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My United Miles That Will Never Expire

While most miles across the various programs will expire, there are certain United miles that will never expire.

Delta adopted a policy a while back that other airlines have skirted – that award miles earned will never expire (until you die). For other airlines, it is a matter of a long expiration period and any activity will keep the miles alive for that same period again.

My United Miles That Will Never Expire

united miles

My United miles that will never expire – since they are a special kind of elite mile

That means that if you have an airline co-branded card, you are pretty much all set and don’t have to worry about miles expiring since activity (like a purchase or annual fee) will reset the clock on those miles. United has the same type of policy for their miles. United miles expire on the last day of 18 months following any activity on the account. Miles can be kept from expiring by registering any transaction on the account (including using the United credit card, redeeming miles, portal earnings, flying, etc.). To be clear, you need to have some kind of activity on your United mileage account ever 18 months to prevent those award miles from expiring!

But, United also has a different set of miles. These are the elite miles that are earned for elite status qualification. That is earned by flying or buying (at a rate that is not very good for the customer at all) or by spending done on the (no longer available for new customers) United Presidential Plus card.

Flex EQMs

The Presidential Plus card is no longer available but was a card I held many years ago when I was able to get it fee free. I put almost $50,000 on that card the year I held it so currently have 9,000 of these non-expiring Flex EQMs sitting in my account. At any time, I can apply these towards my elite mileage that I need to qualify for elite status. Until March 31, you can choose to apply them to this year’s elite earning or the past year. Or, I can choose to continue to hold them (which I am). With Premier Silver being the lowest elite level and it requiring 25,000 PQMs, I would need to have at least 16,000 PQMs to make the transferring of those 9,000 premier miles worth it.

Non-Expiring vs Expiring

The equivalent card, in most ways, is now the United Club card. But, one key difference with the Presidential Plus card was that you would earn 1,000 Premier qualifying miles for every $5,000 in spending. These are called Flex PQMs as they can be redeemed against your elite mileage balance at any time. For all Flex PQMs earned since 2012, they will expire 39 months from the end of the calendar year they were deposited in the account. For all Flex PQMs earned pre-2012, they will never expire.

Those are the only United miles which will never expire no matter what your activity level is and, unfortunately, are not possible to get anymore. If you still have the Presidential Plus card, you can continue to earn them but they will expire in a few years. I am sure there are still many United members that have held off applying their never-expiring Flex EQMs to wait for a time when they really need them. I came close to redeeming them one time but was able to get by that year. Now, my Star Alliance flights are all credited to Aegean so my Flex EQMs will continue to sit in my account for now.

Do you still have a Presidential Plus card? If you had it before, do you still have non-expiring Flex EQMs in your account?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.