Airlines Extend Elite Status
Airlines Extend Elite Status

As the coronavirus continues to dramatically impact travel across the globe, many business travellers have cancelled their future trips. Airlines’ frequent flyer programs will also see a drastic drop in the number of elite members, if they keep the current requirement.

In response, many airlines are extending the elite status for frequent travellers. Below is a list:

Air Canada

Air Canada today announced several updates for Altitude members.

The changes include the extension of current status until the end of 2021, the ability to share any status achieved in 2020, and new opportunities to qualify for Altitude status and earn Aeroplan Miles.

Automatic extension of 2020 Altitude status: All Altitude status for 2020 will automatically be extended through to the end of 2021. Should a member reach a higher status before the end of this year, they will have it upon qualification, and maintain it through 2021 as well.

Share Altitude status with friends and family: Since Altitude status is secure through 2021, if a member has already achieved status for next year, or does so by the end of 2020, they can gift it to a friend or family member.

Continue to earn Altitude status and Aeroplan Miles – from home: While at home, a member can still earn Aeroplan Miles, progress towards Altitude status and make a difference with their miles. From now until 30th April, for every five Aeroplan Miles a member donates to a charity engaged in fighting the COVID-19 crisis, they will receive one Altitude Qualifying Mile – up to a maximum of 25,000 AQM – all of which count towards 2021 status for the member.

Temporary pause to expiration of Aeroplan Miles: Aeroplan has paused expiry until 14th May, 2020. This means that between now and 14th May, any Aeroplan Miles which would have expired will not. Effective 15th May, the normal expiration policy will once again apply, meaning that miles will expire if an eligible transaction has not been completed prior to this date.

For more information, please visit here.

Air Canada Announces Two New Routes To Be Operated With Airbus A220-300
Air Canada

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines announced that the current Mileage Plan status will be extended through 31st December 2021.

All companion certificates set to expire in 2020 will be extended. You’ll now have until 31st December 2020 to purchase new travel through 26th November 2021.

Tier qualification requirements are not being adjusted at this time, but look for more information over the coming weeks on ways you can earn additional elite-qualifying miles this year.

Members who enrolled in a status match challenge between 1st December 2019 and 31st March 2020 will have their trial status extended through the end of 2021.

Alaska Elite Status Rollover
Alaska Airlines


If you have the current 2020 United Premier status, it will be extended to 31st January 2022. At a minimum, you will keep the same published status next year that you have today, up to Premier 1K.

For the 2021 status year, United is reducing thresholds for Premier qualification by 50% for each status level. A minimum of four flight segments on United is still required.

2021 statusPremier qualifying flightsand PQP… or only PQP

United is also doubling PQP for United Explorer cards and quadrupling PQP for the United Club cards.

a white airplane flying in the sky
United Airlines


Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members will enjoy the same loyalty benefits throughout 2021 as they have in 2020.

The 12-month Status extension is part of Delta’s latest response as the coronavirus extensively impacts travel plans.

The following updates will happen automatically over the coming weeks, with no action needed from customers.

  • Medallion Members:
    • All Medallion Status for 2020 will be automatically extended for the 2021 Medallion Year.
    • All Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) from 2020 are being rolled over to 2021 to qualify for 2022 Medallion Status.

We are continuously monitoring how coronavirus impacts travel and will make additional adjustments to support our customers’ needs as the pandemic evolves.

Sandeep Dube, Delta’s Senior Vice President – Customer Engagement and Loyalty, and CEO of Delta Vacations

More details can be found here.

a woman sitting in an airplane
Delta Air Lines

British Airways

British Airways is taking steps to protect the Tier status and the well-earned benefits of their Members.

British Airways will be lowering Tier Point thresholds by 30% for all Members due for Tier upgrade or renewal in April, May and June. This results in lower Tier qualification thresholds as laid out below:

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

To ensure the Members still have the opportunity to use their Gold Upgrade Vouchers, Companion Vouchers and Travel Together Tickets, earned via a British Airways credit card, a six-month expiration extension to any current vouchers will be applied.

Airlines Waive Change Fees
British Airways


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

The extension will be actioned in two phases – if your membership year ends:

  • Between March and June 2020, it will be automatically extended by 27th March 2020
  • Between July 2020 and February 2021, it will be automatically extended by 9th April 2020.

The processing date for the 12 month status extension cannot be changed.

a large airplane on a runway

Cathay Pacific

Concerns about the coronavirus, and travel restrictions imposed by different countries, may have affected many travel plans recently, which in turn affects the earnings of club points. Cathay Pacific is offering club points relief and extending benefits.

Club points relief per month in February, March and April 2020, based on your current tier:

  • Diamond 140 club points
  • Gold          65 club points
  • Silver          30 club points
  • Green        10 club points

If your membership is expiring in February 2020, your additional club points will be credited to your account by the end of February. If your membership is not expiring in February, you will receive your additional club points for February in March. Club points relief for March and April will be credited by the end of each month.

For Lounge Passes, Bookable Upgrades and Gold Companion Card nominations, that expire in February, March or April 2020, Cathay Pacific is reissuing these benefits for another 6 months. The reissue of mid-tier benefits will take 7 working days from the date of expiry.

a large white airplane on a runway
Cathay Pacific

China Southern

China Southern Airlines has prepared three special customer care programs for Sky Pearl Club members:

  • Extended Elite Membership Retention Policy for Year 2020
  • Preferential Elite Membership Retention Policy for Year 2021
  • Complimentary Sky Pearl Mileage Extension Plan

For Gold and Silver Card members, whose membership expired on 29th February 2020, you will retain your Elite status until 28th February 2021.

For Gold and Silver Card members, whose membership expires on 28th February 2021, you can retain your Elite status when you earn half of the required number of Elite Qualifying Miles or Elite Qualifying Segments, listed between 1st January and 31st December 2020. That is 30,000 Miles or 15 Segments for Silver and 60,000 Miles or 30 Segments for Gold.

For Base Card members, with mileage expiring between February 2020 and June 2020, the unused expiring mileage will be extended, at no charge, for 12 months from the expiration date.

You can register for all the above three programs here before 30th June 2020.

a plane flying in the sky
China Southern

Air China

Air China is extending all elite status’s that are going to expire next month for another 12 months. There is currently no closing date for this status protection. The extension will happen month by month.

Air China purchases 20 additional Airbus A350s
Air China

China Eastern

China Eastern Airlines’ elite members, whose membership expires after 1st February 2020, can keep their status until 31st December 2020.

Furthermore, for qualifying passengers that spent enough between 2017 and 2019, the corresponding elite status will be given.

12 Months24 Months36 Months
a white airplane flying in the sky
China Eastern

Feature Image: Flickr/Larry Johnson