These are the hotels and airlines offering elite status extensions for those impacted by coronavirus

Mar 13, 2020

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As the world continues to react to the ongoing coronavirus spread, several hotel and airline companies have chosen to proactively offer members elite status and benefits extensions. These offers tend to be valid for those residing in the Asia-Pacific region, and provide those whose travel has been impacted with the peace of mind that their elite status won’t expire.

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Here’s a roundup of all participating companies thus far.

In This Post

Accor

Accor has announced that all Live Limitless member statuses (Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond) will be extended an additional year. Statuses will now expire Dec. 31, 2021 for all members residing in Greater China (Mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan).

Best Western

One of the most generous policies to date, Best Western is allowing all rewards members globally to  maintain their current status through Jan. 31, 2022, regardless of their future stays.

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt announced that it would be extending elite statuses and benefits for all those in the Asia-Pacific region. Those whose status would have originally expired in 2020 will now see an extension to 2021, and those whose status would have expired in 2021 will have until 2022. This goes for both elite status and benefits associated with the status, such as Suite Upgrade Awards. Hyatt will also suspend point expirations through May 31, 2020.

Additionally, Hyatt will also postpone upcoming changes to its award chart  and introduction of peak and off-peak pricing until 2021. Note, however, that five hotels will still shift categories on March 22. Four hotels — Hyatt Centric Park City, Park Hyatt Shenzhen, Alila Yangshuo and Park Hyatt Ningbo — will move up a category, while the Park Hyatt Mallorca will drop from Category 6 to Category 5.

Related: World of Hyatt expands free cancellations, suspends award chart changes until next year

Hilton

Hilton announced via its official WeChat account that all members of Hilton Honors who had not achieved elite status requirements in 2019 and would have been downgraded on March 31, 2020, will now have an extension until March 2021. Similarly, those whose status is set to expire in 2021 will now have a new expiration date of 2022.

Hilton has also stated that Hilton Honors members from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan will not have their points expire until Dec. 31, 2020. These benefits are only for members whose “preferred address” in the profile was in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan as of Feb. 19, 2020.

Related: Hilton is waiving all cancellation fees in response to coronavirus concerns

The hotel group added that it will adjust the validity period of the membership tier and points, which will be completed by March 31 this year. Eligible members do not need to apply for the membership tier and points extensions.

Hilton has also extended its rebooking and cancellation waiver for guests affected by the coronavirus outbreak. All existing reservations — yes, even those that are noncancelable (known as “Advance Purchase” rates) — scheduled for arrival before April 30 can now be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours in advance. New reservations booked between March 12 and April 30 with any arrival date in the future may also be changed or canceled without penalty up to 24 hours before arrival.

Finally, Hilton said on its website that it was “too early to make and announce specific changes” to elite status requirements.

IHG

On March 11, IHG announced that the global hotel chain would waive all cancellation fees for new and existing bookings worldwide effective immediately until April 30, 2020. The brand also announced that it would update its elite status criteria in light of recent travel concerns.

Graphic courtesy of IHG.

Earlier this month, IHG also announced via its official WeChat account that members whose accounts were located in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as of Feb. 17, 2020 will have their current membership extended until Dec. 31, 2021. Similar to Hilton, those IHG points that would otherwise expire will be extended until Dec. 31. These adjustments will be made automatically and members should see the updated dates in their accounts.

Related: IHG waives cancellation fees; lowers elite status requirements

Those who purchased Ambassador status in the first six months of 2019 will have their status extended by six months to accommodate for the interruption. This even includes an updated “complimentary weekend night” voucher, which will reflect the new date of expiration for IHG Ambassadors.

Marriott

Marriott Bonvoy announced that it will also extend the elite membership status for all its tiers from February 2020 to 2021. Eligible members include those whose addresses were located in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as of Feb. 1, 2020.

Marriott members whose annual choice benefit included Suite Night Awards will see the expiration date moved to Dec. 31, 2021. This is valid even for those who have redeemed their awards but haven’t yet finished the stay associated with the award. Other benefits are also extended for an additional 12 months, including expiring reward points.

Shangri-La

Shangri-La is also being especially generous, with the company deciding to extend all Golden Circle tier status members (Diamond and Jade) around the world through Dec. 31, 2021.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific is granting its members bonus points to help make up for lost travel due to the Coronavirus, according to Executive Traveller. These will be granted in monthly increments to Marco Polo Club members and represent only a portion of the points needed to retain status. Unlike other programs, all members will be given these bonus points regardless of residency.

Status

February

March

April

Total

Total Required

Silver

30 Club Points

30 Club Points

30 Club Points

90 points

300 points

Gold

65 Club Points

65 Club Points

65 Club Points

195 points

600 points

Diamond

140 Club Points

140 Club Points

140 Club Points

420 points

1,200 points

In addition to these points, members who have lounge passes, earned companion certificates or flight upgrade credits that expire between March and April will see their passes extended by six months.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is also offering relief for those affected by the outbreak, though the aid is much more targeted. A Singapore Airlines spokesperson told Executive Traveller, “In view of the COVID-19 outbreak, and in recognition of our members’ support for the airline, Singapore Airlines has renewed the membership of selected KrisFlyer Elite Silver, Elite Gold, PPS and Solitaire PPS Club members for another year. These members have membership validity periods ending in February 2020.”

Those who have been targeted will receive an email letting them know that their status is extended.

United Airlines

While United has specifically stated that it isn’t accommodating those current elite members affected by COVID-19, it sent out an email to its members a few days ago outlining the steps it would be taking for those completing elite status challenges.

United said, “At this time, we are not planning any changes for our 2021 Premier program but we will continue to evaluate our options as we learn more about how the current climate is affecting members’ activity. In the interim though, we do plan to give members who are participating in a MileagePlus 2020 Premier Status Match Challenge promotion an additional 30 days to complete their challenge. This extension will automatically be reflected in member accounts within the next week.”

Flying Blue

Flying Blue announced that it would lower the XP objective by 25% for Silver, Gold and Platinum members to maintain their current level. Members earn Flying Blue elite status by earning XP (experience points) at three levels: Silver (100 XP), Gold (180 XP) and Platinum (300 XP), which means that to requalify you’d need 75 XP for Silver, 135 XP for Gold and 225 XP for Platinum.

Note that this only applies to members that have a qualification period ending in March, April or May 2020. Flying Blue also says that it will prevent all miles from expiring between now and the end of 2020 for all members.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely as it evolves. Similar or further actions will be taken in the months beyond May 2020. We are committed to sharing details when available,” the site says.

Bottom line

While COVID-19 spreads, many countries have enacted travel bans and airlines have seen continued flight cancellations. It’s nice to see that companies are taking proactive measures to aid members and give some relief in these trying times.

For the latest news around the COVID-19 virus, check out our dedicated coronavirus news page.

Featured photo by Dace Kundrate/Shutterstock.

Victoria Walker contributed to this post.

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