When Do Your Hotel Points Expire?

You’d be hard-pressed to find a financial expert who would advise against saving money, but

You’d be hard-pressed to find a financial expert who would advise against saving money, but when it comes to the currency of hotel points, many travel experts agree it would behoove you to spend them, not save them.

For starters, points can undergo devaluations, meaning the same amount of points that booked you five nights last year might only cover four nights now.

Even worse, points can expire completely. Often, hotel loyalty program points expire if your account is inactive for a period of time — typically one to two years.

To help make sure your points don’t evaporate before you’re ready to escape on vacation, we’ve put together a guide with hotel point expiration dates for eight major hotel chains:

Hotel points expiration dates and terms

Most major hotel brands have amended their policies for 2020 (and sometimes beyond) to account for the fact that members opting out of travel this year might otherwise be forced to forfeit points. Thus, we’ve also included a column for the new, temporary rules around hotel point expiration dates due to COVID-19.

Temporary changes to expiration dates since COVID-19

18 months since last account activity

Points forfeiture is on pause through Dec. 31, 2020

15 months since last account activity

Points expiration is on pause through Dec. 31, 2020

24 months since last account activity

Points expiration is on pause through Dec. 31, 2020

12 months since last account activity (no expiration for current Elite members)

Points expiration is on pause through Dec. 31, 2020

24 months since last account activity

Points expiration is on pause through Feb. 1, 2021

24 months since last account activity

Points expiration is on pause through March 31, 2021

18 months since last account activity or within four years after the checkout date of the stay for which the points were posted, whichever is sooner

Points expiration is on pause through Dec. 31, 2020

How to keep your hotel points from expiring

The good news is that you don’t actually have to stay at a hotel within that expiration period to keep your points active. In most cases, you can prevent your points from expiring by earning points through other means — such as using hotel-branded credit cards — or spending them on other non-hotel bookings.

Here are some specific, non-stay ways to keep your hotel loyalty accounts active, broken down by hotel brand (this is not a comprehensive list):

  • Redeem points for Choice gift cards.

  • Spend money via the Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card (for U.S. members only).

  • Refer a friend who then completes a point-eligible stay.

  • Purchase Hilton Honors points.

  • Donate points through the Hilton Honors Giving Back Program.

  • Spending money with Marriott through non-stay hotel spending (i.e., eligible, on-property spas or restaurants).

  • Purchasing Bonvoy points.

  • Converting Bonvoy points to airline miles (or airline miles to Bonvoy points).

That said, there are also common ways you might spend or earn points that don’t count as qualifying activity to prevent your Marriott Bonvoy points from expiring. Those include:

  • Gifting or transferring points to someone else, or receiving points from someone else.

  • Earning points via occasional social media promotions.

  • Spend money with a Radisson credit card.

  • Book qualifying car rentals through Avis and Budget.

  • Spend money with a Wyndham credit card.

  • Participate in surveys through the SSI Opinion Rewards Panel, which is Wyndham’s survey partner (for U.S. customers only).

The bottom line

It can be a bummer when you think you’ve accrued enough points for your vacation, only to find that they’ve expired. Check your accounts for when you last showed activity.

If you don’t plan on using your points before they expire, take action now. You might have to fill out a survey or donate a small chunk of points to charity. But the small sacrifice in time or charitable donations is likely worth it to make sure your hotel points don’t expire completely.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for: