There can be two reasons you cannot redeem your miles. The first is you are trying to redeem Southwest points for a travel after the date your miles are due to expire. Since you haven’t used your card for a while, we can assume that you haven’t had qualifying earning activity. And, according to Southwest rewards program rules, you should show such an activity every 24 months. Qualifying earning activities include:
- completed travel on Southwest qualifying flights,
- points earned from our Rapid Rewards Partners and posted to member’s account prior to the expiration date,
- points purchased through Southwest.com, and
- gifted/transferred/donated points received and claimed by the recipient. Gifted/Transferred/Donated points are a Qualifying Activity for the recipient only.
The second reason you can redeem your points, is your Southwest account is expiring. You have to use your points before that expiration date. Also, you should complete all travel prior to the account expiring.
Thus, if you do not want to lose your miles you can redeem them for a travel on an earlier date, redeem for gift cards or merchandise, or reset the expiration by performing on of the qualifying earning activities listed above.
To avoid such issues in the future, consider having a regular credit card with travel rewards instead of an airline credit card. Miles earned with such cards do not expire while your account is active. Some issuers offer even better conditions. For example, the cardholders of the Discover it Miles cards will keep their miles even if they decide to close their card. Discover will deposit all unused miles to a cardholders account upon account closing.