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We’re all looking forward to putting COVID-19 behind us, and that includes major U.S. airlines. The airline industry has been battered by border closures, flight restrictions, state-at-home orders and an unprecedented decrease in demand.

However, they’re already looking to the future to make sure their most frequent flyers feel appreciated once it’s safe to take to the skies. With the exception of JetBlue, all major U.S. airlines have mapped out what flyers with elite status can anticipate in the near future. Here, a summary of key details by airline program.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan® elite status extension

Whether MVP, MVP Gold, or MVP Gold 75K, according to Alaska Airlines, “your current Mileage Plan status will be extended through December 31, 2021.” The airline notes that “tier qualification requirements are not being adjusted at this time, but look for more information over the coming weeks on ways you can earn additional elite-qualifying miles this year.” Also, “members who enrolled in a status match challenge between December 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020 will have their trial status extended through the end of 2021.”

American Airlines AAdvantage® elite status extension

Whether AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, Platinum or Gold, American Airlines says that “if your current elite status expires on January 31, 2021, [it will be] automatically extend it until January 31, 2022.” Looking ahead, “You’ll be able to qualify for a higher elite status in 2020 with lower Elite Qualifying Dollar (EQD), Elite Qualifying Mile (EQM) and Elite Qualifying Segment (EQS) requirements.” In addition, “For all eligible Citi® / AAdvantage® and AAdvantage® Aviator credit card products, as well as select AAdvantage® credit cards outside the U.S., every dollar spent on net purchases that post to your AAdvantage account between May 2020 and December 2020 will count as one mile toward Million Miler status.”

Delta Airlines SkyMiles® elite status extension

According to Delta Airlines, whether Diamond, Platinum, Gold, and Silver, “your current Medallion Status will automatically be extended through 2021 whether or not you requalify.” In addition, “all of your 2020 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) will be rolled over in 2021. If you are enrolled in Status promotions, you will also receive additional flexibility to complete those requirements.”

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® elite status extension

Southwest is the latest major U.S. carrier to update its policies. The airline has stated that “for current A-List and A-List Preferred Members, we are extending your current earned status through December 31, 2021. For our current Companion Pass Members, we are extending your current earned Companion Pass benefits through June 30, 2021. For all Rapid Rewards Members, we recognize that your normal flying behavior has been interrupted, limiting progress you may have been making toward qualification for A-List, A-List Preferred, and Companion Pass. For that reason, we are giving all Rapid Rewards Members a ‘boost’ of 15,000 tier qualifying points and 10 flight credits toward A-List and A-List Preferred status, and 25,000 Companion Pass qualifying points and 25 flight credits toward Companion Pass status.”

United Airlines Mileage Plus® elite status extension

Whether 1K, Platinum, Gold or Silver, United Airlines says that “if you have current 2020 Premier status, it will be extended to January 31, 2022.” You will also have the chance to up your status in 2021 since “for the 2021 status year, United is reducing thresholds for Premier qualification by 50% for each status level, to make reaching an even higher tier easier.” In addition, “[United will] be making it easier to earn status in 2021 for the 2022 program year.” These details will be revealed by late 2020.

Thankfully, there’s no need to call the airlines to get these elite extensions. All are automatic, albeit on different timelines. For example, Alaska Airlines’ extension will be updated at the end of 2020 while American Airline’s elite extensions into early 2022 will be visible by May 15, 2020. In any case, let’s hope that we are able to start enjoying elite perks sooner rather than later!

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Award-winning travel writer and economist Paul Rubio is a credit card enthusiast, whose sophisticated use of points and rewards has helped him travel to 132 countries for free. Paul is a Harvard graduate with a master’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in economics. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University with a double major in economics and environmental policy and a minor in conservation biology. He attended both undergraduate and graduate schools on full scholarships. Paul worked in the field of wildlife conservation before embracing his writing talents full-time in 2008. Since then, he has won more than two dozen national awards for his exemplary work in travel journalism. The prolific writer contributes to a number of top-tier international, national, and regional publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Florida Design,, Palm Beach Illustrated, and Robb Report.