As the year comes to a close, airline and hotel companies are having mercy yet again on travelers who were grounded during the pandemic. Most brands extended status and perks for a year in the spring, but with travel plans slashed, many frequent fliers were unable to use their benefits or even meet the already reduced requirements for additional status due to local rules and regulations.
Luckily, many travel companies are extending another olive branch to members to keep them engaged, like perk extensions that have never been seen before. Here’s the latest from airline and hotel brands.
Accor Live Limitless
Accor has extended elite status through December 31, 2021, and it has also extended reward points expiration for Silver tier members and higher through April 30, 2021. In addition, status in the new year will be easier to attain since status points and nights earned during the second half of 2020 will count toward elite qualification in the new year. Platinum and Diamond members with unused suite upgrade awards now have until the end of 2021 to use them thanks to a 12-month extension.
Members can keep their current status through the end of 2021, and mileage expiration has been paused through March 31, 2021.
Alaska Mileage Plan
With the airline joining the Oneworld alliance on March 31, 2021, Mileage Plan members are already benefiting from perks with its North American partner American Airlines. Reciprocal elite status perks, including complimentary upgrades and preferred seating and check-in benefits, are already in full swing.
In addition, Mileage Plan members will have status extended through the end of 2021, and earning status in the new year will be easier as elite-qualifying miles earned during the first four months of 2020 are getting rolled over to 2021.
The airline has lowered requirements for achieving elite status next year; existing elite status has already been extended through January 31, 2022. Members can start accruing points and miles toward 2022 status early. All flight activity between October 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021, will count toward 2022 elite status. In addition, those that spend at least $30,000 on an American co-branded credit card won’t need to meet the “elite qualifying dollar” requirement to reach status up to the Platinum Pro level.
For those that reach Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum, there are new “choice rewards” like bonus miles or systemwide upgrades for reaching additional thresholds. Through a new partnership, American elite members can also enjoy perks like first class upgrades and preferred seating when flying Alaska Airlines. In addition, the airline has paused the expiration of any AAdvantage miles through June 30, 2021.
Best Western Rewards
Best Western has extended status for members through January 31, 2022. This means that your current status remains the same, unless you earned a higher level this year. It’s also running a promotion for a free night voucher for guests that make two stays between now and January 31, 2021, at properties in the U.S., Canada, or the Caribbean. The free night stay must be redeemed by March 31, 2021. Be sure to register for the promotion first.
Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club
Elite status set to expire between April 2020 and March 2021 has been extended for 12 months. Mid-tier benefits (like lounge passes, upgrade certificates, and Gold Companion Card nominations) set to expire in the same time period received a similar extension.
Elite status has been extended through the end of 2021; new members can participate in an elite status match offer. Lower thresholds for elite status earned in 2021 will make frequent-flier benefits easier to achieve. In addition, elite members can enjoy a pause on points expiration through the end of 2021.
Delta always carries Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) earned over the threshold to the next year (a huge benefit for elite members), but this year it is rolling over all MQMs from 2020 into 2021. It also has extended 2020 Medallion Status an additional year through January 31, 2022. Select Delta SkyMiles American Express Card benefits and Delta Sky Club Memberships have also been extended.
Members with status set to expire between September 2020 and August 2021 will have status extended for another year. Those who had status extended earlier in 2020 are getting an additional 12-month extension from that original extension date. Miles that were to expire by April 2020 were extended until March 31, 2021.
The thresholds for earning new tier status and upgrades have been lowered by 80 percent through June 2021. Members below 80 percent have status extended through that date and members that achieve the threshold to retain or upgrade do so for another 12 months. The airline also eased up its mileage expiration policy; miles only expire after 18 months of inactivity. It’s easy to keep miles active by buying, earning, redeeming, or transferring miles.
Elite status for current members of Flying Blue (the program for Air France, KLM, and a few other airlines) is being extended for another 12 months through February 2022. Miles will no longer expire between now and December 31, 2021.
Members can continue to enjoy their current status through March 31, 2022, thanks to an additional year’s extension from the program. It will be easier to earn status, too, thanks to lower thresholds to attain it in 2021. Also lowered are the requirements for “milestone bonuses” that delivered extra points for staying a certain number of nights during the calendar year.