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Asia Miles will no longer expire from 1 Jan 2020, with a caveat

Asia Miles will be kept active as long as there’s an activity once every 18 months. Sounds good at first glance, but that means you need to keep your account active more often.

Cathay Pacific loyalists can cheer: Asia Miles earned from 1st January 2020 will no longer expire, as long as you earn or redeem at least one mile every 18 months.

Note that this will only apply for miles earned from 1st January 2020, and any miles earned before that will still expire under the current rules.

Current system

Under the current rules, all miles earned within a membership year will expire three years after the current membership year.

For example, if your membership year (based on your sign-up month) is from April to March the following year:

If you earned 10,000 miles in May 2018, they will expire in March 2022 (i.e. end of membership year in March 2020 plus three years).

If you earn another 5,000 miles in December 2019, they will expire in March 2023.

New system

The new system will automatically extend your miles expiry date by 18 months from the date of your latest crediting and debiting activity. This is a similar system used by Singapore Airlines as well as British Airways Executive Club, except that the latter two programmes have a longer shelf life of 3 years.

‘Crediting and debiting activity’ refers to the date that miles were added (or deducted) from your account, and not the date when you took the flight, or redeemed the miles.

As an example:

If you earn 10,000 miles in 1 January 2020, the miles will have an expiry date of 30 June 2021.

Following that, if you earn another 3,000 miles on 15 March 2020, all 13,000 miles (assuming you didn’t use any) will now expire on 14 September 2021.

Eligible transactions are pretty broad so it’s quite easy to keep your account active. The eligible transactions are:

  • Earning miles
  • Redeeming miles
  • Purchase of miles (top-up)
  • Points exchange
  • Member-to-member transfer
  • Miles renewal
  • Bonus miles credit
  • Gift miles (from someone else)

How to check when are your miles expiring?

To check when your miles are expiring, you can log onto your Asia Miles account, click on the top-right corner dropdown menu, and click “Manage your Miles”.

Scroll down and click on “Renew your miles”.

Inside, you will see how many of your miles and their respective expiry dates.

Asia Miles offer an option for your renew the validity of your miles for another three years, albeit at a very hefty USD40 per 2,000 mile block.

Note that from 1 January 2020, all renewed miles will fall under the new expiry rules (i.e. expire 18 months after the last activity).

There are also no renewal option for all miles earned or renewed after 1 January 2020, so please be careful.

How will Asia Miles use my miles between the old and system?

Asia Miles uses a ‘first in, first out’ system, using up the oldest miles in your account first when you redeem them.

That means, any miles you have that fall under the time-based expiration system will be spent first, before the ‘newer’ miles earned under the activity-based expiration system.

Final thoughts

This is a good move, especially if you are what I call a leisure supporter of Cathay Pacific or other Oneworld airlines. Under the old fixed time-based expiration rules, leisure fliers may fine it very difficult to rack up enough points to redeem for a trip before their miles expire.

If you have an Asia Miles account and want to keep your account active, you should ideally try to maintain an activity once a year, rather than cutting it very close to the expiration date.

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