7 Easiest Ways to Keep Your Hotel Points From Expiring (Without Traveling)

by Elizabeth Aldrich | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on June 22, 2021

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A woman standing next to her suitcase and looking out the window of her sunny hotel room.

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Don't lose your points -- especially when keeping them active can be as easy as swiping your credit card.

If your hotel points are coming up on their expiration date because you haven't traveled for a while, you're not alone. While a lot of hotel loyalty programs extended expiration dates for their members due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many former frequent travelers who still aren't completing hotel stays are now facing the possibility of losing their rewards soon.

Luckily there are a number of ways to keep your points active without traveling at all. In most cases, you have to earn or redeem any number of points to keep your account active. While the exact terms differ for each hotel rewards program, here are some of the most common ways to keep your hotel points from expiring.

1. Make a purchase with a co-branded credit card

Every major hotel chain now offers at least one co-branded credit card, with many offering a whole slate of credit cards from no-annual-fee options to premium cards. If you already have a hotel credit card that earns points with your preferred loyalty program, all you have to do is make a purchase with it. You'll earn points on the purchase, and that will keep your account active.

If you don't have a hotel credit card, consider opening one. Not only will you get the chance to earn a sign-up bonus that could score you some free nights when you do start to travel again, but you'll be able to keep your points from expiring.

2. Transfer generic credit card points to your hotel loyalty program

If you have a credit card with transferable points, you might be able to transfer some to your hotel rewards account. Rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Capital One Venture Rewards all earn points that can be transferred to a long list of hotel and airline partners. In most cases, you can transfer as few as 1,000 points.

3. Purchase hotel points

Purchasing hotel points rarely presents a good deal unless your hotel rewards program is running a really good promotion. However, if you can't find any other way to keep your rewards account active, it might be worth purchasing the smallest number of points possible. Just keep in mind that you'll probably end up paying more than the value you'll get from those points, so try some of the other options listed here first.

4. Redeem your points for something other than travel

Most hotel rewards programs let you redeem your points for more than just hotel stays, although the other redemption options tend to offer a lower value. For example, you can redeem Hilton Honors points for Amazon.com purchases, or you can book rental cars and meetings or purchase gift cards with Marriott Bonvoy points. If you go with this option to keep your account active, you should opt for the smallest redemption possible so you can save most of your points for the more high-value hotel stays.

5. Convert airline miles to hotel points

Some airlines also partner with hotel rewards programs and allow you to convert your miles to hotel points. If you have any airline miles, check to see if that airline allows you to transfer them to the hotel loyalty program of your choice. While this might not be the best value redemption for your airline miles, it can be worth it if it means keeping your hotel rewards intact.

6. Donate hotel points

This is one of the easiest ways to keep your points active. Most hotel rewards programs give you the option to choose a charity from a list and donate some of your points to it. The hotel chain will then send that charity a check. For example, donating 10,000 points might result in a $25 donation to the charity of your choice. While you don't get anything in return for this redemption, you get to put some good into the world and keep the rest of your points.

7. Earn hotel points through partners

If your hotel rewards program has rewards partners, you can earn additional hotel points through those partners to keep your account active. Most hotel rewards programs have some sort of dining program that allows you to register and start earning hotel points when you dine at select restaurants in your area, for example. They may also partner with a list of car rental agencies or rideshare apps, letting you earn hotel points when you link your account and rent a car or use the rideshare app.

Even if you're not traveling quite yet, you'll want to use your hotel points eventually. As you can see, there are plenty of easy ways to keep those points from expiring, so don't let them go to waste.

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