Qantas has launched a new initiative to help its frequent flyers keep the benefits of their membership status while on parental leave.
Previously, Silver, Gold and Platinum Frequent Flyers would often see their status drop when they took time out to raise a child if they were not flying as frequently as they used to.
From today, the "status hold" initiative lets eligible frequent flyers keep their status for up to 18 months, even if they are not earning the number of status credits usually required to retain that tier. These members will also continue to enjoy their existing tier benefits, which may include lounge access, bonus points offers and preferred seating options.
The new moves have been prompted by feedback from members, said Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce who hosted a a reception for travel trade, business and government representatives in Auckland last night.
"A new addition to a family is an exciting time, so this initiative means new parents don't have to worry about losing their hard earned membership benefits for up to 18 months," he said.
"We recognise that all families are a bit different, so status hold will apply to men and women and those welcoming a foster or adopted child."
The airline is consolidating its presence in New Zealand with its subsidiary Jetstar expanding into the regions in the last five months and a partnership with American Airlines to launch direct flights between Auckland and Los Angeles around the middle of the year.
In addition to the launch of the initiative for parents, the airline has increased its family transfer points limit and removed the restriction on the number of transfers. Members can now make an unlimited number of transfers to eligible family members up to 600,000 Qantas Points each year, compared to 400,000 previously.