a seat in a plane

One of the most annoying things in the lovely world of points and miles is expiration dates. The more programs you participate in, the more you need to worry about what might happen if you don’t add any points to the balance.

Billions, likely even trillions of points have been lost throughout the years due to sneaky expiration dates, and new information suggests British Airways might be about to drop their pesky Avios points expirations entirely.

British Airways Ending Avios Expiry?

Head For Points read further than the people who wrote the document, looking at the IAG Annual Report for 2020. IAG is the parent company of British Airways. In the filing, some 56 pages in, an interesting sentence was flagged, which appeared in a section dedicated to how the company sees their liability for any points out in the wild…

Avios do not have an expiry date and can be redeemed at any time in the future. Revenue may therefore be recognised at any time in the future.

IAG Annual Report

Only, they do have an expiration date. Currently, Avios in any British Airways account have a 3 year (36 month) expiration window, meaning if you don’t earn any new points at all in a 3 year stretch, they will expire and be forfeited. You lose everything.

an airplane wing with clouds in the background

Many other programs deal this way too, and some go even further, where earning new points doesn’t even reset the expiry and the points will expire after a certain period, no matter what. If the statement in the IAG report were to become true, it would be a hugely positive development for people who earn Avios.

You’d never need to worry about losing them during a downturn in travel, or simply by not paying close attention to the program. Now, the timing with this, if true, isn’t all that strange, would actually make a lot of sense.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club rebranded its Flying Club Miles into ‘Virgin Points’, as part of the larger ‘Virgin Red’ ecosystem in the last year, and also removed all expiration dates when the move was put in place. Virgin Points now never expire, and can be earned and use across more of the Virgin brands, with greater ease.

As fierce UK competitors, it would only make sense for British Airways and the wider Avios program to also remove points expiration dates, so other programs would no longer have a competitive advantage in attracting consumers.

This is one of the many reasons keeping airline marketplaces competitive remains vital for happy travelers. When loyalty programs compete, the customers tend to win. With a long road ahead for the air travel recovery, that will ring even more true than usual for years to come, with greater ease in redeeming points for sought after seats.

Nothing Official, Yet

There’s nothing official stating that Avios points will no longer expire, other than the financial report from the official company filing. Put better, there’s been no messaging to customers that points expiration is being dropped, and if you login to your account you’d still see a date.

But, with moves from Virgin Red, and the appearance of the statement in a heavily scrutinized corporate filing, it’s not purely speculative to think such a move would be coming sooner than later. If Avios no longer expire, the program will become much more appealing.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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