As the coronavirus is starting to spread around the world from its base in Wuhan, China, many hotel loyalty programs have already released their elite status waivers for 2020.
Accor Live Limitless, Best Western Rewards, Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy and Shangri-La have all released their waivers/extensions for those members in Greater China and/or Asia-Pacific.
Here are the current waivers:
Accor Live Limitless
Accor is extending member statuses in Greater China (mainland, Hong Kong, Macao & Taiwan) through December 31, 2021.
Best Western Rewards
Best Western will extend loyalty program member tiers globally through January 31, 2021, including those who were just downgraded based on the 2019 activity.
Greater China (mainland, Hong Kong, Macao & Taiwan) members whose status was going to be downgraded on March 31 will have it extended through March 2021, and those that qualified in 2019 will have it until 2022. Points expiry is also waived through the end of 2020.
World of Hyatt
Members in Asia-Pacific, not just in China, will have their status and any outstanding expiring awards extended by a year. Hyatt plans to offer extension for those members that frequently travel to but don’t live in Asia-Pacific
IHG Rewards Club
Elite and Ambassador statuses are extended while points expiry has also been postponed. These changes only affect members in Greater China (mainland, Hong Kong, Macao & Taiwan).
Marriott is extending elite statuses earned by a year until February 2020 for members in Greater China (mainland, Hong Kong, Macao & Taiwan).
Shangri-La has decided to extend all Golden Circle tier status (Diamond & Jade) worldwide through December 31, 2021, due to the on-going coronavirus outbreak.
I would expect all travel loyalty programs to extend their members’ statuses by a year in Greater China if not in Asia-Pacific as a whole.
This pending epidemic, which has already spread to Korea and Italy + number of other countries, will have an effect on the number of trips taken for leisure and business purposes worldwide. It is going to be a very tough year for hotels and airlines and affiliated businesses.
There are estimates that from half of a million up to a million deaths are caused yearly by influenza, especially among folks over 65. There have been just over two thousand deaths in the past couple of months attributed to the coronavirus epidemic.