Today I’d like to remind readers of the parental-friendly policies that several frequent flyer programs have in place, offering “newly minted” parents a complimentary one-year status extension.
A range of programs offer parents of a newborn (in some cases adopted) child the opportunity to extend their elite status when handing in respective paperwork such as a birth certificate or maternity leave documents.
Welcoming a child into the family is a major life event, and it’s not rare that travel activity drops considerably, especially during the first year after birth.
I have previously covered this and thought it’s worthwhile to refresh this topic as some airlines underwent changes in regard to their policy.
Many airlines have reacted here and offered their elite members the opportunity to pause/extend their status for a year when relevant official documentation can be provided.
Here is an example of some airlines and their policies:
- Air Canada: Offers a maternity leave program of their Altitude levels.
- Alaska Airlines: Allows members to apply for an elite extension.
- American Airlines: Doesn’t officially have a program but will decide on a case by case basis.
- British Airways: Has an official program, email documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delta Air Lines: Allows members to apply for a SkyMiles elite level extension
- United Airlines: Doesn’t officially have a program but will decide on a case by case basis.
We requested such a status extension from two of the airlines listed here, British Airways (recently) & United (in 2019 when), which in both cases resulted in a successful extension and one more year of “free” elite status.
Here is the reply from British Airways whom you can reach by emailing documentation to email@example.com :
British Airways has an official benefit of two extensions per account lifetime by sending respective documents per email. So, sorry chaps, you won’t be able to extend your status indefinitely by getting a new baby every year. 🙂
Overall, a very simple and easy process to follow with just a few days turnaround time. There is no complicated documentation needed. A simple birth certificate is enough. Most registrars offer international documents these days, even in countries like Germany.
By the way: If you’re someone who lives abroad or needs the child’s birth certificate for any official business, I can strongly recommend getting an apostille from your local authority on it as long as it’s still fresh. It’ll save you lots of running around at a later time.
Interestingly, Lufthansa discontinued its very own “parental leave of absence” program several years ago without replacement. I wonder what caused them to do that given the fact that with all the status matches (such as Alitalia) around, LH status is often given away for free.
The option to extend your status for one year on a complimentary basis is a very neat and generous benefit provided by some of these frequent flyer programs. Unfortunately, none of the hotel programs we researched offers such a policy, but it has been known that some agreed to extend hotel status in life-threatening events such as medical treatment.
The British Airways program has worked very well. Keep in mind that you’re only able to use the extension option twice per account lifetime. If you’re planning to have a big family, you might just as well consider opening a new account at some point.
Have you made use of a parental status extension before?