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Not all credit card perks are created equal. Take the mileage rewards credit cards, for instance. The more miles you earn, the more free flights you get, and Discover it Miles has one of the best sign-up bonuses of any cash back card … but that’s not the only benefit of this credit card. If you have leukemia or another blood-related cancer, Discover it Miles may be able to give you a huge mileage balance refund …

We’ve told you before about the perils of travel insurance when you book a flight, but this case is something else entirely. The reader who wrote in is in remission from leukemia, and because of this, she decided not to go through her insurance for her flight home from her trip to Greece. However, she was diagnosed with acute leukemia during the trip, and now she’s stuck with a $500,000 medical bill. We don’t know about you, but this story is making us rethink all of our travel insurance plans.

Leukaemia will cost this reader a huge amount of mileage

Gary Leff 2. May 2021

If you are a member of American AAdvantage and under the age of 21, your miles will not expire. If you are a member of United, Southwest, Delta, Hawaiian or JetBlue, your miles will not expire.

However, if you are an American AAdvantage lifetime elite member and have accumulated over 2 million miles, you must either earn or use points every 18 months to avoid losing all your accumulated points.

A reader discovered this when she received an email from American Airlines informing her that her points would expire in a few months. It did not do business with American Airlines during the pandemic, and although it temporarily suspended the forfeiture of points, that action was reversed.

And for the past year, she’s been helping her husband with his fight against leukemia. The virus and doctor’s appointments made it impossible for her to travel. And although she had focused her travels on America for years, she needed to take a break.

She came to me thinking that as a lifetime Platinum member, she didn’t have to worry about her points expiring. Some frequent flyer programs do this, but it’s not the norm at American Airlines.

The question they asked me was whether the upfront bonus of a new co-branded credit card would help in this case, and of course it did. Fortunately, it is now even easier to renew American AAdvantage miles. I sent it to the AAdvantage 40th anniversary lottery, which has a game to win. Each time, the 40 free miles are reported as a normal benefit.

There are many other simple ways to avoid expiring miles, for example:

  • Create a Bask savings account with no fees at Bask Bank Deposit $12 and get a mile each month and never have to look at it again.
  • Mile Shopping Portal Buy something you would have bought online anyway through the AAdvantage Shopping Portal to earn points.
  • Giving away miles Activity may include earning or redeeming miles. So if you donate a minimum number of miles, you can keep your account active and be done with it in a few clicks.

There are other easy ways to earn miles, and others not so easy, and in doing so you don’t necessarily have to travel. For example, hold an opinion poll. Unfortunately, American Airlines no longer allows miles to be redeemed for newspapers, which is an easy way for me to avoid losing points on the Alaska Airlines accounts I manage.

Without a doubt, I personally prefer the combination of positives and negatives of American AAdvantage. They just eliminated the cancellation and redemption fees for all members, not just Executive Platinum members. I used their miles the most because they have more partners with more international first class flights to the places I wanted to visit (Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Japan Airlines, British Airways).

In the U.S., however, they are surpassed by Alaska, JetBlue, Spirit and Frontier in terms of miles expired. This is something they should abolish for the elite of life.

Lake View from the Wing

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