U.S. airlines ease loyalty programs in coronavirus travel slump

By Tracy Rucinski

(Reuters) – U.S. airlines are extending loyalty program benefits and status into 2021 for members homebound because of the new coronavirus.

Business and leisure travel have virtually ground to a halt worldwide, forcing airlines to drastically reduce flying schedules and ground their jets. Before the pandemic, carriers had been actively courting business or first-class travelers in particular to boost revenue as competition intensified.

United Airlines Holdings Inc <UAL.O> is extending current members’ MileagePlus Premier status through January 2022, reducing thresholds for Premier qualification by 50%, offering more credit card points and making it easier to upgrade seating.

Delta Air Lines Inc <DAL.N> is extending its SkyMiles Medallion Members’ status as well as the expiration dates for upgrade certificates and travel vouchers.

American Airlines Group Inc <AAL.O> on Monday had no updates on its elite program, but said it was continuing to assess the situation.

Airlines are also

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