US airlines extend loyalty program benefits during COVID-19 crisis

Reuters has reported US airlines are responding to the coronavirus with an extension of loyalty program benefits and status into 2021 for members homebound, the company said.

Business and leisure travel have forced airlines to drastically reduce flying schedules and ground their jets. Before the pandemic, carriers had been actively courting business or first-class travelers in particular to boost revenue as competition intensified.

United Airlines Holdings Inc. (UAL) is extending current members´ MileagePlus Premier status through January 2022, reducing thresholds for Premier qualification by 50%, offering more credit card points and making it easier to upgrade seating.

Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL) is extending its SkyMiles Medallion Members´ status as well as the expiration dates for upgrade certificates and travel vouchers.

Airlines are also offering waivers on change fees, and in some cases refunds, for travel booked in the next month or two. Terms and conditions vary by airline.