The Secret to Restoring Your American Airlines Expired Miles

Brent Pittman —  04/16/2013
Keep a Secret

Shh… American Airlines has a secret program for expired miles. Credit Daniela Vladimirova

Do American Airlines miles expire? Yes, If you have no qualifying activity in an 18 month period those miles are toast.

BUT I can show you how to restore those “lost” miles on the cheap with a secret program.

My wife and I racked a good number of AA miles flying from California to visit family and also flying around the world when we were single.

Due to Southwest’s Bags Fly Free program and generally cheaper prices we’ve stopped flying American Airlines and our accounts became inactive.

Thanks to my wife’s persistence we learned about one of their secrets. (Side tip: Marry a frugal spouse!)

They have a secret program code named the American Airlines Re-engagement Challenge that can’t be found on their website.

American Airlines Re-engagement Challenge

You’ll have to actually call their hot-line and talk to a real live person. (1-800-882-8880)

Explain the situation of your lost miles and ask if there is any way to revive those miles. If they aren’t helpful ask about their Reengagement Challenge.

They might be shocked that you are such a knowledgeable insider–just don’t tell them where you heard about it or they might come after me and my AA miles. 🙂

ReEngagement Challenge Details: How Does it Work?

Simple really. I’ll share the bullet points. If you want to see the details click Reengage AA Miles.

  • Agree to sign up for two email lists for the length of your re-engagement challenge without unsubscribing.
  • Pay $30 over the phone.
  • Fly on 1 round trip flight on American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, or Japan Airlines within 6 months OR
  • Earn 5,000-7,000 base partner miles to revive up to 50,000-75,000 expired miles. (This seems tricky since many programs for earning are exempted from the Re-Engagement Challenge)
  • To restore 75,000+ miles you’ll need to fly on 2 round trip flights in 6 months or earn 10,000 base partner miles.

If you have enough miles to redeem American Airlines miles for a free ticket (12.5 one way for EconomyMileSAAver program, 25K miles for round trip), AND have a plan for earning the miles–Only then you should consider coughing up the $30 for the Re-Engagement Challenge. 

We both have near the 25K needed for a free flight and an upcoming AA flight will push us over the ledge, so we choose to pay $60 total to reactivate both accounts.

On a side note we learned one way to keep your AA miles active is to donate 1,000 miles to one of their active nonprofit listed on their site every year.

Have your American Airlines miles expired? Will you start the Re-Engagement Challenge to revive those expired miles? 

Related posts:

Brent Pittman

Posts Twitter Google+

Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.
  • Chrissy

    I am going to call. I will keep you posted of how I make out.

  • Verita

    Just enrolled after my miles expired and I missed it by a few hours! Thank you for this useful info, Brent Pittman! 🙂 The agent did not mention it at all and I HAD to know about it.

  • smith

    Is a multi-destination itinerary not considered roundtrip?

  • Keita

    50,000 miles and above require both earning miles AND one to two round trips.

  • frugal flyer

    I read that this re-engagement challenge expired at the end of March 2013. Has anyone had luck with it since then?

    • frugal flyer

      I answered my own question by calling AA this AM, when they opened, and although they didn’t offer the re-engagement challenge when I gave her my sob story about 60K miles expiring, when I asked for it by name, she said it was still possible to do it (5000 base partner miles and one roundtrip, as listed above, would restore 50K miles and 7000 base partner miles and a round trip restores all 60K miles)

      • You had me worried for a minute. Glad you knew the secret word.