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As it turns out, having a baby while in the air is not all that uncommon. However, many airlines have policies in place that don’t allow pregnant women to fly after a certain date in their pregnancy, oftentimes limiting a parent’s opportunities to fly and maintain their frequent flyer status. Now Qantas has a solution for travelers and parents-to-be who are concerned about losing their frequent flyer status while they’re on parental leave.
Qantas’ new “Parental Pause” allows eligible Silver, Gold and Platinum frequent flyers to keep the benefits of their membership status while on parental leave. The Status Hold grants members their status for up to 18 months — even if they’re not flying as much as they need to earn the Status Credits required to retain that tier. During the time their status is on hold, members will be able to continue earning and using Qantas Points, as well as enjoying their existing tier benefits, such as lounge access and bonus points offers.
Eligible Silver, Gold and Platinum elites include those who are taking at least six consecutive months off paid employment to spend time with their family, and both parents are eligible. In addition, eligible members can apply for a Status Hold twice during a five year period and need to be:
- A parent of a baby or babies that are due to be born within the next three months or were born in the past six months
- A foster parent who will be caring for a child within the next three months or who has started caring for a child within the past six months
- A parent who will be adopting a child within the next three months or who has adopted a child within the past six months.
Platinum One members and members who’ve received complimentary Gold or Platinum status are not eligible to apply for the Status Hold. In order to get the Status Hold, members will need to apply and supply Qantas with two pieces of supporting documentation. Full details and the documentation needed for each scenario can be found here.
In addition to the launch of the Status Hold, Qantas has also improved its Family Transfer restrictions. Members can now make an unlimited number of transfers to eligible family members up to 600,000 Qantas Points each year, as compared to the previous 400,000 limit. The carrier has also gotten rid of the 100,000-point transfer cap, instead allowing members to transfer the full 600,000 points in a single transaction. With the increased points transfer allowance, families now have the opportunity to transfer more points, making it easier to travel together, however, a minimum transfer of 5,000 Qantas Points still applies.
Overall, this move by Qantas really sets it apart from many other frequent flyer programs. That being said, Qantas’ competitor Virgin Australia also offers a membership pause for a six-month period for those expecting a new addition to their families. Velocity members also need to apply with the carrier in order to be approved for the membership pause.
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