How airlines plan to protect points

Although not at the forefront of most people’s minds right now, Qantas and Virgin are getting on the front foot to shore up loyalty program status.

Qantas frequent flyers will receive a 12-month status extension and Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer members are now being provided with a 12-month extension of their current status tier, in addition to their Status Credit gift.

Virgin’s initial offer was to gift its members a Status Credit – points equivalent to what they would have lost over three months of suspended operations. However, Velocity members expressed dismay over a deal that was seen as far less generous that the Qantas offer.

frequent flyer card

“I feel that Virgin Australia misread the situation and went a similar route as Cathay Pacific. Qantas on the other hand pulled out all the stops [and] is now offering the most generous status extension out there,” Flight Hacks founder Immanuel Debeer told DMARGE.

“I think both marketing teams knew from each other that they were working on a deal but, of course, they didn’t know the specifics.

“It will be interesting to see if other airlines’ loyalty programs follow Qantas’ lead and extend status by a full 12 months,” he continued in a statement that has now proved prophetic, as Virgin Australia has now updated its offer to match Qantas and go one better.”

Virgin reacted to the criticism with an offer equivalent to that of Qantas.

“The situation in Australia relating to coronavirus is rapidly evolving, as is our response as a business. This situation has developed further in the last couple of days since we developed the Status Credit gift offer, and we’re really pleased to have an additional announcement,” said Virgin Australia.

Silver, Gold and Platinum Velocity members will receive the Status Credit gift and a 12-month extension to their current status.

The gifts will be made in three instalments over the next three months, starting in the first week of April.

“We know these times are tough, and it’s particularly hard where travel is concerned. In this changing environment, the safety and needs of our members and guests are key and we are really pleased to be able to offer this 12-month status extension in addition to the Status Credit gift. We hope it gives them some peace of mind,” said Virgin.

Are you worried about losing your loyalty member status, or is it the last thing on your mind right now?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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