Which credit cards earn non-expiring points?

Which credit cards let you earn 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 people, 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. There’s nothing worse than getting pulled back from the finish line because some points you earned at the start of the journey expired! 

Non-expiring points are a big selling point for cards

Even though I don’t think expiring points should be that big a concern (I’ll explain why later), let’s deal with the question at hand first.

💳 Credit Card FAQs
This article forms part of a series on Credit Card FAQs. Refer to the articles below for guides to other common questions.

How long are credit card points valid for?

Here’s a summary of expiry policies by bank (note that some banks may have more than one rewards currency):

💸 Points Expiry Policy
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
90°N MilesNo expiry
VOYAGE MilesNo expiry
360° Rewards PointsUp to 3 years
UNI$2 years
*TREATS earned by Rewards Infinite members never expire

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 are valid for 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 VOYAGE (Premier, PPC, BOS)1.62.3
DBS Treasures AMEX1.22.4
OCBC VOYAGE1.3
2.2
OCBC 90°N Card1.32.1
Citi Prestige1.32.0
Citi PremierMiles1.22.0
DBS Altitude1.22.0
SCB X Card1.22.0
Maybank Visa Infinite1.22.0
AMEX Platinum Charge0.780.78
AMEX Platinum Reserve0.690.69
AMEX Platinum Credit Card0.690.69
Maybank World Mastercard0.40.4
*Min S$2K spend per statement month, otherwise 1 mpd for both

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 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
Points earned on the DBS Woman’s World Card expire after 1 year. That’s 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.

Saving up your miles for retirement might have been viable in the 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 minimise 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.

IssuerPer ConversionAnnual Option
S$201N/A
S$30N/A
S$272N/A
S$27S$43.203
N/AS$43.204
S$275N/A
S$25N/A
S$27N/A
S$256S$507
1. Waived for all AMEX Platinum and AMEX Centurion cardholders
2. Waived for Citi ULTIMA cardholders
3. Automatic conversions in blocks of 500 DBS points (1,000 miles) each quarter. Addition ad-hoc redemptions can be done for free
4. Covers all HSBC cards you may have, even though HSBC points don’t pool
5. Waived for Maybank Visa Infinite and Maybank World Mastercard cardholders
6. Waived for UOB Reserve, UOB Visa Infinite Metal, UOB Visa Infinite and UOB Privilege Banking cardholders
7.
Automatic conversions in blocks of UNI$2,500 (5,000 miles) each month for balances above UNI$15,000. Additional ad-hoc redemptions cost S$25

While transfer fees are annoying and you should be doing all you can to minimise 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

While it’s nice to have non-expiring points, 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 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 2 years ago by Paul

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