These airline loyalty programs will extend your frequent flyer status

Don't let your shiny frequent flyer card lose its lustre: these airlines will extend your status by up to 12 months.

By David Flynn, March 31 2020
These airline loyalty programs will extend your frequent flyer status

As airlines slash flights, countries raise their borders and people exercise an abundance of caution over the coronavirus, frequent flyers are becoming infrequent flyers.

Grounded by COVID-19, but knowing the pandemic will subside and their globe-trotting will resume, they're meanwhile watching the clock run down on their elite status with airline reward programs.

It's those top rungs on the loyalty ladder which deliver prized perks ranging from lounge access and being first in line for upgrades to a more generous checked luggage allowance and priority treatment at the airport.

Mindful that loyalty is a two-way street, an increasing number of airlines are now making it easier for frequent flyers to retain their status.

The most traveller-friendly options are a flat 12-month extension to your current status, so that even if you reach your membership anniversary without taking a single flight your tier is renewed.

Others are issuing bonus status credits or tier points on a month-by-month basis, or lowering the threshold for each tier (so that you still need to keep flying), while some airlines offer extensions only to selected frequent flyers.

Where does your airline stand in all of this? If the coronavirus has clipped your wings, we've pulled together this list to help get your future status squared away, and will update it with the latest information as it becomes available.

Also read: These hotel loyalty programs will extend your status

Aegean Miles+Bonus

The Greek flag-carrier is rolling out a six-month extension for all Silver and Gold members of its Miles+Bonus loyalty program facing a tier expiry of March 31, 3030 or later.

"Every member will have 18 months available – instead of 12 – in order to reach the rules needed for their tier retain," the airline states.

"If, for example, a Silver or Gold member’s tier expires on 30/11/2020, the new tier expiration date will be on 30/05/2021. Therefore, the period for the member to meet the criteria for tier retain will be 18 months, and specifically from 31/11/2019 until 29/05/2021."

Miles+Bonus members who have already qualified to keep their current Silver or Gold tier will see their status locked in for 12 months beyond the extended tier expiration date.

Complimentary tier coupons have also been extended for six months as well.

Click here for more details.

Aer Lingus AerClub

The Irish arm of IAG – parent to British Airways and Iberia – is sending all AerClub members one-third of the number of Tier Points needed to remain at their present level, even if they're at the most basic Green tier.

  • AerClub Green: 25 Tier Points
  • AerClub Silver: 100 Tier Points
  • AerClub Platinum: 200 Tier Points
  • AerClub Concierge: 350 Tier Points

Click here for more details.

Aeroflot Bonus

The Russian airline and SkyTeam member will extend Silver, Gold and Platinum status for Aeroflot Bonus members by one year.

"The Platinum level will be extended through the end of 2021 for current Platinum customers as well as members who had their status downgraded to Gold on 1 March 2020, following the results of 2019," Aeroflot says. "Customers who have Gold and Silver level status expiring on 28 February 2021 will enjoy an extension of their status for the same period."

In addition, Aeroflot Bonus frequent flyer miles will be extended through to 2021, giving members another year to use them.

Click here for more details.

American Airlines

The Oneworld member is extending elite status for all AAdvantage Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum members until January 31, 2022, while also making easier for those still flying to move up the status ladder by reducing 'elite qualification requirements' across 2020.

Additionally, Admirals Club memberships and One-Day Passes for lounge access which have already been purchased from the airline will be automatically extended for six months beyond their expiration date.

Click here for more details.

Air Canada Aeroplan

All Air Canada Altitude status flyers will see their 2020 tier extended through to the end of 2021. And here's a twist: if you still earn your status for 2021, you'll be allowed to gift it to "a friend or family member," the airline says.

Members will also receive additional eUpgrade Credits valid until May 31, 2021.

Click here for more details.

Air France Flying Blue

Flying Blue is now handing out a bonus 12-month status extension for any Silver, Gold or Platinum member with a qualification period ending between March 2020 and February 2021.

The qualification period is 12 months from when you earned your first activity in the account or when you moved up a tier and should be viewable in your account.

Members who already earned enough 'experience points' (XP) to maintain their current level won’t actually see any benefit from this since the XP needed to maintain status will still be deducted at the start of the new qualification period. Any surplus XP will be rolled-over to that new period, as per usual. The extension also won't help those who are seeking to upgrade to a higher tier.

Members who haven't earned enough XP to maintain their current tier will benefit from the status extension at the start of their new qualification period, but the current XP balance will be wiped out.

In addition, no Flying Blue members will see their miles expire until the beginning of 2021.

Click here for more details.

Air New Zealand Airpoints

Air New Zealand is granting 12 months of free status to Airpoints Elite, Gold and Silver tier members.

Top-tier Airpoints Elite members will see an 'Elite Banked Year' appear in their accounts by 31 March 2020 – this will be automatically redeemed if status is not maintained through the usual flying down the track. For Airpoints Gold and Silver members, the 12 months extension will be manually added to their accounts.

Airpoints members who have already retained their Gold or Silver tier through to 2021 can benefit from this offer, which will see that status extended a further 12 months into 2022.

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

Click here for more details.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Future Oneworld member Alaska Airlines initially offered an increased number of elite-qualifying Mileage Plan miles on flights, but has now joined the push towards a flat status extension for al frequent flyers.

Mileage Plan members will now see their current MVP, MVP Gold or MVP Gold 75K status extended to December 31, 2021.

All companion certificates set to expire in 2020 will be extended until December 31, 2020 with the purchase of new travel through to November 26, 2021.

Click here for more details.

British Airways Executive Club

The bar for BAEC status is being lowered for all members whose year ticks over in April, May and June, with Tier Point thresholds cut by 30% as per below:

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

A 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.

Click here for more details.

Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club

Cathay Pacific is adding 12 months to the status of Marco Polo Silver, Gold and Diamond members, while 'mid-tier benefits' such as first and business class lounge passes expiring between May and December 2020 will be good for a further 12 months.

Click here for more details.

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

All Delta SkyMiles Medallion Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond members will see their status perks carry over into the '2021 Medallion year'.

All Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) from 2020 are being rolled over to 2021, and will in turn qualify for earning status in 2022.

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

The expiry date of upgrade certificates, drinks vouchers and choice benefit vouchers is also being pushed back by six months.

Click here for details.

Emirates Skywards

Emirates Skywards Silver, Gold and Platinum members whose tier status review date falls between March 2020 and September 2020 "who are unable to retain their existing tier, will have their existing status extended until 31 December 2020," Emirates says.

Skywards members with a tier review date prior to 1 March 2021 can retain their current status for a further 12 months by notching up only 80% of the standard tier travel requirements between 31 March and 30 June 2020 – that translates to

  • 20,000 Tier Miles for Skywards Silver
  • 40,000 Tier Miles for Skywards Gold
  • 120,000 Tier Miles for Skywards Platinum

In addition, Skywards members flying through to 30 June 2020 can pocket an extra 20% bonus Tier Miles.

Skywards Miles expiry dates have also been extended until 31 December 2020.

Click here for more details.

Etihad Airways Guest

From March through to June, Etihad will issue free Tiler Miles to Silver, Gold and Platinum members based on "a monthly average of miles members earn flying with Etihad Airways and are required to maintain their existing Tier."

Guest Silver members should sight 1,500 Tier Miles every month, with Guest Golds garnering 3,000 Tier Miles and Guest Platinums pocketing 8,000 Tier Miles.

The bonus Tier Miles will be automatically credited into every status member's account by the last day of each month, beginning March 31, and will continue to May 31, with Etihad allowing that an extension of the scheme "will be considered" depending on how the situation with COVID-19 flight cancellations plays out.

Members will receive only Tier Miles which contribute towards status, not Guest Miles which can be used for reward seats and upgrades.

Etihad is also offering double Tier Miles on every flight up until June 30, 2020.

Click here for more details.

Finnair Plus

Finnair is extending the "active tier tracking period" of Finnair Plus members by six months. This applies to all Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum Lumo tier members, and tier upgrades based on your Finnair flights will continue to count as they normally would.

There's also a freeze on the expiry date of Finnair Plus points through until 30 September 2020.

Click here for more details.

KLM Flying Blue

Flying Blue is now handing out a bonus 12-month status extension for any Silver, Gold or Platinum member with a qualification period ending between March 2020 and February 2021.

The qualification period is 12 months from when you earned your first activity in the account or when you moved up a tier and should be viewable in your account.

Members who already earned enough 'experience points' (XP) to maintain their current level won’t actually see any benefit from this since the XP needed to maintain status will still be deducted at the start of the new qualification period. Any surplus XP will be rolled-over to that new period, as per usual. The extension also won't help those who are seeking to upgrade to a higher tier.

Members who haven't earned enough XP to maintain their current tier will benefit from the status extension at the start of their new qualification period, but the current XP balance will be wiped out.

In addition, no Flying Blue members will see their miles expire until the beginning of 2021.

Click here for more details.

LATAM Pass

The South American airline, which earlier this year left the Oneworld alliance, says the "the category of our Elite members is guaranteed until March 2022."

Many LATAM Pass Gold, Gold +, Platinum, Black and Black Signature members have already reported their status being extended by 12 months.

Click here for more details.

Qantas Frequent Flyer 

Qantas will allow Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers to retain their status through to as far as 2022.

Qantas Frequent Flyers with a membership year anniversary date between March 2020 and February 2021 will automatically retain their current status for the subsequent 12 months.

This offer includes members who have received a complimentary Gold membership, or complimentary Platinum membership from a Platinum One member.

Qantas is also waiving the need for members to clock up four Qantas flights in order to retain their status.

That said, if you still have some Qantas travel in your near-future, the status credits earned on that flight will go towards nudging you up to the next tier – such as from Silver to Gold, or Gold to Platinum – and you'll also be eligible for the usual loyalty bonus with every 500 status credits you earn. 

Click here for more details.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club

The Oneworld member initially announced a six-month extension for its Privilege Club Silver, Gold and Platinum members, but this has since been doubled to 12 months. The extension will apply to all memberships due to expire before January 31, 2021.

In addition, Gold and Platinum members will see their Qcredits – which can be spent on upgrades, extra baggage and lounge access – remain valid for two years, as long as they retain the relevant tier status.

Click here for more details.

SAS EuroBonus

The Scandinavian airline is now offering a 12-month status extension to all EuroBonus frequent flyers whose qualification period falls between March 31, 2020 and February 28, 2021.

Click here for more details.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, PPS Club

After initially offering a status extension to selected KrisFlyer and PPS Club members, based on their annual membership expiry date, the Singapore flag-carrier has now broadened this to cover all KrisFlyer and PPS memberships expiring from March 2020 through to February 2021.

In addition, the validity of any expiring PPS and Elite Gold Rewards will also be extended until 31 March 2021.

Click here for more details.

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles

A spokesman for Turkish Airlines has confirmed to Executive Traveller that all Miles&Smiles Classic- and Elite-grade members with a renewal date up to March 31, 2020 are now being granted a six-month extension to their status.

Click here for more details.

United Airlines MileagePlus

United Airlines is extending the elite status of MileagePlus Premier members through to the 2021 calendar year, meaning that members will retain their current status – be it Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum or Premier 1K – until January 31, 2022.

"At a minimum, you will enjoy the same published status next year that you have today, up to and including Premier 1K," United says, although there's also an increased ability to step up one tier, courtesy of 50% lower Premier Qualifying Points thresholds in the 2021 status year.

Annual subscription-based services such as United Club memberships and WiFi access plans will see an extra six months.

Click here for more details.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Virgin Atlantic is extending the status of all Silver and Gold Flying Club members by six months, with the aim of giving them up to 18 months "to earn the tier points you need to maintain your current status or achieve new status."

However, the airline says that for Gold members whose account renews automatically every year, "the Extended Membership Year will not be applicable. The normal renewal benefits will be awarded at the end of the 12 month membership year instead of the Extended Membership Year."

Companion, upgrade and Clubhouse vouchers will also have their validity extended by six months.

Click here for more details.

Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer

Virgin Australia is giving all Velocity Silver, Gold and Platinum frequent flyers an extra year of status, along with a bonus serve of pro-rata status credits – roughly equivalent to the number of status credits needed each month to maintain your current tier across a whole year – to be issued in April, May and June.

Here's what to watch for:

  • 20 status credits per month for Velocity Silver, totalling 60 extra status credits
  • 35 status credits per month for Velocity Gold, totalling 105 extra status credits
  • 70 status credits per month for Velocity Platinum, totalling 210 free status credits

The initial bonus is expected to land in the first week of April 2020, with the next two instalments dropping each month afterwards, and they'll count towards moving up to the next tier – from Silver to Gold, or Gold to Platinum – if you're already close to doing so.

Click here for more details. 

Beyond those bonuses for existing elite members, Velocity is also restoring the elite status of recently-downgraded cardholders. Those who recently dropped from Gold to Silver will be bounced back up to Gold and remain there for at least 12 months, for example.

Those who are currently completing a three-month Velocity Pilot Gold challenge will also simply receive full Velocity Gold status for an entire year: ditto those whose challenges recently concluded despite not satisfying the usual requirements.

Click here for more details.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2018

Total posts 17

Just for the sake of clarity here - Qantas are not extending all customer's by 12 months.

They're only extending those who haven't been able to renew their status by reaching the threshold.

Those high spend customers like myself for example, who had already reached their P1 renewal - get nothing at all other than a ‘sorry we can't do anything to help you'.

Why does that feel very wrong indeed. I'm sure there are others.

QFP

22 Jan 2013

Total posts 56

ChrisB, spot on. Those that have done the flying get nothing, bispite the impacts will be in the next 6-12 mths. And before people start criticising ChrisB for his comments “is this all you have worry about” please refrain, this is a travel site after all and of course everyone is concerned about those directly effected by CV19.

I think it's exceptionally generous of Qantas to extend status by 12 months, in fact I think they were the first airline to do so! But I would agree that two categories should get special consideration.

1. If you have Lifetime Gold and that's also your status, then maybe a one-year bump to Platinum, and perhaps a one-year bump to Gold if you're sitting on Lifetime Silver and Silver is your status

2. If you have Platinum One, maybe a two-year extension instead of one year.

But let's not sound like we are ungrateful because on the whole this is a very generous move by QF. I'm sure there will always be exceptions of people regarding their membership year or already-retained status but we can all agree that this is overall a great move and was also enacted very quickly, QF just needs to now focus on the relatively small percentage of people who fall into those categories above.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jun 2018

Total posts 8

We all understand the coronavirus is beyond the control of the airline industry, and venting on here is simply that. Membership to a higher status is not really that important right now but we should be allowed to vent in this forum.

Re Qantas

Qantas at this point of time have no policy with regards to frequent flyers that had already retained their status and were going to acquire the next status level (i.e. Platinum One).

Qantas told me that there will be future announcements regarding opportunities to earn status credits on the ground, however these will not help anyone who is not resident in Australia.

My situation is that I am a NZ based frequent flyer in Australia that was about to attain Platinum one.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Dec 2013

Total posts 13

I believe the intention is to give flyers 12 months to retain their status when the situation subsides rather than give a free year. If you have achieved the threshold for any level already, then you have to the end of your current year and then a full year to have the perks plus 12 months to reattain. So its not a gift that should be equal to all - its a mechanism to ensure those that cant fly due to the grounding have access to a timeframe to achieve the status requirements in the future.

Clearly the situation will not be resolved quickly and "normality" is unknown. Qantas may reduce thresholds or give 18 months but for now all their FF are not being disadvantaged. Some advantaged more than others, that is true but really I think they have done all we could ask for. There is every chance they will implement further plans but for now they have allowed most of us to be happy with what they have done and bought time.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Nov 2019

Total posts 31

Chris B I cannot explain it any better myself!

If you have already made status with say five months left in your anniversary year, equality would say that your current status extends for the period of five months from the following anniversary date. Alan is all about Equality after all. If this isnt rectified QF may find it harder to get back off the ground with their highest spending passengers. Ill certainly prop up Virgin if it isnt rectified. (Plat 1 )

Anyone who says who cares, there is more important things to worry about, get back to your computer and watch some more CNN woke news.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Sep 2017

Total posts 6

Following on from this news, is there any information on Hotels helping people maintain status?

10 Jul 2018

Total posts 118

Hi flyingcuggers, this is a piece we are currently working on and are looking to get it published tonight or tomorrow.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Sep 2017

Total posts 6

That's great Brandon!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Mar 2013

Total posts 161

Thanks, David. Appreciated as always.

Personally, I'm loving the time at home (yes, my business has been nailed), but the garden has never looked so good.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2015

Total posts 12

Totally agreed safety first for COVID however I have already discussed my views on another thread. They need to do more for those of us that have retained status already but will be severely impacted by the grounding of the international fleet in coming months. I've already had to refund 800SC of flights in my new membership year

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Sep 2016

Total posts 11

Aegean are also providing an extra 6 months to enable status retention.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Nov 2017

Total posts 7

Like others who have already retained (Qantas) status, my suggestion is why not just deduct the credits needed to retain the status and carry forward the balance of credits into the next year. While not automatically retaining status, it would kickstart status retention for the next year.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jun 2018

Total posts 8

Great Idea.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Dec 2012

Total posts 172

Could someone please clarify RE Virgin Australia - what does an "extra year of status" mean? If you retained status or progressed to the next tier say in Dec 2019 - is the extra year from the date it was announced (so you get a few extra months) or is it an extra year from your anniversary date? Thanks

27 Nov 2016

Total posts 13

I'm definitely with @ChrisB on the extension issue. I have also requalified for P1 so it is kind of frustrating for QF to just extend everyone's year. And lets face it, its going to be a very different world for all of us when it comes to qualifying for the year 2021/22 especially at that level. Doesn't look like any of us will even be able to board another flight this financial year so we are already behind for attaining the following year. Yes, its a first world problem but its still an inequity!

Stay safe all!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Dec 2012

Total posts 172

So received my email from Velocity....it's says my benefit period has been extended for a further 12 months....but the date provided is my review date at the end of this year. So that's confusing

19 Jun 2017

Total posts 4

Hey SalltyJ - same as you - I'm VA plat with a review date of Jan 2021 - and just had the email saying my new review date is Jan 2021 - surely that's wrong and should be Jan 2022???

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

18 Jan 2016

Total posts 7

I have the same issue with VA. My gold status was due for review in Jan 2021 before the extension was announced. Surely it must be Jan 2022 with the 12 month extension provided ? It would be great if Virgin could clarify it.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

18 Jan 2016

Total posts 7

Got an email from Velocity this morning, that clarified the position - “ Since we weren't planning on reviewing your status until 11 January 2021, you'll get a further 12 months once you reach that date.” So it is an extra year of membership! Good on Velocity for clarifying.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

30 Oct 2015

Total posts 54

VA Platinum - current review date 10 Sep 2020, new review date 10 Sep 2020....... have I lost 12 months or missed something?

19 Jun 2017

Total posts 4

Velocity have subsequently clarified by email to members, but could have saved themselves time and effort by sense checking the original correspondence- good news anyway!


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