You Have 5,000 Copa Miles Expiring Soon, What to Do?

Copa launched ConnectMiles 2 years ago with fanfare and 5,000 mile bonuses.

Those miles are now heading to expiration if you have had no subsequent activity. Mine expire August 7.

I hear the program formerly was great for status matches, and continues to be a solid Star Alliance option for those with paid travel on those airlines. A number of frequent travelers are using the program even if Copa is not their primary airline.

The rest of us have 5,000 miles sitting around and haven’t given them a thought. What to do?

Keeping ConnectMiles Alive

Update: not all activity extends expiration. Donation of miles does not based on tests by reader Chris Johnson and myself, see the comments below.

You only need activity every 24 months to keep ConnectMiles alive.

ConnectMiles has various partners that you can credit activity such as flights to hotel stays to earn a few miles. Book a RocketMiles stay or credit a rental car to ConnectMiles. You can transfer Marriott points to ConnectMiles, but not the reverse.

These all involve effort, diverting earnings from elsewhere, and keeping a zombie program going in your portfolio.

Liquidating ConnectMiles

I have no plans to continue with ConnectMiles. Without a major US credit card transfer partner, my scope to scale is limited.

Here are the options I have found to liquidate or top up for an award:

Copa ConnectMiles Panama City to David

1. Copa award flights. 5,000 miles will get you a domestic flight from Panama City to David, Panama. The chart for Copa flights also lists intra-Colombia flights at 5,000, though I have not found a route they fly. Subject to various fees.

2. Star Alliance award flights. Cheapest is intra-Hawaii for 6,000 miles. Subject to various fees.

3. Copa upgrades. Use their calculator, it looks like the cheapest are intra-Central America for 8,000 miles + $25.

4. Star Alliance upgrades. There are some intra-region upgrades as low as 10,000 miles. See the Star Alliance upgrade chart. I have not encountered partner upgrades that are easy and plenteous, so I won’t try to earn miles in the hope these exist.

Copa ConnectMiles Other Ways to Use

5. Transfer miles: $15 per 1,000. Possibly I can combine with my wife’s 5,000, but with the transfer fees and booking fees, I doubt I’ll come out ahead on an award.

6. Buy miles: $30 per 1,000.

6. Gift miles: $30 per 1,000. (This is buying new miles to give, hence the higher price than transfer.)

8. Donate miles. Minimum 500-miles donation. I’ll go with this. Click and done. (Does NOT extend mileage expiration.)

Copa ConnectMiles Donate MilesReaders, are there any good options I missed?

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  1. […] What To Do With Copa Airline Miles:  A couple of years ago, Copa Airlines launched their loyalty program, ConnectMiles.  Those who signed up then earned a 5,000 mile bonus.  We’re taught in this hobby to never turn down free miles, so guess what?  I didn’t.  I have 5,000 miles sitting in my balance and they’re about to expire.  This article highlights a few helpful options on what to do with your expiring Copa miles. […]

  • Mike Baker

    Funny to see your post today. I had 4000 Copa miles expiring soon that I earned awhile back just for doing a few things on their then-new website.

    I didn’t really even think about some of the options you listed, but in the end I did the same as you – donated them.

  • chris johnson

    Stefan, After you did the donation, did you notice that your expiration date of your existing miles change? (I did not, but maybe it needs a few days??)

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  • Today I am getting errors logging in to my account so have not completed the donation.

  • chris johnson

    The reason I ask is that I recall that one of the airlines programs required *earning* to keep points alive. I can’t remember which, though. Anyway, although COPA subtracted my donation points, they still have not extended the life of my remaining points.

  • In researching the post, all I could find was their site says “activity.” I don’t know for sure.

  • chris johnson

    24 hrs later and the life of my points have not been extended. (The donation route might not work.)

  • Thanks for the update. I was planning to donate all my 5,000 at once, instead I will do half now and see if my mileage expiration extends. I have no idea on how their systems work so I will give a full week before making a conclusion.

  • I waited a week from my donation and expiration not extended, either. I then donated the balance of 4,500.

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  • Patrick

    My donation didn’t extend miles either so I bit the bullet and bought 1,000 miles and my expiration date did change– they moved it back instead of forward so it now says it expires in 2016 instead of 2018! Not good organization

  • chris johnson

    For many who signed up for the free miles back in 2016, the miles expire soon. Why not log into the Copa website and donate them all to a charity?

    It’s an easy way to give, and it costs you nothing (but 3 minutes of your time).