With air travel worldwide coming to a virtual stop, airlines first reaction has been (understandably) to adjust their capacity to barebone operations (like Cathay Pacific), or even to complete shut-off mode (like Austrian or Brussels Airlines) in order to preserve their cash flow and financial viability.
During this past week there’s been a second wave of reactions regarding the airline’s elite members and what the implications of the COVID19 pandemic are on their requalification processes.
In the past few days Flying Blue (access here), Qantas (access here), Aeroflot (access here), Westjet (access here) and Virgin Australia (access here) have announced status extensions and/or change on requalification thresholds. And what about American Airlines? Well, according to Kurt Stache, their Senior Vice President of Customer Experience, they’re thinking about it…
American Airlines released yesterday a video statement delivered by Mr. Stache where he briefly addresses this issue, among others like reservations and lounges. Check Mr. Stache’s statement (elite requalification is mentioned from 00:30 to 00:55 mark):
American Airlines seems to be scrambling on this issue. It is not really that complicated: either you lower your requalification thresholds or you extend the current elite status until 2022 (and this also goes for all the other airlines that are silent about this subject!)
There is some particular language on Mr. Stache’s statement, elite members will be recognized by their “sustained loyalty”. Does this mean American is considering factoring in the member’s elite history with them?