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. Alan

    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?

  2. Pam

    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.

  3. Mike1977

    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.

  4. EC2

    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.

  5. Airfarer

    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?

  6. Lowrie Ralston Glasgow

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

    1. Klavs

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

  7. Nate nate

    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

      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

      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

      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.

  8. Martin

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

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Mh

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.

Alan

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?

Pam

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.

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