Usually, the miles and points you earn on a regular cash back card will not expire as long as your account is open and in good standing. There are a few exceptions. For example, the points in most Citi cards will not expire until after 3 years. Citi also has a few cards like Citi ThankYou Premier where the points don’t expire provided that you actively redeem them. Wells Fargo Rewards Points on Wells Fargo cards will expire after 5 years.

In some cash back cards, the rewards can be transferred to an airline or hotel loyalty program. If you transfer the points, you will never be able to transfer them back to redeem other items.

On the other hand, miles and points earned on a co-branded hotel or airline rewards card usually have expiry dates. To prevent the miles/points from expiring, you must actively redeem them in a period of 12 – 24 months. Wyndham card allows the longest inactivity period of up to 4 years.

You can check with the hotel/airline loyalty program to find out how frequent you must redeem them. They may change this rule so you should regularly check the rewards program terms. In a hotel rewards card, the points can remain accessible if you deposit them into a loyalty program account even after closing the card. With an airline card, if the miles are deposited into your frequent flyer account, you will still be able to access them even after closing the card.

There are plenty of ways to redeem the miles. You can use your miles to book flights with your frequent flyer number. Some cards allow you to redeem points at an airline retail portal. There are also provisions on how you can lose the rewards. For example, if you return a merchandise that earn you rewards, the exact number of rewards will be deducted from your account. The balance of your rewards account can become negative if the points are redeemed before you return the merchandise.

The credit card company reserves the right to cancel the rewards program at any time. If they decide to cancel the rewards program, they may send you a cancellation notice to inform you on the date when the rewards program will come to an end. The advance notice is to give you time to redeem the remaining rewards in your account.

If you make a late payment, the issuer may temporarily remove your ability to earn and redeem points. Your rewards may also be forfeited completely if you fail to keep up with the payment for 60 – 90 days. In the same way, you may lose all your card rewards if the issuer learns that you suffer from bankruptcy.