While most of us continue to remain at home, and likely will do so for the near future, travel and hospitality brands have taken a massive hit as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, to accommodate loyal customers during this trying time, many brands have announced changes to their loyalty programs to accommodate elite travelers.
Below we have included updates from several brands – including hotels, airlines, and more – outlining their plans to retain their best customers’ loyalty.
Air Canada has announced that it is extending members’ Altitude status until the end of 2021. The company also said that for every five Aeroplan miles its members donate to a charity entrenched in fighting the virus, they’ll receive one mile towards achieving Altitude status until the end of April. Also, miles have had their expiration date paused until May 14.
Alaska Airlines announced it has extended customers’ current Mileage Plan status levels through December 31, 2021. All tier benefits will apply other than the 50,000 bonus miles given to those who earn the 75K status. The company is also extending the trial status for those that enrolled in a status match between December 1, 2019, and March 31, 2020, to now run through the end of 2021.
American Airlines has announced it is changing aspects of the AAdvantage members because of the pandemic. There are multiple changes like Elite Status being extended for AAdvantage members until January 31, 2022, Elite Status qualification being reduced for 2020, Admiral Club memberships purchased from American Airlines extended for 6 months, introducing up to $400 special credits for future travel on American Airlines Vacations packages for elite members, each dollar spent on eligible AAdvantage co-branded credit cards through the end of 2020 will count for one mile toward your Million Miler status and award reinstatement fees have been waived for travel through September 2020.
Delta has announced that SkyMiles Medallion Members will keep the loyalty benefits they had in 2020 throughout 2021. This 12-month status extension is to allow customers greater flexibility thanks to the virus, and its effect on travel, including keeping their medallion status and medallion qualification miles.
Delta Sky Club Individual and Executive memberships that have an expiration date of March 1, 2020, or later, will receive six additional months of Delta Sky Club access beyond their expiration date.
For Delta SkyMiles American Express Card Members, this means if you have one of the following statuses in your profile “My Wallet” that is valid now or has expired since March 1, 2020, Delta has extended the expiration date to give you more time to use it. Delta SkyMiles Gold Cardholders with a $100 Delta flight credit will get a six-month extension beyond their current expiration date. Delta SkyMiles Platinum Cardholders who have Companion Certificates with an original expiration date between March 1 and June 30, 2020, can use them when they book and fly by December 31. 2020, and for those that have expiration dates between July 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, will receive an additional six months beyond the current expiration date. Delta SkyMiles Reserve Cardholders have a similar time extension to above, but members will also get a six-month extension to use their Delta Sky Club One-Time Guest Passes beyond their current expiration date.
Then, for SkyMiles Members, if you have one of the following in your “My Wallet” that’s valid now or has expired since March 1, 2020, Delta is extending the expiration date. Upgrade Certificates or $200 Travel Vouchers that have an original expiration date between March 1 and June 30, 2020, are extended. Now, they can be booked and flown by December 31, 2020. Also, those with the two above credits that expire after June 30, 2020, will receive an additional six months following the current expiration date. SkyMiles Select members will also receive a six-month extension to their Priority Boarding benefit as well as any unused drink vouchers.
United Airlines has extended its members’ MileagePlus Premier status through January 2022, reducing the threshold for Platinum qualification by 50 percent, giving away more credit card points as well as making it easier to upgrade seating.
The company has announced a blanket six-month membership extension for all Accor Plus cardholders, including Supplementary and Discovery cardholders, who hold or held a valid Accor Plus membership at any time in April 2020. All unused Stay Plus free night vouchers will also have their validity extended for six months as well as “Member for a Day” certificates. Vouchers for complimentary breakfast and complimentary wine will also have their value extended for six months.
Best Western has announced that all members of Best Western Rewards will maintain their current status through January 31, 2022, and it will be automatically reflected in all Best Western accounts. Also, the brand has said all members downgraded to a lower status at the end of 2019 will have their previous status reinstated through the new date.
While the company hasn’t announced anything about extending its rewards program yet, it has said customers can make free changes or cancellations for existing reservations as well as new ones booked between March 17, 2020 and April 30, 2020. These cancellations must be made at least 24 hours before the scheduled arrival date. Points expiration has also been paused until May 31, 2020.
Hilton has extended elite status for all members expiring on March 31, 2020, to March 31, 2021. Members who have statuses expiring March 31, 2021, will have their status extended through March 31, 2022.
Also, Hilton has paused all points expiration until December 31, 2020. All existing and new reservations booked between today and June 30 can be canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival day. Any outstanding Weekend Night Rewards Certificates earned with some Hilton American Express cards will now be extended. Those unexpired as of March 11, 2020, and all new ones issued through August 30, 2020, will be extended until August 31, 2021.
Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG)
The company has extended all of its IHG Rewards Club member statuses through January of 2022.
Spire Elite members can now choose an annual benefit of 25,000 bonus points or the ability to gift Platinum Elite status to someone for a year as a part of the extension. Also, the brand has loosened its criteria for earning Elite status through the end of 2020. Requirements for both nights and points have been reduced by at least 25 percent across the board.
There are a few other updates. Points expiry has been paused until December 31, 2020 for club members. Also, complimentary three-month membership extensions have been given to members of the InterContinental Ambassador program that became effective on March 15 as well as three-month extensions on outstanding Weekend Night Certificates for members of the InterContinental Ambassador program. There is also an extension of expiration dates for anniversary certificates for members in the United States and the United Kingdom that are set to expire in 2020. All certificates expiring from March 1 can be used through December 31, 2020. Lastly, all certificates issued in 2020 will have 18-month redemption periods.
Marriott has announced it is extending Marriott Bonvoy elite status validity for those that earned elite status in 2019. They will have their status expiration dates extended to February 2022. Also, Marriott is pausing Bonvoy point expiration until February 2021.
All existing and new Marriott reservations, made between March 13 and June 30, can be changed or canceled for free until June 30, 2020, but they must be made at least 24 hours before the scheduled arrival date. Members with outstanding free-night certificates given by select Marriott credit cards set to expire in 2020 can now be used through January 31, 2021. Last, Suite Night Award certificates with December 31, 2020 expiration dates have had their validity extended through December 31, 2021.
Preferred Hotels and Resorts
The brand announced through email that all members would retain their status through June 30, 2021, as well as extending points expiration for all members through August 31, 2020.
Radisson has announced it is extending elite statuses through February 2022 for members who were originally going to expire in February 2021. Also, points have had their expiration dates moved six months back, starting March 1, 2020. Travelers with e-certifications set to expire through June 30, 2020, can now redeem them through June 30, 2021.
Customers can also cancel or change reservations for stays through April 30, 2020 with no penalty.
Shangri-La has extended all Golden Circle tier status members through December 31, 2021.
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
The hotel chain has updated its points purchasing restrictions. Members are now able to purchase up to 45,000 points per year.
There are also two different offers the brand is giving. The first is that from now until May 11, rewards members can receive a 40 percent on Wyndham point purchases, and with the new points purchasing limit, comes out to 63,000 possible points available to purchase.
The second offer is that, from now until May 4, new DoorDash customers can earn 3,000 Wyndham Rewards bonus points for their first order. Also, all orders, including those for existing customers, can earn 500 Wyndham Rewards points. To earn these points, members have to start their orders through WyndhamRewards.com.
National and Enterprise
National Car Rental’s Emerald Club and Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s Enterprise Plus programs are both extending their elite statuses for members by a year. Those statuses that were set to expire by February 28, 2021, have now extended their expiration dates to February 28, 2022.
Also, both loyalty programs have rolled over qualifying rentals and rental days beyond those a traveler needs to reach the status for next year, such as a consumer with 16 rentals this year in the Emerald Club Executive, which requires 12, starts the next year with four rentals in their balance.