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Travel Hacking Rewards – You Can and Will Lose It If You Don’t Use It!

If you travel hack or belong to loyalty programs, don’t forget about your rewards! There are many rewards programs that have expiration dates for certain things. In this article, I want to focus on two main things as it pertains to travel rewards points.

Rewards Do Expire Or Can Be Lost

This is something many don’t fully understand. Rewards can and will expire for certain loyalty programs. For example, if you have points with IHG (hotel chain) and don’t stay at an IHG hotel for a year, you will lose your points. As long as you stay for one night in a 12 month span, you won’t have anything to worry about. This is similar for Marriott and Hilton as well.

The only rewards program I know of where your points don’t expire are with Delta. As long as you have an account with Delta, you will always have your loyalty points.

Rewards I Had to Extend

For me, there were two different rewards I called my loyalty program to extend. That’s right, don’t let them make you believe you have to use the reward by the expiration date! A simple phone call asking them to extend the rewards will usually do the trick.

First, I had 6 free car rental days that expired today (12/30/19) that I had not yet used. I rent from National, and they have a decent rewards program to earn free days. Here is one cool thing about their rewards program. If you have free days you haven’t used, you can do one of two things. You can:

  • Get credit for a previous rental made earlier in the year for the number of free days you have. For example, if I rented a car for 4 days, they would credit that cost back to my credit card.
  • You can ask the agent to extend the free rental days into the following year.

For me, I found a car rental from September that was 5 days that I ended up getting refunded to my credit card. This was also a cool way to convert those free days to cash.

The main reason for this being the trip was for work, so my employer was paying for the rental.

Key Takeaways:

  • Reward points for different programs can expire. Make sure you research which ones do and don’t expire.
  • If you are coming up close to the expiration, call the loyalty program. I have found many times that the company would extend my offer into the following year.
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