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Airlines bending the rules to keep frequent flyers

When all this is behind us, the aviation industry knows it’s going to need the help of its most loyal supporters to recover. That’s why airlines are acting now and extending, or bending, the rules to keep frequent flyers happy.

Here’s a quick overview of how some carriers are putting their customers first.

Virgin Australia – Velocity Frequent Flyer

Velocity will be rewarding all Silver, Gold and Platinum members with a Status Credit Gift in April, May and June 2020. Virgin Australia’s frequent flyer program will also be preserving and extending all review periods for 12 months.

If you were a Platinum, Gold or Silver Status member between 4 March 2020 and 29 March 2020, you will receive a 12-month extension to your benefit period, effective from your review date. For example, if you had a benefit period end date of 25 April 2020, it will now end on 25 April 2021. The new review date will be shown on the Velocity website or app once your complimentary year of Status begins.

If you were a Platinum, Gold or Silver Status member, who downgraded between 4 March 2020 and 29 March 2020, you will have your previous Status reinstated for a further 12 months.

Velocity Points expire 24 months after the last date you earned, redeemed or purchased Points. Note that Family Pooling and Family Transfer transactions do not count as eligible transactions.

Qantas – Frequent Flyer

Qantas Frequent Flyer status will automatically be extended for 12 months, accurate as at 19 March 2020.

When your membership year ends will determine when the extension is actioned:

  • Ends between March and June 2020, it will be automatically extended by 27 March 2020
  • Ends between July 2020 and February 2021, it will be automatically extended by 9 April 2020

Once Qantas has extended your status, you will receive a confirmation email and you can view your new status expiry date on the digital membership card in the Qantas app.

Qantas will ensure that Platinum One, Platinum, Gold and Silver Qantas Frequent Flyer members with a membership year anniversary date between March 2020 and February 2021 will automatically retain their current status. This will automatically be applied, even if they have not already retained status in their own right.

On a side note, paid Qantas Club memberships will be extended due to lounge closures. Qantas will be applying an automatic six-month extension to eligible patrons with an active membership on 23 March 2020.

Air New Zealand – Airpoints

Air New Zealand is extending their Airpoints Elite, Gold and Silver members’ status for a 12-month period. This applies to a member’s tier status as at 20 March 2020.

Elite members will have an Elite Banked Year added to Elite members’ accounts, which will be automatically redeemed should you not retain Elite status.

For Gold and Silver members, the airline is manually applying a process to provide a year at their current tier status. Some members will have already earned enough Status Points with their own activity to keep this status. So Air New Zealand will be applying this status extension to their membership accounts once they reach the end of the next review date up until 31 March 2022.

Members on Parental Hold are also eligible and will see their extension granted at the end of the Parental Hold period.

British Airways – Executive Club

British Airways is hoping to keep frequent flyers by making it easier to join their Executive Club. Tier Point qualification thresholds are being lowered by 30% for all members due for Tier upgrade or renewal in April, May and June:

  • Bronze: 210 Tier Points
  • Silver: 420 Tier Points
  • Gold: 1050 Tier Points

To increase the opportunity to use member vouchers, six-month expiration extension is also being applied to Gold Upgrade Vouchers, Companion Vouchers and Travel Together Tickets earned via a British Airways credit card.

Delta Air Lines – SkyMiles

Delta SkyMiles Medallion Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond members will have a full-year extension added to your current Medallion Status through January 31, 2022. Diamond and Platinum Medallion Members will be able to select Choice Benefits in 2021 as part of the extension.

All 2020 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) will be rolled over to 2021 for qualification towards 2022 Medallion Status.

Delta Sky Club lounge members with a renewal date of 1 March 2020, or later, will receive access for an extra six months.

Emirates – Skywards

Emirates Skywards Silver, Gold and Platinum members with a tier review date prior to 1 March 2021 will retain their current status for a further 12 months with just 80% of the usual travel requirements.

Skywards members, with a tier status review between March 2020 and September 2020 who are unable to retain their existing tier, will have their existing status extended until 31 December 2020.

The airlines is also looking after members who have Skywards Miles expiring soon and has extended their validity until 31 December 2020. Skywards Miles can be redeemed up to 11 months in advance for an extensive range of rewards.

Etihad – Guest

To help maintain your Tier Status, Etihad Guest members will earn double Tier Miles on all trips between 1 March – 30 June 2020, and will automatically accrue monthly bonus Tier Miles from 31 March.

Etihad Guest members who were due to travel between 1 March and 30 June 2020, will now be rewarded with up to 5,000 bonus Etihad Guest Miles when you exchange your booking for Etihad Credit.

Singapore Airlines – KrisFlyer & PPS Club

In appreciation for their members’ loyalty, Singapore Airlines will now be renewing PPS Club and Solitaire PPS Club membership for one membership year.

The airline is also extending PPS Rewards that are due to expire between July and December 2020 to be valid till 31 March 2021.

United Airlines – MileagePlus

MileagePlus Premier members status will be automatically be extended. If you have current 2020 Premier status, it will be extended to January 31, 2022.

United explains that “at a minimum, you will enjoy the same published status next year that you have today, up to and including Premier 1K.”

For the 2021 status year, United is making it easier to qualify for Premier status. Thresholds are being cut by 50% for each status tier level. You will still need a minimum of four flight segments on United or United Express.

With constant reviews and aviation industry changes, it pays to check with your preferred airlines for updates to their loyalty programmes. If time is running out to retain your reward program status, see what they are offering to keep frequent flyers on board for the future.

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