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).