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We Called and Asked: These European & Middle East Airlines Are Retaining Status

Europe and the Middle East have not been protected from the COVID-19 outbreak – Italy and Spain have been hit very hard, while leaders in other parts of Europe have reported positive tests of novel Coronavirus contractions. And after the United States stopped inbound travel from Europe to the United States, many airlines are forced to ground their flights and limit routes altogether.

As a result, many flyers may not qualify for elite status through their normal flying habits. How are the European carriers and “Middle East Three” handling the situation? FlyerTalk went to the airlines to find out their specific policies.

Aer Lingus

The Irish airline – one of three in European conglomerate International Airlines Group – has not announced any public changes to their loyalty program, AerClub. However, some FlyerTalkers report receiving bonus tier credits to their account to help frequent flyers keep their loyalty status. The reports say flyers are receiving anywhere between 25 and 350 tier credits, based on their current status.

British Airways

IAG’s flagship airline is taking proactive steps to help flyers retain their status even though flights are currently grounded. Although British Airways will not extend elite status for passengers, they are lowering tier point qualifying markers by 30% for those due for tier upgrade in April, May or June 2020. To qualify for status in 2021, those flyers will need to reach:

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

Additionally, all flyers who currently hold Gold Upgrade Vouchers, Companion Vouchers or Travel Together Tickets will have expiration dates extended by six months.


From Finnair: We have extended the validity period of Finnair Plus points, and they will expire earliest on 30 September, 2020. We will update your account accordingly by 31 March, 2020.


Spain is one of the hardest affected nations by the COVID-19 outbreak. According to Bloomberg, the death toll from novel Coronavirus surpassed 11,000 as of Apr. 4, 2020.

As a result, Iberia – the third member of IAG – has not announced any changes to their program for elite members. FlyerTalkers on the Iberia Plus forum have not reported any communications from Iberia regarding elite status for 2020 and beyond.

However, this message a FlyerTalker received from Iberia does not sound promising.

Lufthansa Group

One of Europe’s biggest airline conglomerates, Lufthansa Group has announced several steps they are taking due to Coronavirus, including offering a discount of 50 Euros for rebooked tickets with a new departure day on or before Dec. 31, 2020.

However, the airline has not announced if they will make any concessions for elite status in the coming year. Lufthansa has made no public comment about the future of Miles & More, and FlyerTalkers have not reported any communications on the forums.

Miles & More is the loyalty program for several European carriers, including Lufthansa, Swiss, Croatia Airlines and LOT Polish Airlines.

Air France-KLM Flying Blue

The combined loyalty program of Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is taking a similar stance as European rival British Airways. For Silver, Gold and Platinum elite members who’s status would expire in March, April or May 2020, the loyalty program will reduce the “XP” points requirement by 25 percent. In addition, all members’ miles will not expire for the remainder of 2020.

Those booking with Reward Tickets or Promo Tickets also have some reprieve as well. All penalty fees for trip cancellations will be waived, while miles will be recredited to the frequent flyer account and airport taxes will be recredited to flyers’ credit card.


In a counter direction to other European airlines, Russian flag carrier Aeroflot is extending the status of all Aeroflot Bonus elite members. In a press release, the carrier announced all Silver, Gold and Platinum elite members would have their status extended until the end of February 2022.

“The current situation, which is beyond our control, is disrupting travel plans and preventing many passengers from accruing miles,” said airline spokesperson Yulia Spivakova. “With this in mind, we have decided to make a gift by extending elite status for Aeroflot Bonus members through the entirety of 2021.”

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines’ Miles&Smiles program has not made any public announcements on their website on the direction of their loyalty program. FlyerTalkers report that the airline is quietly extending their loyalty status by six months, without any communication or notice.

“I just noticed that my Elite Plus status has been extended by 6 months, presumably due to the COVID-19 situation,” writes FlyerTalker YOW_RTW. “It was originally set to expire on 30 Jan 2021, but it now shows online as expiring on 30 July 2021! My partner’s account is reflecting the same extension.”


As flights are largely grounded around the world, Emirates Skywards is offering a status extension for a number of their elite members. Those who would have a tier status review between March and September 2020 will get an extension through Dec. 31, 2020. Additionally, all flyers with a tier review date before Mar. 1, 2020 can renew their status for 80 percent of the usual travel requirements.

All Skywards Miles members will also have their miles validity extended to the end of the year. The program allows miles to be used up to 11 months in advance for flights, upgrades, hotels and more.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Privilege Club is the only one of the “Middle East Three” that will extend status for all elite members with currently valid status. In a press release, the airline announced an extension for all flyers who would see their status expire on Jan. 31, 2021.

“Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club recently announced a tier extension offer of up to six months to its members,” the airline stated in their release. “But has doubled this to one year in recognition that its members continue to be impacted by travel restrictions and flight reductions resulting from COVID-19.”

The airline will also extend Qcredits longer for their elite members. Those who are in the Gold or Platinum tiers now have credits extended for two years, so long as they retain their status.

Etihad Airways

The Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is the only one of the “Middle East Three” not unilaterally granting elite flyers an extra year of status. Instead, the airline is granting Etihad Guest members bonus tier miles on a monthly basis. The grants will be deposited into flyers’ accounts through May 2020.

How many miles will members receive? According to their website: “Amounts have been calculated as a monthly average of miles members earn flying with Etihad Airways and are required to maintain their existing Tier.”


Need help navigating the COVID-19 situation? FlyerTalk has a forum dedicated to the latest information – click here to read the newest posts.

irishguy28 April 17, 2020

IAG has 5 airlines... [img]https://www.iairgroup.com/~/media/Images/I/IAG/banners/iag-overview-banner-main.png[/img]

JFHel75 April 16, 2020

Finnair also announced earlier that they have extended the status by 6 months for all tiers.

mouch April 16, 2020

Confirmed @Nico40 - I got an email confirming that I will have my status extended for 1 year. I will likely not make the threshold to maintain my status so it will get topped up by AF. For me, the way they did it worked out great...

Nico40 April 15, 2020

AF/KL are now extending status for 1 year. Which is good, although done in a rather strange way, as they are "subsidizing" those who are missing XP points. So very frequent flyers who are rolling over XPs from last years will get the usual amount 'seized' to requalify while those who are flying a bit less have no real incentive to travel again before the end of their requalification period. Not sure why they didn't simply lowered the requalification thresholds as they began to do.

kc1174 April 10, 2020

BAs are a joke. I was on 1,100 tier points and Silver. Flights in March were cancelled due to coronavirus and because of that I didn’t get the required minimum number of marketed flights. What do I get with 1,100 tier points and 5 flights? Bronze. Fu Cruz. Ps this also does nothing for those who achieve status through number of flights flown. Ready about a guy who was on 47, needed 50 and his remaining flights to get to 50 - all cancelled.