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How COVID Has Impacted Your Frequent Flyer Status

Now that you are not flying as often as you once did, what is going to happen to your frequent flyer status?

Even though airports are slowly getting busier, this doesn’t mean people are booking flights at the rate they once did. This has left a lot of people wondering what is going to happen to their frequent flyer miles and status.

Once you get to an “elite” status, losing it means losing out on free upgrades, preferential treatment, free seat assignment, and better boarding privileges. It takes time to accumulate miles and earn a specific status, so how does the pandemic affect your investment?

The Effects of COVID-19 on Your Frequent Flyer Status

The good news is that airlines have come to the party and have taken steps to help customers retain their miles and status.

Here are the changes that major airlines have put in place so far:

British Airways

British Airways has added an additional year onto any Executive Club membership and all members will benefit. They have also decreased the amount of tier points required by 25%, making it easier to retain your status.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin has extended the status of all Silver and Gold Flying Club members by 6 months. This means if your membership year was set to expire at the end of April 2020, the new expiry date is now 31 October 2020. Members have 18 months to earn the points necessary to maintain or upgrade their status.


Qantas has made it possible for eligible members to maintain their flyer status by offering a once-off status credit boost, monthly status credit support, and a 12-month status extension.


Qatar Airways is offering Privilege Club members the option to extend or reclaim their tier status for up to six months, which includes personalized offers. This is only applicable to memberships due to end before 31 January 2021.


Emirates Skywards Silver, Gold, and Platinum members can retain their current status for an additional 12 months if they have a tier review date before 1 March 2021. Only 80% of the usual travel requirements apply. Review dates that took place between March 2020 and September 2020 have been extended until 31 December 2020.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific is automatically renewing Marco Polo Club tier level for Green, Silver, Gold, and Diamond members who have a membership expiry date between May 2020 and April 2021.

Air Canada

Regardless of your Altitude status in 2020, Air Canada will automatically extend it into 2021. If you manage to achieve a higher status before the end of the year, this will also carry through into 2021. It is also possible to earn Aeroplan Miles at home, which will contribute to your Altitude status.

American Airlines

American Airlines AAdvantage members have an extra 3 months to earn elite status for 2021. For those with AAdvantage credit cards, there are additional ways to earn. Elite qualification thresholds have also been adjusted for 2021.

Delta Air Lines

Delta Medallion members can enjoy a 12-month extension on their status and any qualification miles from 2020 will roll over into 2021.

Hawaiian Airlines

Along with reducing status qualifications for miles and segments by 50% for 2021, Hawaiian Airlines has also extended the status of elite members to February 2022. The airline won’t be expiring any miles from 1 March to 31 December 2020 either.


JetBlue made the decision to extend the Mosaic elite status to December 2021, including any status earned by flying and spending on a JetBlue Plus card.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has extended benefits earned up until 31 December 2020 to 30 June 2021 for Companion Pass holders. For any A-List member who achieves a preferred status up until 31 December 2020, this will be extended until 31 December 2021.

United Airlines

United is extending their elite status to all existing Premier members until the end of the 2021 program year – this ends on 31 January 2022.


WestJet is extending all Platinum, Gold, and Silver status benefits to 31 December 2021. This includes lounge and seat selection vouchers. All current qualifying periods for members will also be extended to 31 December 2021.

Be sure to keep checking the website of your airline of choice to stay aware of any changes to their frequent flyer programs.


Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.