Qantas is adding a 'parental leave' pause for frequent flyer status and boosted the ability to share points via the family transfers in the latest upgrades to the airline's loyalty scheme.
Silver, Gold and Platinum-grade frequent flyers – but perhaps contentiously, not Platinum One members – who are taking taking time out from flying to raise a child can apply to have their status frozen at the current level for up to 18 months.
However, even if they take some flights during that period they'll still enjoy all the associated status perks such as lounge access, priority checkin and preferred seating options – making this an exceptionally generous scheme.
The criteria? You'll need to be taking "at least six consecutive months off paid employment," Qantas says, and both parents can apply.
The parental leave status freeze covers
- one or more babies due to be born within the next three months or were born in the last six months
- foster parents caring for a child within the next three months or who have started caring for a child within the last six months
- parents adopting a child within the next three months or who have adopted a child within the last six months
Members can apply for a status hold twice during any five year period.
Qantas says the changes have been prompted by feedback from members wanting more flexibility from their Qantas Frequent Flyer membership, especially when they take parental leave and are more ‘grounded’ than normal.
"A new addition to a family is an exciting time, so this initiative means new parents don’t have to worry about losing their hard earned membership benefits for up to 18 months," explains Qantas Loyalty CEO Lesley Grant.
“We recognise that all families are a bit different, so Status Hold will apply to men and women and those welcoming a foster or adopted child,” Grant adds.
Click through to the Qantas website for more details and to apply for a status hold.
Qantas' competitor Virgin Australia has long offered a similar status hold scheme, with a six month pause followed by 12 months at your previous status before the status credit count is re-assessed.
Virgin also extends its parental leave provision to children aged to two years.
Family transfers also boosted
Qantas is also increasing the points limit on family transfers and removing the restriction on the number of transfers.
Members can now transfer up to 600,000 Qantas Points each year to eligible family members, compared to the previously 400,000 points per year limit.
The cap of 100,000 points per transfer has also been axed, so you can now max out your annual 600,000 point transfer limit in a single massive points-donation.
Likewise, there's no longer a limit to the number of family transfers per year – a figure previously pegged at four transfers of up to 100,000 points each – although there's still a minimum transfer of 5,000 points.
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