Air New Zealand will give 12 months of free status to its Airpoints Elite, Gold and Silver tier members, as the airline winds back its flying and a number of countries – including Australia and New Zealand – close their borders and declare mandatory self-isolationto prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
For the airline's top-tier Airpoints Elite members, an 'Elite Banked Year' will be added to their accounts by 31 March 2020, which will automatically be redeemed if the status is not maintained through the usual methods.
For Airpoints Gold and Silver members, the 12 months extension will be manually added to their accounts.
In a further passenger-friendly move, even 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.
The extension will be based on your account status as of 20 March 2020, and will automatically apply when individual memberships are up for review.
Members on Parental Hold are also eligible and will see their extension granted at the end of the Parental Hold period.
All other frequent flyer benefits remain unchanged and unused vouchers and upgrades will still continue to expire at the current review date. The extended 12 months status will still have the usual tier benefits associated with it, including new vouchers and upgrades as applicable.
However, members that upgrade a tier after 20 March will no longer benefit from the status extension. Instead, they will get the usual 12 months at the new tier, with the status extension at the original lower tier being removed from the account as it is no longer required. Another 12 months status extension at the new tier won't be offered.
Air New Zealand's move comes after Qantas and Virgin Australia announced similar 12 months status extensions for its members too, with Virgin Australia sweetening the deal through three months' worth of status credits gifted for free to Silver, Gold and Platinum members.
Other status-saving approaches include Singapore Airlines extending perks for selected members and Qatar Airways sending personalised offers with up to six months of status extensions on the table.
Full details are available on the Air New Zealand website.