With both Qantas and Virgin both slashing the number of flights they are offering - on Wednesday, Virgin cancelled all international flights and cut domestic capacity by 60% and on Thursday, Qantas cut all international flights - frequent flyers now face the prospect of losing their status credit and seeing the value of accumulated points diminish as they can't redeem them for flights. Here's what our two main airlines are doing for their regular travellers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Qantas Frequent Flyer Program Changes Due To Coronavirus
A Qantas spokesperson told Lifehacker Australia that customers with existing bookings on any international or Australian domestic flight until 31 May 2020 who no longer wish to travel can cancel their flight and retain the value of their booking as a flight credit.
This includes Qantas Frequent Flyers who have used Qantas Points to book a flight on Qantas, Jetstar and all partner airlines.
Frequent Flyer points don't expire with Qantas, unlike some international airlines.
With status points, all Platinum One, Platinum, Gold and Silver Qantas Frequent Flyer members who have not earned the required Status Credits to retain status in their own right get an extra 12 months added to their status expiry. This includes members on Status Hold and members who have received complimentary Gold or Platinum membership from a Platinum One member.
If your membership year ends between March and June 2020, it will be automatically extended by 12 months on 27 March 2020. If it expires between July 2020 and February 2021, the 12-month extension will be applied on 9 April 2020.
You can find all the details about Qantas's status extensions here.
Extensions will be confirmed with an email to members.
Virgin Velocity Program Changes Due To Coronavirus
Virgin's approach is to deliver status credits even if you don't fly over the next few months. Rather than suspending or extending expiry periods, they are simply gifting status credits. Each different status level (Platinum, Gold and Silver) gets a different points gift.
Velocity Frequent Flyer is providing members with a 12 month extension of their current status tier. In addition, they'll also receive a gift of status credits so there are no minimum flight sectors required for members to maintain their current tier for the next year.
Here's what you get:
- Platinum: 70 status credits in each of April, May and June
- Gold: 35 status credits in each of April, May and June
- Silver: 20 status credits in each of April, May and June
Entry level Red members don't get anything.
If you are still flying domestically (Virgin has shut down all its international routes), you'll continue to earn flights as normal.