Which credit cards earn non-expiring points?

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Which credit cards offer non-expiring rewards points (and is it really that big a deal)?

“I want a credit card with points that don’t expire.”

That’s something I hear from many first-timers to the miles game, and to be fair, it’s a perfectly reasonable ask. After all, it may take a while to save up for your first big redemption. Non-expiring points can be converted when you’re good and ready, minimising transfer fees and removing the risk of expiry.

Non-expiring points are a big selling point for cards

Even though I don’t think expiring points should be that big a concern (read on to find out why), let’s deal with the question at hand first.

💳 Credit Card FAQs

How long are credit card points valid for?

Here’s each bank’s expiry policy for rewards points. Note that some banks may have more than one currency, each with a different policy (e.g. Citi Miles vs ThankYou points).

BankCurrencyExpiry
Membership RewardsNo expiry
Rewards Points12-24 months
Citi MilesNo expiry
ThankYou PointsUp to 5 years
DBS Points1 year
Rewards Points37 months
TREATS1 year
OCBC$2 years
Travel$No expiry
VOYAGE MilesNo expiry
360 PointsUp to 3 years
UNI$2 years

But that’s not the whole story! Where it gets confusing is that even within the same bank, the same points earned on different cards may have different expiry policies.

For example, DBS Points earned on the Woman’s World Card expire after one year, but DBS Points earned on the Altitude cards never expire. Similarly, ThankYou points earned on the Citi Rewards Card expire after five years (or more accurately, up to five years), but ThankYou points earned on the Citi Prestige Card never expire.

So in addition to the general rules above, it’s helpful to set out which specific cards earn non-expiring points:

💳 Cards with Non-expiring Points
CardLocal Earn Rate (MPD)FCY Earn Rate (MPD)
SCB Visa Infinite1.4*
3.0*
OCBC VOYAGE1.3
(Premier, PPC, BOS earn 1.6)
2.2
(Premier, PPC, BOS earn 2.3)
Citi Prestige1.32.0
DBS Treasures AMEX1.22.4
OCBC 90N Mastercard1.22.1
Citi PremierMiles1.22.0
DBS Altitude1.22.0
SCB X Card1.22.0
Maybank Visa Infinite 1.22.0 
OCBC 90N Visa1.04.0^
AMEX Platinum Charge0.780.78
AMEX Platinum Credit Card0.690.69
Maybank World Mastercard0.40.4
*Min S$2K spend per statement month, 1 mpd for both otherwise
^Upsized to 4 mpd until 15 Jan 2022, capped at S$2,500 per calendar month. Regular rate 2 mpd

Are non-expiring points really that important?

Although it’s nice to earn points that don’t expire, I don’t believe this should be your key criteria for choosing a card. That’s because:

  1. You actually have more time than you think
  2. You shouldn’t be holding on to points so long that expiry becomes an issue

You have more time than you think

Most credit cards in Singapore earn points that are valid for at least 2 years. After that, you can transfer them to KrisFlyer where they’re valid for a further 3 years. 

💳 Exception: DBS Woman’s World Card
One major exception is the DBS Woman’s World Card, where points expire after 1 year. This is annoying, but the ability to earn 4 mpd on S$2K of online spending each month makes me willing to pay the additional transfer fees necessitated by the short expiry period. 

Therefore, in most cases, you have at least 5 years to save up for your desired redemption. If you’re not able to accumulate enough miles in that period for at least one award flight, it suggests that:

  1. you’re not optimising your miles collection strategy
  2. your miles goal is too ambitious relative to your spending (e.g. trying to redeem for too many people, or in too high a cabin)
  3. your absolute spending levels are too low (but before you write off the miles game as only for big spenders, consider whether you’re truly optimising your miles collection in the first place)

You shouldn’t be holding on to points indefinitely

Non-expiring points can be a bad thing, if they encourage you to hold them indefinitely without any clear redemption plan. The longer you hold your points, the more vulnerable you are to devaluations.

Take KrisFlyer, for example. Historically speaking, KrisFlyer devalued every 4-5 years. However, recent events suggest that the gap between successive devaluations has shortened to 2-3 years. While I don’t expect a devaluation to happen anytime in the next 12 months, there’s an air of inevitability about it. 

Reflects program changes for SQ/MI redemptions only | Click to enlarge

Saving up your miles for retirement might have been viable in early days of frequent flyer programmes, but it’s unthinkable today. Given how airlines are handing out miles for everything from opening a credit card to buying flowers, the pace of devaluations is only likely to accelerate in the future.

To put it another way, miles are amazing, but they’re the worst investment to hold. They don’t earn interest, they’re not protected by deposit insurance, and they can only be devalued. Earn and burn, not earn and hold!

But what about transfer fees?

It’s certainly true that non-expiring points help minimize transfer fees, because there’s no pressure to cash them out before you’re ready. For example, if you hold a DBS Woman’s World Card, you’ll have to transfer points at least once every 12 months, or else forfeit them.

While transfer fees are annoying and you should be doing all you can to minimize them, I feel they’re ultimately insignificant in the grand scheme of things. To put it another way: I wouldn’t actively avoid the DBS Woman’s World Card or the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa just because they earn points with 1-2 years expiry. The opportunity cost of foregone miles far outweighs any additional transfer fees.

Conclusion

As nice as non-expiring points are, it ultimately isn’t that big a factor in my decision whether or not to get a particular card. 

So my advice is not to get too hung up about this. Pick cards on the basis of their earn rates and transfer partners, and with the right accumulation strategy, you’ll be earning and burning points so fast that expiry won’t even be an issue.

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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carebearrocks

Hi, still a noob in the mile games. Do we have to transfer the moment we hit the tier? For example, dbs points – I have 5000 enough for 10k miles, do I transfer now or at which point is ideal to transfer into krisflyer account? Thanks!

Keith

No, you can hold until you need to transfer/DBS points going to expire but in blocks of 5K.

carebearrocks

Thanks!

Peter

Hi Aaron. i’m holding citibank premier miles cc. my initial plan is to slowly and steadily accumulate 280,000 miles so that i could plan a honeymoon to New York with my wife-to-be (2-way Biz class). That will means my wife and i need to spend about $187,000 in order to achieve that (assume average 1.5mpd earn). Hope to achieve that in 5 years time; that will mean spending about $3100 per month. However, seeing your article about the devaluations prompted me to have a second thought on my Plan. I thought traveling in Biz class for 20 hours is a… Read more »

Paul

hi,
Earn miles that never expire!
DBS Points earned on your DBS Altitude Card do not expire.

DBS Altitude Card – Miles Credit Card for Air Travel | DBS Singapore

Last edited 6 months ago by Paul

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