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Why Did My Miles Disappear? And Can They Be Reinstated?

SmarterTravel

Dear Tim,

I have accumulated about 57,000 US Airways Dividend Miles mostly through a credit card. I gave up the credit card in 2003. When I last checked, I was told by a person at the airline that my miles would be worthless after the first of January 2007. Can you set me straight?

R.L.

Dear R.L.,

There are two policies that may be at work here.

First is US Airways’ longstanding mileage-expiration policy: If there is no activity in an account for three years, all miles in that account will be forfeited. If the last time you earned or cashed in miles was prior to December 31, 2003, then all the miles in your account disappeared on January 1, 2007. Most likely, the US Airways customer service rep was warning you about this policy.

You should also be aware that the current three-year policy will be superseded by a new one, beginning January 31, which reduces to 18 months the period during which members must have activity in order to maintain the life of their miles. Making a bad situation even worse, the new policy will apply retroactively when it takes effect. So after January 31, any Dividend Miles accounts with no activity for the preceding 18 months will be stripped of their miles.

All this fretting about expiring miles raises the question: Can lost miles be reinstated?

If your miles expired under the old three-year policy, they cannot be reactivated. However, miles lost under the new policy can be revived for a $50 processing fee plus one cent per mile. If your 57,000 miles expired under the later policy, you would have to pay $620 to revive them.

Aside from sheer inattention, there is no excuse for allowing miles to expire. Even with US Airways’ newly shortened expiration schedule, any new earning or redemption will extend the life of all miles in your account. No trips on the horizon? No problem. Make a purchase through the Dividend Miles Shopping Mall, or donate as few as 1,000 of your miles to one of four supported charities: the American Red Cross, Angel Flight, Fisher House Foundation, and Make-A-Wish Foundation. Either option will give your miles a new lease on life.

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