Take a moment and perhaps even shed a tear for all the points and miles that have tragically expired without use. Can you imagine the feeling of collecting thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of points, only to have them expire before you could use them? Gone forever. Letting points and miles expire is the worst possible thing you can do, getting no reward from your travel, while letting airlines and hotels get off scot free. Here's what to do with your expiring points...

Stop Them From Expiring. It's Easy.

Airline miles and hotel points are not potatoes. First, they don't grow sprouts, and second the expiration date is not set in stone. In fact, you are the one that actually sets the expiration date. No matter what your current expiration date, it resets every time you earn new points. That doesn't even mean you need to travel. Taking an online survey, tweeting, spending money or buying something through one of their partners or promotions will be more than enough to reset your expiration, to at least another year and a half. 

Magazines, Champagne, Gift Cards...

If resetting your points, which is the best option, is not something you're interested in, you won't get a great value of return, but you can still get something. Many airlines and hotel programs allow you to use a relatively small number of miles, perhaps 1,000 here or there, for magazine or newspaper subscriptions and more. For around 5,000 miles you could get some champagne, or even a gift card to a store or restaurant you frequent. Something is better than nothing.

Flight Or Hotel Discounts

If you plan on traveling before your miles are set to expire, just to clarify, you will stop them from expiring, and you don't need to worry about any of this. If you won't be traveling before your points will expire, you can however use your points towards a flight or hotel. Simply go to book your travel, no matter how far away, before your points will expire and when you check out or search, apply as many points as they will let you toward the cost. Again, better than nothing...

Transfer Them?

For many programs, any activity is enough to reset. You may even be able to stop your points from expiring just by spending some! Especially for hotel programs, you can transfer your points into airlines, resetting the expiration date in the new program and also perhaps in the meantime, resetting the expiration date on the program you're transferring from. You'll have to check the rules for your program...