What Will Happen to My Elite Status and Points Because of the Coronavirus?

Limited travel due to the coronavirus prompts airline and hotel rewards programs to make policy changes.

U.S. News & World Report

What Will Happen to My Elite Status?

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Airlines and hotels are updating their rewards programs to be more lenient with points expiration and status since much of worldwide travel is on hold during the coronavirus outbreak.(Getty Images)

The fallout from the coronavirus continues to leave its mark on the travel industry. While frequent travelers were initially stressed about canceled flights, now they must also worry about maintaining their status and accruals in hotel and airline rewards programs at a time when travel is discouraged.

Most hotel rewards programs have extended points expiration dates. However, many travel companies are leaving their loyalty program policies vague, with some choosing to delay announcing updates to elite status requirements until more information is available about the coronavirus. At the time of publication, most major U.S. airlines have not announced any changes to their rewards programs' elite status requirements, as many carriers are hoping to better understand the scope of the virus' impact before updating their loyalty program policies.

Below are the most recent policy updates for the top U.S. hotel and airline rewards programs:

Hotel Rewards Programs

Marriott Bonvoy
Marriott Bonvoy has paused points expiration until Aug. 31, 2020. The rewards program has also extended the expiration of Suite Night Awards by one year to Dec. 31, 2021. Members who have a free night award expiring in 2020 will be able to use it through Jan. 31, 2021. Changes regarding elite status requirements have yet to be announced.

Wyndham Rewards
Wyndham Rewards points scheduled to expire before May 31, 2020, will have their expiration paused. Additionally, current Gold, Platinum and Diamond members from impacted areas in Asia will have their status extended through the end of 2021. Elite status requirements for members from other areas for 2021 will be updated, but the new elite tier qualifications have yet to be announced.

World of Hyatt
Forfeiture of World of Hyatt points will be suspended through May 31, 2020. Changes to the points redemption rates, which were scheduled to fall within peak and off-peak categories starting March 22, 2020, will be postponed until 2021. Members who booked a stay with points will receive a points reimbursement in their accounts three to five business days after canceling a reservation. Elite tier statuses and award expiration dates have been extended for qualifying members in the Asia Pacific region, but similar revisions for members from other areas have yet to be announced.

Choice Privileges
Points expiration for Choice Privileges members is paused until May 31, 2020. Changes regarding elite status requirements have yet to be announced.

Best Western Rewards
Best Western Rewards points do not expire. Best Western Rewards members who booked a stay with points will receive a points refund in their accounts after canceling a reservation. All members will maintain their current status through Jan. 31, 2022. Members who downgraded a tier at the end of 2019 will receive their previous tier status through Jan. 31, 2022.

IHG Rewards Club
The number of IHG Rewards Club points required to reach each status has decreased by 25% or more for 2020. Gold Elite members must accrue 7,000 qualifying points (down from 10,000), Platinum Elite members must collect 30,000 qualifying points (down from 40,000) and Spire Elite members must earn 55,000 qualifying points (down from 75,000). Additional changes to the IHG Rewards Club program have been made for members based in the Greater China region. Changes regarding points expiration have yet to be announced.

Radisson Rewards
Points expiration for all Radisson Rewards members has been extended by six months, effective March 1, 2020. Additionally, members whose elite statuses would have expired in February 2021, will now have their statuses extended through Feb. 28, 2022.

INVITED
No changes have been announced for Small Luxury Hotels of the World's INVITED program at the time of publication.

Sonesta Travel Pass
No changes have been announced for the Sonesta Travel Pass program at the time of publication.

Hilton Honors
Expiration dates have been paused for all Hilton Honors points scheduled to expire between March 16 and December 31, 2020. What's more, U.S. members with a Hilton Honors credit card from American Express will have the expiration date of all Weekend Night Rewards (including new awards issued until Aug. 30, 2020) extended to Aug. 31, 2021. All Hilton Honors members whose 2019 status was scheduled to be downgraded on March 31, 2020, will have their status extended through March 31, 2021. Additionally, Hilton Honors members' 2020 statuses will be extended through March 31, 2022.

Stash Hotel Rewards
Stash Hotel Rewards points do not expire. Members who booked a stay with points will receive a full points refund after canceling a reservation.

Leaders Club
New and existing Leaders Club members with scheduled stays at Leading Hotels of the World properties through June 30, 2020, will receive a Leaders Club point credit equal to the value of their canceled stay for hotels that are unable to issue a refund or hotel credit. Also, members who have accounts expiring before June 30, 2020, will have their membership automatically extended for free to July 31, 2020. Changes regarding elite status requirements have yet to be announced.

Omni Select Guest
According to an Omni Hotels & Resorts representative, Omni Select Guest members with canceled free nights that have expired can have their free nights rebooked through the member service team. Free night certificates with booking expiration dates of March 31 or April 30, 2020, will be extended 90 days. Additionally, elite status downgrades will not be made for 2020.

ALL - Accor Live Limitless
Members of Accor's rewards program will have 50% of the status nights and points required to achieve their current status credited to their account. Changes regarding points expiration have yet to be announced.

I Prefer Hotel Rewards
Points expiration for all I Prefer Hotel Rewards members has been extended through Aug. 31, 2020. Additionally, members will maintain their current status through June 30, 2021.

Airline Rewards Programs

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Tickets purchased with miles that fall within the airline's flexible travel policies will be deposited back into your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account in 24 to 48 hours. Changes regarding miles expiration and elite status requirements have yet to be announced at the time of publication.

Delta SkyMiles
Delta SkyMiles miles do not expire. Members who bought award flights that qualify for a change fee waiver, including those scheduled for March and April 2020 and those purchased in March 2020, will have their miles redeposited into their accounts for free. Changes regarding elite status requirements have yet to be announced at the time of publication.

JetBlue TrueBlue
JetBlue TrueBlue points do not expire. If a flight booked with points is canceled due to coronavirus concerns, JetBlue will credit the points back to the JetBlue TrueBlue member's account. No changes for the JetBlue TrueBlue program have been announced at the time of publication.

United MileagePlus
United MileagePlus miles do not expire. No changes for the United MileagePlus program have been announced at the time of publication.

American Airlines AAdvantage
No changes for the American Airlines AAdvantage program have been announced at the time of publication.

Southwest Rapid Rewards
Southwest Rapid Rewards points do not expire. No changes for the Southwest Rapid Rewards program have been announced at the time of publication.

FRONTIER Miles
FRONTIER Miles members who booked flights with miles must submit a form online to receive reimbursement. FRONTIER Miles accounts set to expire on or before April 30, 2020, will remain active. Changes regarding miles expiration and elite status requirements have yet to be announced.

HawaiianMiles
HawaiianMiles rewards miles will not expire between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. Additionally, Premier Club members enrolled as of March 19, 2020, will have their membership extended by three months. Elite status requirements for 2021 will be updated, but the new elite tier qualifications have yet to be announced.

Free Spirit
No changes for the Free Spirit program have been announced at the time of publication.

Updated on March 25, 2020: This piece has been updated with the latest info from hotel and airlines.

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