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Delta and United Extend Frequent Flyer Elite Status

United Delta Bill Abbott Flickr

With flight cancellations now mounting into the summer, two carriers based in the United States announced they will extend frequent flyer elite status to their members. Both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have reportedly declared the extension on Sunday, Apr. 5, 2020.

Related: We Called and Asked: These US Airlines Are Extending Status

Delta: “We know how important these benefits are to you”

In a press release, Delta Air Lines announced a number of extensions to their programs. The biggest announcement: Current SkyMiles Medallion elite flyers will see their status extended through the 2021 Medallion Year.

“While our focus is on keeping customers and employees safe and healthy today and always, you are a part of the Delta family and we know how important these benefits are to you,” Sandeep Dube senior vice president of customer engagement and loyalty at Delta, said in a press release. “That’s why as coronavirus continues to dramatically impact travel across the globe, you don’t have to worry about your benefits – they’ll be extended so you can enjoy them when you are ready to travel again.”

In addition to extending status, Delta will roll over all Medallion Qualifying miles earned in 2020 to the next year, in order to qualify for 2022 status. Flyers who have either an individual or executive Delta Sky Club membership expiring on Mar. 1, 2020 or later will receive an additional six-month membership beyond the expiration date.

Benefits will also extend to credit card benefits and travel vouchers as well. Depending on the credit card, delta will extend the expiration date of flight credits, companion certificates, or Sky Club guest passes. Anyone with an upgrade certificate or $200 travel voucher expiring between Mar. 1 and Jun. 30, 2020, can now book and fly using them through Dec. 31, 2020. Upgrade certificates or $200 travel vouchers expiring after Jun. 30, 2020 will also get an additional six months of validity.

United follows lead in status extensions

United Airlines has also reportedly offered status extensions to their elite frequent flyers as well. In a press release sent late Sunday evening, United announced all published statuses would be extended through 2021. This includes the top-tier Premier 1K status. In addition, the airline will lower qualifying thresholds for 2020 by 50 percent. To earn United Premier status, flyers need either six Premier-qualifying flights and 2,000 Premier-qualifying points, or a total of 2,500 Premier-qualifying points. To earn Premier 1K status, flyers must board 26 Premier-qualifying flights and earn 9,000 Premier-qualifying points, or have a total of 12,000 Premier-qualifying points.

At the top tiers, both Premier 1K and Platinum members will see their PlusPoints extended by six months, along with expanding the “Skip Waitlist” program for Premier 1K members. And any electronic travel certificates will be extended for 24 months. This allows anyone with an electronic travel certificate to book a new flight within two years of the issuing date and travel for up to 11 months past the expiration date.

Much like Delta, the airline will also extend the expiration date of their annual subscription products for an additional six months. United allows flyers to subscribe to multiple services for a nominal fee, including United Club membership, EconomyPlus seating and in-flight wi-fi.

American: “We do not have any updates”

Of the three domestic carriers, American Airlines is the only one which will not commit to a status extension for their AAdvantage elite flyers. In a statement to FlyerTalk, the carrier offered no direction on which direction their program will go.

“We’re closely monitoring the impact that COVID-19 may have on our members’ ability to earn elite status during the current qualifying year,” the statement reads. “Our commitment to their well-being and ability to earn and redeem miles through AAdvantage remains our top priority, and we’ll continue to assess the situation. We do not have any updates to share to our elite program at this time.”


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[Image Source: Bill Abott/Flickr]

cmd320 April 11, 2020

Business as usual at AA

controller1 April 8, 2020

I truly wish Delta were a viable option for me in Louisiana. However, at least 80% of our travel is westward and I can't see us flying east to Atlanta before we start the trek west.

Airrage April 7, 2020

I'm with plancast. If AA doesn't pull their head out, I will switch to Delta. Currently PlatPro with the illustrious, wonderful customer loving (NOT!) AA.

conference junkie April 7, 2020

What it really means is that AA wants to continue treating passengers like sheep to be fleeced and while they think they will have to do something the don't want to do anything more than the bare minimum or just a bit less. It is this "The customer is the enemy to be crushed" attitude that got me to shift to Delta. It is frequently a bit less convenient from my home airport, but I reused to have bad customer service or to give them money when they treat people so badly. I remember declaring on the AA facebook page that I was leaving and taking my $20k a year to Delta. Some AA shill, taunted me saying that amount of money was not even a drop in the bucket, which of course was true. But what that person missed, what AA missed was that there are thousands and thousands of people who that kind of money who walked too. I hope they go BK and it makes me mad that their CEO, Doug Parker who engineered this mess, will walk away with hundreds of millions of dollars for hurting a great company with great employees and great customers. Off my soapbox.

POatParker April 7, 2020

Not surprising with Parker at the helm of AA. His mantra of "anything to screw the customer and employees," continues! The sooner he is gone, the better for everyone!!!