UPDATE: as of June 2021, people are having success with no-strings-attached renewal by contacting Asia Miles (e.g. live chat). This converts the miles into the 18-months expiry (renewable with activity), and no need to perform the “2 partner transfer”.
TL;DR: Transfer 3000 miles from 2 different partners; miles will be extended after 36 hours.
I had a sizable amount of Asia Miles expire Jan 31, 2021, I just extended them and now they have the “new” 18 months expiration policy (resets with activity). It’s not straight forward, so I wanted to share the process.
First of all, shame on Asia Miles for not automatically extending miles for members during Covid. This is especially problematic for their old miles earned before Jan 1, 2020; those miles expired after 3 years (or a little more in some cases) no matter what. I had looked forward to using 85,000 miles for business class to New Zealand, but during Covid, there was just no good way to use those miles. I couldn’t even speculatively book an Asia trip through end of schedule, since scheduled CX flights to Southeast Asia are now virtually nonexistent due to Covid.
In contrast, my Singapore Airlines miles that were expiring in 2021 have been auto-renewed by 6 months, and the cancellation refund was also more generous (cancelled miles valid for 1 year from cancellation vs original booking for CX).
The helpful Flyertalk thread revealed 2 options for extending old miles:
- Book a flight that departs after your miles will have expired and which is likely to be cancelled. When it is cancelled, call Asia Miles, and your miles will be valid 1 year past the original booking date.
- Setup an “exception arrangement” with Asia Miles. Transfer a total of 3000 miles from 2 different partners and your miles will be reinstated with the new renewable 18 months expiration policy.
#2 is interesting because it moves the miles into the new expiration scheme, which is more flexible any time but especially with no end in sight for Covid. I’m not sure if this policy is officially written anywhere, but it works.
Interestingly, you must wait until after your miles have expired to do the transfer. You should contact Asia Miles beforehand to confirm the arrangement, but they’ll tell you to wait after expiration to start. This feels scary and unintuitive, but it works. The good thing is the extension was very quick for me – within 36 hours of my instant transfers. Here’s my timeline:
- I transferred 3k miles total from Amex and Capital One. Both transfers were instant.
- I immediately wrote Asia Miles / Marco Polo Club (email@example.com) to confirm that I fulfilled the requirements.
- I got a reply the next day, saying the miles will be reinstated “within 24 hours”.
- Miles were back in my account within 24 hours of the email reply.
Altogether, it took about 36 hours from the time of transfer to get the miles back. They’re good for 18 months, and I’ll be sure to extend them by earning or redeeming before then.
When can we travel to Asia?
I am hoping to have an end of year trip to Asia. But if I were to guess, it will not be easy/possible to get to places like HK, Singapore and Vietnam in 2021. These places have high population density, they can’t afford to have Covid circulate, they’ve managed it reasonably well and have no incentive to suddenly change that. As Australia’s government said: “International borders will be opened when international arrivals do not pose a risk to Australians.” This means when herd immunity has been highly reached. I really can’t imagine they’ll simply open borders to all vaccinated people, with limited efficacy and many unanswered questions that will take time to unravel (how long does immunity last? does it protect against new variants?).
With this expectation, I did not feel confident that I can use my Asia Miles even by the end of year (to book something up to Oct 2022). Hence I opted for the more flexible extension described here.