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We Called and Asked: These US Airlines Are Extending Status

status airlines

Now that the airlines are getting money as part of the CARES Act bailout, flyers are starting to turn their attention towards their status goals in 2020 and beyond. With schedules gutted by up to 70 percent or more, the ability to board aircraft and earn miles towards status is severely limited.

We reached out to the airlines to find out if they were making any concessions to those flyers who may not earn status in 2020 from a lack of flight options. In particular, we asked two questions:

  • Is your airline offering any sort of waiver or direction for travelers who may not earn elite status due to recommendations not to travel?
  • If so, what is your policy?

Of the major airlines we reached out to – Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, and United Airlines – only one responded to our request for comment. Based on the current statements on their websites and what FlyerTalkers are learning, here’s how status issues are being affected this year and beyond.

Alaska Airlines

Update 4/7: Alaska Airlines Extends Status Through December 2021

Alaska did not respond to our request for comment. But some flyers were targeted in early March for a promotion to earn status faster through flights. FlyerTalker noah was one of them, and was offered a challenge to earn MVP elite status “50 percent faster” if they register and fly by Apr. 11, 2020.

The promotion appears to be available to all travelers: when I tried it, I was immediately accepted with the message: “You’re all set to go forth and travel.” There’s no indication if Alaska will extend the promotion beyond Apr. 11.

Otherwise, Alaska has not announced if they will offer waivers or shorten the qualification period for certain travelers. Their blog offers details on deep cleaning and social distancing on flights, but they have yet to announce if they will offer an extension of current elite status or lower re-qualification goals.

American Airlines

American was the only airline to respond to our request for comment. In an e-mail, an American spokesperson told FlyerTalk:

We’re closely monitoring the impact that COVID-19 may have on our members’ ability to earn elite status during the current qualifying year. 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.

FlyerTalkers are speculating if American will make any concessions for flyers, but are not optimistic that lower qualification standards are coming, or how they would appear in an elite qualifying dollar program.

“I’m not sure how this will work now in the era of elite qualifying dollars – I suppose that both elite qualifying dollars and elite qualifying miles could be doubled (otherwise simply doubling elite qualifying miles wouldn’t do much for many elites),” writes FlyerTalker wetrat0. “But I’m sure we’ll see some sort of promotion this year.”

Delta Air Lines

Update 4/6: Delta and United Extend Frequent Flyer Elite Status

Delta’s latest communication was published on Mar. 25, 2020. In a brief press release, chief customer experience officer Bill Lentsch explained the Atlanta-based carrier’s future moves in a two-minute video. The video did not address any changes to the SkyMiles frequent flyer program.

“When you choose to fly with us, you’re putting your trust in our hands,” Lentsch states in the video.
“We take that responsibility extremely seriously. I’ve had the privilege of working with the best women and men in the business. They spent years building a durable and customer-focused airline. As a result, we’ve never been better prepared to weather this storm than we are today.”

Currently, Delta has provided no guidance on what will happen with SkyMiles as part of their Coronavirus travel overview website section. FlyerTalkers on the forums are in agreement that a decision will be made in due time.

“Delta has publicly stated they’ll evaluate once the time is right,” writes FlyerTalker flyerCO. “However, they made clear (and I think most agree) the current time isn’t right.”


Much like Delta, JetBlue shared a video message from President and Chief Operating Officer Joanna Geraghty on Mar. 18, 2020. Unfortunately, that message did not include information about TrueBlue Mosaic status.

“At JetBlue, we remain, as always, focused on protecting the safety and wellbeing of our crewmembers and customers, and managing carefully and prudently our business so that we can continue to serve you and deliver the great JetBlue experience for many years to come,” says Geraghty. “Air travel is an essential global service and we are committed to continuing that service to meet critical travel needs.”

FlyerTalkers are not speculating if Mosaic status will be extended, or what the qualification requirements will be. However, some elite members are noticing that when their flights are cancelled, the ticket price is getting “refunded” to their Travelbank accounts, instead of back on their credit cards.

United Airlines

Update 4/6: Delta and United Extend Frequent Flyer Elite Status

Since their initial statement about COVID-19, United Airlines has not made any statements about how flyers will be affected under their new elite qualifying process, requiring flyers to have enough Premier Qualifying Points and Premier Qualifying Flights. Despite the numerous travel advisories, United has not announced if they will extend status or reduce status qualifying thresholds. The link “Your accounts, miles and status” on their resource page only goes back to the MileagePlus login page.

Although the airline is offering flexible travel options through May 31, 2020, many are upset that the carrier is not offering refunds on flights. FlyerTalkers who are only offered future travel credits say the airline is “holding” as little as $300 from cancelled flights, while extreme frequent flyers say they have as much as $20,000 tied up with the airline at this moment.

Get the most up-to-date information on how airlines are responding to the Coronavirus on the FlyerTalk forums. Additionally, FlyerTalk has a dedicated thread for Coronavirus resources and information.


[Photo credit: Gordan Bevan via Flickr]

dogcanyon April 13, 2020

American Airlines just extended status. Once you verify this, you will want to update the article to be current.

miami888 April 11, 2020

This makes 911 and 2008 look like bull market. We are really at the economic pit fall .... no one could imagine on earth... e Everything will change. (IMHO) Buckle your seat belts, its going to be a bumpy flight! Smart for AA to wait to see how things fail or rise.

White Eagle April 10, 2020

UA: No surprise at no answer. UA is probably still looking for a clue. United's skint-flint cheapskate skies will be filled with a lot of nothing burgers or anything else even remotely close to assisting those unfortunate enough to have to take a UA flight. A Good Suggestion: Make sure that through the current confusion, UA does not "accidentally" erase accumulated mileage.

psusaver April 6, 2020

United just sent this in email "Since you're a member of our MileagePlus program, I'm writing to let you know that we're reducing status qualifications by 50% for 2021, therefore making it easier to achieve status with MileagePlus" I am sure everyone else got something similar with a whole of other details. Worth checking your email to see what sorta things they send to each person.

born sleepy April 5, 2020

I got this email from DL this morning and here's the relevant part: "Medallion Status: Your current Medallion Status will automatically be extended through 2021 whether or not you requalify. In addition, all of your 2020 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) will be rolled over in 2021. If you are enrolled in Status promotions, you will also receive additional flexibility to complete those requirements."