Turns Out British Airways Will Reinstate Your Expired Points

So I was going to make a booking yesterday using Avios points and I signed into my wife’s account (because I can’t remember which account is hers and which is mine, and it doesn’t really matter since you can combine the points), and I was ever-so-slightly surprised to see that there were exactly 0 miles in the account. This was surprising because previously there were 105,000 points in that account, and I don’t remember spending 105,000 points on any trips.

I go to investigate.

Me (to wife): Do you remember getting an email, or a letter, or a call or some form of communication from British Airways that your points were expiring?
Wife: No.
Me: No you don’t remember, or no you didn’t get one?
Wife: I didn’t get one. I get stuff all the time. I don’t remember. I thought you took care of this stuff.

I return to the screen and see that sure enough there’s a notation that in January 105,000 miles expired and they’re now gone, and I’m starting to sweat and I’m trying very hard not to swear (not at anyone, mind you, but just in general), and Scarlett walks in to the office:

Scarlett: Hi daddy. Want to see a magic trick?
Me: Um. What?
Scarlett: Want to see a magic trick?
Me: (Hyper-aware of the “Cats in the cradle and the silver spoon…” situation where I’m too busy for my kids until I later discover that they’re too busy for me…) Um, I’m kinda busy, but I’m happy to see it. Oh wait, did you make my Avios points disappear?
Scarlett: What?
Me: Nothing, show me the trick.
Scarlett: What are Avios points?
Me: They’re frequent flyer miles. It’s nothing, I was joking. Show me the trick.
Scarlett: Why are they called points if they’re frequent flyer miles?
Me: It doesn’t matter.

(She shows me the trick)

I call British Airways and according to the lovely woman on the phone, who had a British accent that makes everything seem more pleasant, they will re-deposit the points (for free!) and that I’ll then have 3 months to have some activity in the account to extend the expiration date. I can just move some points between my account and my wife’s, and everything will once again be right with the world.

Moral: Sometimes you just have to ask to get what you want.
Moral 2: No matter how annoyed I am, it’s always better to watch the magic trick.


  1. Interesting story, I’m surprised Award Wallet didn’t alert you that your miles were about to expire.

  2. That was certainly nice of Avios. A couple of questions. First, how was getting through to them? Lucky at onemileatatime mentioned a month or so ago that they closed their USA call center and they now had ridiculously long hold times. I’ve been meaning to call them about a schedule change on an award flight, but I’ve been “afraid.” :)

    Second, I’m assuming you have their family plan where you share miles. I’ve always thought that when you redeem an award, they take the miles out pro rata, so that there would be activity in all the accounts (and you wouldn’t lose the miles). That is how it works, right? I’ve found it not so easy to view the individual activity on the avios accounts when I log in. Finally, I thought avios points didn’t expire for 3 years. Is that right? If so, if it’s pro rata, the odds are good that you’re gonna need a short haul flight in 3 years and generate some activity in the accounts.

    • Shockingly, on a Sunday morning they answered the phone in under a minute.

      I believe it is 3 years – and it would be easy enough to extend by transferring Membership Rewards points into the account.

  3. I wish I were better about watching the magic tricks! Way to get all Cat Stevens on me.

    Another awesome thing about Avios is their generous policy when you cancel an award ticket. I did this a few months ago and all points were refunded; I was only out the fee which was $5.