What Will Happen to My Elite Status and Points Because of the Coronavirus?2020-11-09
Limited travel due to the coronavirus prompts airline and hotel rewards programs to make policy changes.
THE FALLOUT FROM THE coronavirus continues to leave its mark on the travel industry. While frequent travelers were initially stressed about canceled flights, now they must also worry about maintaining their status and accruals in hotel and airline rewards programs at a time when travel is discouraged. Most hotel rewards programs have extended points expiration dates. However, many travel companies are continuing to make updates to elite status requirements as the situation develops.
Below are the most recent policy updates for the top U.S. hotel and airline rewards programs:
Hotel Rewards Programs
Marriott Bonvoy has paused points expiration until Aug. 1, 2021. The rewards program has also extended the expiration of Suite Night Awards by one year to Dec. 31, 2021. Members who have a free night award expiring in 2020, or an award that expires before July 31, 2021, will be able to use it through Aug. 1, 2021. Additionally, all elite statuses earned in 2019 will be valid through Feb. 1, 2022.
Wyndham Rewards has paused points expiration for all members until Dec. 31, 2020. Additionally, the number of qualifying nights required to reach each level of elite status has been reduced by 40% for 2020. Current Gold, Platinum and Diamond members will have their elite status extended through Dec. 31, 2021.
World of Hyatt
Forfeiture of World of Hyatt points will be suspended through June 30, 2021. Changes to the points redemption rates, which were scheduled to fall within peak and off-peak categories starting March 22, 2020, will be postponed until July 2021. Members who booked a stay with points will receive a points reimbursement in their accounts three to five business days after canceling a reservation. All Free Night, Suite Upgrade and Club Lounge Access awards with expiration dates between March 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, have had their expiration dates extended to Dec. 31, 2021. Additionally, all elite statuses as of March 31, 2020, are extended to Feb. 28, 2022.
Points expiration for Choice Privileges members is paused through Dec. 31, 2020. Members who achieved Gold or Platinum status as of May 20, 2020, will be automatically upgraded to the next membership tier through Dec. 31, 2020. Additionally, members can maintain their status by staying five nights at Choice hotels between June 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. Members with Diamond status as of May 20, 2020, will maintain their status through Dec. 31, 2021.
Best Western Rewards
Best Western Rewards points do not expire. Best Western Rewards members who booked a stay with points will receive a points refund in their accounts after canceling a reservation. All members will maintain their current status through Jan. 31, 2022. Members who downgraded a tier at the end of 2019 will receive their previous tier status through Jan. 31, 2022.
IHG Rewards Club
Any IHG Rewards Club member who earned status during 2019 will automatically have that status extended through January 2022. The number of IHG Rewards Club points required to reach each status has decreased by 25% or more for 2020. Gold Elite members must accrue 7,000 qualifying points (down from 10,000), Platinum Elite members must collect 30,000 qualifying points (down from 40,000) and Spire Elite members must earn 55,000 qualifying points (down from 75,000). Points set to expire after April 1, 2020, will remain valid until Dec. 31, 2020. These points traditionally expire after 12 months of inactivity, while the points of elite status members never expire.
Radisson Rewards points set to expire between March 1, 2020, and March 30, 2021, will now expire March 31, 2021. Accounts and their associated points still expire after two years of inactivity. Additionally, members’ elite statuses from 2020 have been extended through Feb. 28, 2022. All eligible nights and stays earned in 2020 will roll over to 2021 and apply to elite status thresholds for 2022.
No changes have been announced for Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s INVITED program at the time of publication.
Sonesta Travel Pass
Elite statuses for all Sonesta Travel Pass program members have been extended through Dec. 31, 2021. Members still forfeit all points after 24 months of inactivity.
Expiration dates have been paused for all Hilton Honors points until Dec. 31, 2021. Elite status qualification requirements have been decreased by 50% for all tiers, and all 2020 nights will roll over to help meet the 2021 requirements. Additionally, the thresholds for bonus nights and gifting status nights have been reduced by 50%. Silver, Gold and Diamond members that were set to be downgraded in 2020 or 2021 will maintain their current status until March 31, 2022.
Stash Hotel Rewards
Stash Hotel Rewards points do not expire. Members who booked a stay with points will receive a full points refund after canceling a reservation.
New and existing Leaders Club members with scheduled stays at Leading Hotels of the World properties through Dec. 31, 2020, will receive a Leaders Club points credit equal to the value of their canceled stay for hotels unable to issue a refund or hotel credit. Also, all members will have their memberships extended for free through June 30, 2021.
Omni Select Guest
According to an Omni Hotels & Resorts representative, Omni Select Guest members with canceled free nights that have expired can have their free nights rebooked through the member service team. Free night certificates with booking expiration dates between March and May 2020 were extended three months. Additionally, elite status downgrades will not be made for 2020 and statuses achieved in 2019 will be extended through the end of 2021.
ALL – Accor Live Limitless
Expiration dates for all rewards points in Accor’s rewards program have been paused through Dec. 15, 2020, and any suite night upgrades that have not been used as of Dec. 31, 2020, will have their expiration dates extended one year. Additionally, all status nights and points earned between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, will be rolled over so members can more easily qualify for elite status in 2022. Current ALL – Accor Live Limitless members will also have the status they earned in 2019 extended to Dec. 31, 2021.
I Prefer Hotel Rewards
Points expiration for all I Prefer Hotel Rewards members has been extended through Dec. 31, 2020. Additionally, members will maintain their current status through June 30, 2021.
Airline Rewards Programs
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles expire after two years of account inactivity. Mileage Plan members who purchased tickets with miles and have canceled or will cancel their flights between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, will have the credits reimbursed into their accounts. Those credits will have an extended expiration date of July 5, 2021, for travel through May 31, 2022. Members who earned credits before March 1, 2020, will have their booking expiration dates extended by six months. What’s more, Mileage Plan members will have their elite statuses extended through Dec. 31, 2021. Miles earned between January and April 2020 will be rolled into 2021 to help members requalify for elite status in 2022.
Delta SkyMiles miles do not expire. Members who bought award flights that qualify for a change fee waiver, including all flights purchased through Dec. 31, 2020, will have their miles redeposited into their accounts for free. Members who have upgrade certificates and travel vouchers set to expire between March 1 and June 30, 2020, can now use those certificates and vouchers until Dec. 31, 2020. All upgrade certificates and travel vouchers with expiration dates after June 30, 2020, will have their expiration dates extended for six months. Elite SkyMiles members will also have their 2020 medallion status and medallion qualification miles extended through Jan. 31, 2022. The extended medallion qualification miles will count toward their 2022 status.
JetBlue TrueBlue points do not expire. If a flight booked with points is canceled due to coronavirus concerns, JetBlue will credit the points back to the JetBlue TrueBlue member’s account. Additionally, the threshold to qualify for TrueBlue Mosaic status in 2021 has been reduced by 50%, while current TrueBlue Mosaic members will have their statuses automatically extended through Dec. 31, 2021.
United MileagePlus miles do not expire. Premier qualifying points earned with the United Explorer and United Club credit cards will double and quadruple, respectively, from May 1 to Dec. 31, 2020. Additionally, Platinum and Premier 1K members will receive a six-month extension for any PlusPoints set to expire on or before Jan. 31, 2021. All annual membership and subscription benefits will also be extended by six months. What’s more, MileagePlus members with 2020 Premier status will have their status extended through Jan. 31, 2022, and the threshold to qualify for each elite status in 2021 has been reduced by 50%.
American Airlines AAdvantage
American Airlines AAdvantage miles set to expire on or before Dec. 31, 2020, will now expire on Jan. 1, 2021. Members whose elite statuses expire on Jan. 31, 2021, will have their statuses extended through Jan. 31, 2022. Additionally, the threshold to qualify for each elite status in 2020 has been reduced by up to 50%. All elite qualifying miles, segments and dollars earned from October through December 2020 will count toward the 2021 requirements.
Southwest Rapid Rewards
Southwest Rapid Rewards points do not expire. All Southwest Rapid Rewards members will receive 15,000 tier qualifying points, 10 flight credits toward A-List and A-List Preferred status, 25,000 Companion Pass qualifying points and 25 flight credits toward Companion Pass status. Members with A-List and A-List Preferred status will have their status extended through Dec. 31, 2021, while members with Companion Pass status will have their status extended through June 30, 2021.
The expiration of reward miles for FRONTIER Miles has been paused indefinitely. FRONTIER will send a 90-day communication to all members before resuming expirations. Members who booked flights with miles must submit a form online to receive reimbursement. Existing elite status requirements, which range from 20,000 miles or 25 flight segments for Elite 20k to 100,000 miles or 100 flight segments for Elite 100k, remain valid.
HawaiianMiles rewards miles will not expire between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. Premier Club members enrolled as of September 18, 2020, will have their membership extended by three months (in addition to the previous three-month extensions for Premier Club members in March and June 2020). Pualani Platinum and Gold members will have their elite statuses extended through February 2022. Also, the threshold to qualify for elite status in 2021 has been reduced by 50% for both flight miles and segments.
All Free Spirit miles posted to member accounts as of March 1, 2020, remained valid until Sept. 30, 2020. Existing elite status requirements, which range from 12,000 miles or $1,200 spent on base fares for Elite to 24,000 miles or $2,400 spent on base fares for VIP, remain valid.
Courtesy of USNews