Qantas today announced two changes to the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme, to make the program more family friendly. The changes are the introduction of a Status Hold for those on parental leave, and the introduction of more generous limits of Family Transfers.
Status Hold Introduced
Effective immediately, Qantas is introducing a new Status Hold feature to the program. Under the Status Hold, Silver, Gold and Platinum members will be able to put their status on hold for up to 18 months while on parental leave. Note that the Status Hold feature does not extend to the Platinum One level – although in this case, they would still only fall back to the Platinum level.
Even though your status goes on hold, you will still be able to take advantage of the benefits, so in some respects it reflects an extension of status, rather than a pause as such.
In order to be eligible for a Status Hold, the parent will need to be taking at least six months off work. The situations that it covers are:
- A parent of a baby or babies that are due to be born within the next three months or were born in the last six months
- A foster parent who will be caring for a child within the next three months, or has starting caring for child in the last six months
- A parent who will be adopting a child within the next three months, or has adopted a child in the last six months.
During any five year period, a member can make two requests for a Status Hold.
As you would expect with such a program, there are some documentation requirements that will need to be met in order to gain a Status Hold, and these are outlines on the Qantas website. These include a letter from an employer verifying the six month leave, and documentation appropriate to the eligibility criteria.
There are a few cases where a Status Hold does not apply. As mentioned Platinum One members are not eligible. In addition, members that have been gifted status (gold or platinum) are not eligible either.
Full details on eligibility and how to apply can be found here.
The idea of a Status Hold, is similar to a feature that Virgin Australia introduced to its Velocity program several years ago. There are, however, a few differences in the features offered by the two airlines.
For example, under the Virgin program a six month hold is available, after which status is not reassessed for 12 months.
Family Transfer Updates
Qantas has changed the limits on Family Transfers, increasing the annual limit to 600,000 points per year, able to be done in any number of transactions.
Family transfers allow members to move points between the accounts of eligible family members. The transfers between accounts can be done online, and is pretty much instantaneous.
Under the previous rules, you could transfer a maximum of 100,000 points, 4 times per year. That is, the maximum number of points you could transfer in a year is 400,000 points – if you chose to do the maximum transfer each time.