United shopping portal) for 99 cents. Cost more, but I get a song!

  7. Just came back frm cancun with my family and u people had the nerve to charge $25 per person per luggage going n coming very disappointed I’ve used this airline numerous time s now my points are going to expire r u kidding me thank you

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