Qantas has extended frequent flyers’ status for another year, while Virgin Australia will give out free frequent flyer status points to loyal members, in a bid to make up for frequent flyers’ limited opportunity to take as many trips this year, due to the effects of the Coronavirus
On a page dedicated to the 12-month status extension, Qantas writes, “To give you one less thing to worry about right now, if you are eligible, your Qantas Frequent Flyer status will automatically be extended for 12 months, as at March 2020.”
How exactly will this work? To provide peace of mind over your Frequent Flyer status, Qantas will ensure that eligible Qantas Frequent Flyer members with a membership year anniversary date between March 2020 and February 2021 will automatically retain their current status, “even if they have not already retained in their own right.”
All Platinum One, Platinum, Gold and Silver Qantas Frequent Flyer members who have not earned the required Status Credits to retain in their own right are eligible, and this includes members on Status Hold, members who have received complimentary Gold membership, or complimentary Platinum membership from a Platinum One member.
It also applies to those who have not reached the four flight count minimum rule, and will be applied automatically so there is no need to call the call centre. The extension will be actioned in two phases – if your membership year ends between March and June 2020, it will be automatically extended by 27 March 2020.
Meanwhile, if your membership year ends between July 2020 and February 2021, it will be automatically extended by 9 April 2020.
Virgin Australia, on the other hand, plans to support their frequent flyers with a bonus status top up over the next three months, proportionate with what you would have earned in that period were it not for the Coronavirus [update: this is now all up in the air at best, out the window at worst, since Virgin Australia has gone into voluntary administration].
While it’s not quite as generous as Qantas’ one-year status extension, it will provide much-needed help to those that were already on their way to maintaining their status.
Virgin Australia frequent flyers received an email to this effect, explaining the reasoning behind this status credit gift: “We know that in the current environment with travel restrictions and reduced flights, it may be challenging to maintain your status.”
“To help those of you who may be impacted, we will be gifting Status Credits to all of our current Silver, Gold, and Platinum Velocity Frequent Flyer members to help you maintain your membership.”
The below Status Credits will be gifted to your accounts during the first week of the next three months as follows:
This comes in a context where Virgin Australia has suspended all its international flights from 30th March to 14th June 2020 as well as temporarily reduced its domestic capacity by roughly half, and Qantas has suspended international flights, and 60% of its domestic capacity until at least the end of May.
It also comes amid more flexible flight cancellation policies on behalf of both airlines, introduced to help customers cope with the effects of COVID 19 on their travel plans.