With quarantine, self-isolation, and social distancing implemented in almost everywhere in the world, the airline industry is taking a big hit as the demand for travel greatly decreases. In an effort to ease the burden, the US government has given a $50 billion bailout package for its airline carriers distributed between loans and employee salaries. And while this may help, industry leaders are expecting an overall lower demand for travel. Fortunately, both United Airlines and Delta have announced that they will be extending their mileage programs into 2021 as a way to reassure its customers that their benefits and perks will still be usable as soon as it’s deemed safe to travel.
The first to extend such a courtesy, Delta SkyMiles Medallion membership will now be valid until 2021 instead of expiring this 2020. All Medallion Qualifying Miles can also be transferred and qualified for use in 2022 as well. Delta Sky Club memberships set to expire by March or later will also receive an additional 6 months membership. Delta has also decided to extend expiring Delta cardholders and SkyMiles member benefits for up to 12 months.
Following suit after Delta’s announcement, United Airlines also announced its intention to extend its programs and expiration dates of its customers. All current Premier members will have their memberships extended all through 2021. Annual subscription options, like United Club, as well as Wi-Fi and Economy Plus have also been extended for another six months for each customer.
This year, United introduced a new point system to help customers reach Premier status. Customers earn Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) by spending on United flights or Premiere Qualifying Flights (PQF) by flying with United or its partners. A certain number of points will allow customers to be upgraded to Premier status. In an attempt to keep customers interested, United has lowered the PQP threshold for earning Premier status, providing an easier way for customers to get upgraded.
With the trend set by Delta, and the coronavirus not easing any time soon, it’s expected that other airlines will follow suit in extending its programs and loyalty privileges.