One of the absolute worst features about Asia Miles is that they expire…as opposed to most other programs where regular activity keeps the miles in perpetuity. Earned Asia Miles fall into yearly buckets, which expire every 3 years. Below I outline some ways to utilize or keep your Asia Miles from expiring.
1. Book an award ticket! – Duh.
Well, this is not so simple if you have no plans to travel. The good thing is that the expiration date is not the latest travel date, it is the lastest date to redeem the miles. Asia Miles allows you to book tickets up to around 360 days in advance. So, if you have miles expiring tomorrow, you can still book a ticket within a year.
What if you don’t know what dates you’ll travel?
One nice aspect of Asia Miles is the date change policy. You can change the dates of the flights for FREE (keeping the itinerary the same,) within a year from the date of ticketing.
Lets say you want to go to Bangkok (or any destination), but have no idea when to go. Just book a ticket with a dummy date sometime in the future, and then change the dates when you pinpoint your exact days. Personally I’d try to book something around 11-12 months out so I don’t have to keep calling customer service to extend the ticket.
Can I change my dates of travel after my flight award has been issued? If so, how?
Yes, you can change your travel dates free of charge, subject to award seat availability. Please contact us prior to your original departure date. You can send us your request by phone, email, fax or via the online feedback form.
2. Redeem and refund your miles
Lets suppose you followed my suggestion above, but decided not to take that trip to Bangkok after all. A year has almost gone by and the ticket will be a complete waste, right? Wrong. You can redeposit the Asia Miles back into your account, and the miles will have a new 3-year expiration date for a fee of $120 USD or 12,000 Asia Miles.
Can I cancel my redemption booking online? If so, how will I be refunded?
Redemption bookings can be cancelled online. If you wish to receive a refund for your award ticket, please ensure that the ticket is totally unused and has not expired. You can then contact The Marco Polo Club Service Centre or Asia Miles Service Centre for a refund, where a service fee of either USD120 or 12,000 Asia Miles applies. Once the process is complete, the mileage will be credited back to your account, and the airport taxes and fuel surcharges paid for the award tickets will be refunded to your credit card account within 4 to 6 weeks.
3. Use the miles on non-air travel
Generally Asia Miles has poor redemption values for non-flight related items, but you could purchase items from their online store if you really have no other use for the miles.
There is one item I think has a good value however, and this is the Airport Limousine service in Tokyo. You can find these under Car Rental & Transportation.
The award requires 5,000 miles for travel between Narita and downtown Tokyo, or 4,000 from Haneda. I have taken this bus before, it is timely and there are porters to help load on and off your luggage. The normal cost between Narita and Tokyo is 3,000 JPY or approx $38 USD. I usually value miles at about $0.01 USD a piece, so this one of the best values for Lifestyle Awards.