How To Prevent British Airways Avios From Expiring (And How To Reinstate Expired Avios)

How To Prevent British Airways Avios From Expiring (And How To Reinstate Expired Avios)

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Fortunately this is one of the points expiration stories that falls in the “all’s well that ends well” category.

My dad had 53K British Airways Avios expire

Long story short, on Tuesday I was updating points balances through AwardWallet, and noticed that my dad’s British Airways Executive Club balance went to zero. As it turned out, he had 52,627 Avios expire. Oops.

I’m not sure how exactly this happened. I manage the loyalty program accounts for everyone in my family, and making sure points don’t expire is one of the most basic things I keep an eye on. I guess sometimes things slip through the cracks.

Frankly I haven’t put much thought into points expiration since the start of the pandemic, as most programs have paused the expiration of points (go figure British Airways Executive Club is one program that hasn’t, for whatever reason).

This was my fault, plain and simple, though hopefully others will learn from my mistake — British Airways Avios are expiring as normal.

What is British Airways’ Avios expiration policy?

British Airways Avios expire after 36 months of inactivity. According to the British Airways Executive Club terms:

Your Avios stay with you as long as you collect, spend, purchase or share at least one Avios every 36 months — any longer and your Avios will expire and be removed, so remember to take action before those three years are up.

How do you stop British Airways Avios from expiring?

To stop British Airways Avios from expiring, you just need any sort of activity at least once every 36 months, which could include earning or redeeming Avios. That’s ultimately not a huge ask.

What are some easy ways to prevent your Avios from expiring?

There are many other ways to earn or redeem Avios, but I think those are some of the easiest.

Any Avios earning or redemption activity resets expiration

How do you reinstate expired Avios?

I decided to phone up British Airways Executive Club to ask about the possibility of having the expired Avios reinstated. I wasn’t coming up with any grand story about the Avios expiring, but rather just explained that it slipped my mind, and I was wondering if they could possibly be reinstated as a one-time exception.

The agent informed me that this was indeed possible, and there seems to be an official policy here:

  • You can have British Airways Avios reinstated at no cost as long as they’ve expired in the past three months
  • In order to reinstate them, you’ll first need to have some sort of account activity, which could be transferring 1,000 points to British Airways from a partner
  • Then you’re supposed to call back, and Avios will be reinstated as a “one time exception”

That sounded easy enough. I would have just done this instantly while on phone, but I wasn’t near a computer. So I hung up, transfered 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, and then called back to have them reinstated.

When I called back the agent didn’t sound quite as certain. “I can’t make any guarantees, but I can send a request to back office.” She then asked me the reason the Avios expired, and wrote down my explanation.

Sure enough, just 24 hours later the Avios showed up in my account again.

That was a fairly painless process. The only major downside to all of this was the amount of time that I spent on hold. Don’t even ask me how long, though that alone is enough reason to make sure your Avios don’t expire. 😉

I can’t guarantee this policy about reinstating Avios will stick around forever (I’m not sure if it’s just during the pandemic, or what), so if your Avios expire you’ll want to phone British Airways to ask about the policy for them being reinstated.

These Avios will come in handy for short haul redemptions on American

Bottom line

British Airways Avios expire after 36 months of account inactivity. Qualifying activity would include earning or redeeming Avios. While British Airways hasn’t paused the expiration of Avios during the pandemic, at least the program currently lets you easily reinstate Avios within three months of them expiring.

What has your experience been with British Airways’ Avios expiration policy?

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  1. Alpa Pandya Guest

    my iberia avios pts expire in 3 weeks. i was going to transfer pts from one of my travel credit cards, but thought i'd ask first if that will work. i asked on iberia's fb accct as well as by email. both reps said transfer from credit card will not extend the expiration date!
    i never got an email from iberia about pts expiring soon.
    i called, and was told today (may 7,...

    my iberia avios pts expire in 3 weeks. i was going to transfer pts from one of my travel credit cards, but thought i'd ask first if that will work. i asked on iberia's fb accct as well as by email. both reps said transfer from credit card will not extend the expiration date!
    i never got an email from iberia about pts expiring soon.
    i called, and was told today (may 7, 2022) that iberia will send an email next week or so saying iberia will not be expiring pts this year due to covid.
    ben, have you heard anything about this?!

  2. Richard Guest

    Ba is now partners with Qatar Airways. I have opened an account with Qatar and the 2 accounts are now linked allowing me to transfer points from one to the other.

    If i do that does that prevent my points from expiring????????

  3. Julia Wilkinson Guest

    Since I have been emailed to say my Avios will expire I have tried ringing BA three times waited for all the recorded messages only to be told they can't help me and to ring back another time.How long is a piece of string?
    I have an extremely busy life caring for my disabled son Dreaming of a holiday which Covid has prevented . Now face prospect of loosing all my Avios!!!!
    There must be a better customer service if they want me to use BA when I can?

  4. Myi Guest

    I'm wondering if I book and flight and cancel it, even if I pay the $5-6 tax fee. Would that extend my mileage expiration date?

    Though if that doesn't work I guess I'll have to buy something on the e-store or transfer.

  5. Jose Santiago Guest

    Another way to keep them alive is to transfer a small amount of BA Avios to another account, like your spouses account (or a second account you just made for yourself with a different email address). According to https://www.britishairways.com/en-us/executive-club/collecting-avios/avios-expiry-rules , "Transferring Avios will reset the 36-month period for both the person sending and the person receiving the Avios." If you still have not used them 36 months later, just transfer them back.

    Another way to keep them alive is to transfer a small amount of BA Avios to another account, like your spouses account (or a second account you just made for yourself with a different email address). According to https://www.britishairways.com/en-us/executive-club/collecting-avios/avios-expiry-rules , "Transferring Avios will reset the 36-month period for both the person sending and the person receiving the Avios." If you still have not used them 36 months later, just transfer them back.

    1. Myi New Member

      You have to pay to transfer?
      Though you can make a pooled account for the family. But then you can only use it to book for family members and not random people not part of the family account.
      Though when it's a pooled account all you need is one person on a small flight to credit the miles to your Ba account(meaning their own account which will extend yours as well.)

  6. Cy Guest

    I just realized my 275000 Avios expired few months ago this May. There were a lot that went on in my family these 2 years and I missed the email to from BA. I wrote to them hoping they would make ex exception. I thought they would extend the expiry as other airlines would. I wrote to them hopefully they would make an exception.

  7. Mike Hollingsworth Guest

    How do you know if any of your Avios are about to expire - apart from keeping a meticulous record? I have just lost a small number of Avios with the note "Points reset for new membership year". Not sure what that means...

  8. Elizabeth Bentley Guest

    I have been trying for months to add to my avoid air miles before they run out! I used to do this with Tesco vouchers regularly but that has stopped. I have tried with nectar but hit a brick wall as dont recognise my account number. Tried ringing and emailing but no luck! Has anyone got an email address that they actually answer or even better a telephone number i can get through on without having to wait for hours the get cut off!!
    Many thanks

  9. Alan Gold

    Does anyone know if transferring miles between BA, Iberia, and/or Air Lingus extends the validity? And if not, what happens if you transfer your miles from one program where they are about to expire to another where they are not?

    1. Myi New Member

      Never managed to get my Iberia account up and running to be able to transfer back and forth with would help with my expiring avios. I think you need some activity with the new Iberia account. So if I'm going down that path of adding 1k miles from chase or Amex. I'll just add them to my Iberia and that way I'll have the freedom to transfer amongst accounts . Assuming that will work.

  10. Pam Guest

    I have prev received multiple emails from BA warning about upcoming points expiration. You might want to make sure they have an email you check regularly on file for your dad’s account.

  11. Mike1977 Guest

    I had nearly 20,000 Avios expire in December and I just noticed last week. I first tried calling but decided I didn’t want to hold indefinitely. I tweeted BA and they responded quickly with and email specifically for social media requests. I sent an email, explained I hadn’t been traveling due to the pandemic and asked for a one time curtesy reinstatement. Within 24 hours a received an reply explaining that the Avios were reinstated...

    I had nearly 20,000 Avios expire in December and I just noticed last week. I first tried calling but decided I didn’t want to hold indefinitely. I tweeted BA and they responded quickly with and email specifically for social media requests. I sent an email, explained I hadn’t been traveling due to the pandemic and asked for a one time curtesy reinstatement. Within 24 hours a received an reply explaining that the Avios were reinstated and to fill out a survey asking if I was satisfied. The survey even asked if the tone of the email was professional. They really wanted to be sure I was happy! By the way, I’m “blue” status, literally zero clout with BA.

    1. Lucas Guest

      Other possibility is to buy a sightseeing activity. In my hometown Berlin was the cheapest one a audible sightseeing tour with an app for 250 avios. Now my avios are safe for the next 36 month.

  12. EC2 Guest

    Ben,

    Assuming having the credit card and making a purchase is good enough. Think I have has most of mine more than 3 years and just pull the card out once a year.

  13. Airfarer Guest

    A timely post. I have a lot of Avios potentially at risk in the next couple of months. Didn't they send you an email advising an expiration event?

  14. Lowrie Ralston Glasgow Guest

    Where do you find the expiration date on BA website?. I only see it on Award Wallet.

    1. Benj Guest

      I have the same question...

    2. Klavs Guest

      You don't you just have to look at the statement and see when the last activity was. There isn't a firm number.

  15. Nate nate Guest

    Would love a post on how to deal with Iberia Avios. They provide horrible customer service. I had 65k points returned to my flight from a canceled flight (took 4 calls for the flight to be canceled). The day after the points were credited, they expired due to inactivity, despite (1) the award flight being booked less than 6 months prior, and (2) a different flight being credited to the account ~32 months ago, so...

    Would love a post on how to deal with Iberia Avios. They provide horrible customer service. I had 65k points returned to my flight from a canceled flight (took 4 calls for the flight to be canceled). The day after the points were credited, they expired due to inactivity, despite (1) the award flight being booked less than 6 months prior, and (2) a different flight being credited to the account ~32 months ago, so within the last 36 months.

    The Iberia support number only has voice prompts, and I often get connected to someone who says they can't help me, and there is no way for them to to elevate or connect me to the right person (so they say)

    1. Klavs Guest

      Iberia plus has an email address. You can write to that and they should be able to sort the stuff out. The people on the phone don't do much Iberia Plus stuff so they can't help that much.

    2. Nate nate Guest

      Thanks. I have had more success with that, but 4/5 times the email response will be, in Spanish, "we don't understand your request, please fill out our online form". So really difficult to move the ball forward at all.

    3. Mh Diamond

      I contacted and escalated through multiple people in iberia plus after losing miles last year and wasn't able to get anywhere with them. They just kept referring to their policy that they had expired and it was final.

  16. Martin Guest

    Cant you just use and spend on avios credit card for activity?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Alpa Pandya Guest

my iberia avios pts expire in 3 weeks. i was going to transfer pts from one of my travel credit cards, but thought i'd ask first if that will work. i asked on iberia's fb accct as well as by email. both reps said transfer from credit card will not extend the expiration date! i never got an email from iberia about pts expiring soon. i called, and was told today (may 7, 2022) that iberia will send an email next week or so saying iberia will not be expiring pts this year due to covid. ben, have you heard anything about this?!

0
Richard Guest

Ba is now partners with Qatar Airways. I have opened an account with Qatar and the 2 accounts are now linked allowing me to transfer points from one to the other. If i do that does that prevent my points from expiring????????

0
Julia Wilkinson Guest

Since I have been emailed to say my Avios will expire I have tried ringing BA three times waited for all the recorded messages only to be told they can't help me and to ring back another time.How long is a piece of string? I have an extremely busy life caring for my disabled son Dreaming of a holiday which Covid has prevented . Now face prospect of loosing all my Avios!!!! There must be a better customer service if they want me to use BA when I can?

0
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