Companies Extend Loyalty Programs In Wake Of COVID-19

Delta Airlines, Hilton, Choice Hotels and Starbucks are among the brands that are reassuring customers in their loyalty programs not to be concerned about expiring benefits. 

Starbucks sent an email to loyalty members today reminding them that the company is “pressing pause on expiring Stars” for its Starbucks Rewards members. The company sent a similar email March 17. The email today has the subject line “We’re still here for you” and reminds customers that the brand wants “to safely provide you a moment of respite and normalcy should you need it.”

It also reassures loyalty members not to worry about expiring benefits. 

“We recognize the current environment may limit your ability to redeem your Stars,” the company wrote to customers. “Therefore, we will delay the expiration of all Stars scheduled to expire between now and June 1.”



Starbucks has a dedicated webpage with information on what the company is doing in reaction to the pandemic.

Airlines and hotels are being hit hard by COVID-19, since most experts are advising against travel. 

Hilton emailed its Honors program members on March 25 alerting them to extensions on expiring points. 

All members whose 2019 status was scheduled to be downgraded on March 31, 2020—whether it’s Diamond, Gold or Silver—will automatically receive an extension through March 31, 2021. The brand also is extending 2020 member status through March 31, 2022.

The hotel brand is also pausing the expiration of all points scheduled to expire between now and Dec. 31. Also extended is the expiration date of all unexpired Weekend Night Rewards as of March 11, and all new ones issued until Aug. 30, through the end of next summer (Aug. 31, 2021).

Choice Hotels is offering an enhanced cancellation policy and has paused points expiration for members of its loyalty program Choice Privileges. The hotel chain also is offering special hotel rates to volunteers and doctors, nurses, paramedics and other Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.

Delta Air Lines has not announced whether frequent flyers who have achieved Diamond, Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion status will receive an extension to maintain their status for 2021. But a travel blogger reports that an agent on the Delta Diamond Medallion customer service line said the airline is working on a solution for extending status, at least for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian is emailing customers weekly with updates of what the airline is doing in reaction to COVID-19. The airline also updates a dedicated webpage with information. 

Delta SkyMiles don’t expire, but e-certificates for free companion travel, which are obtained by participating in certain Delta credit cards, do have a “must-use-by” date. The airline emailed loyalty members to alert them that companion vouchers, regional upgrade certificates, global upgrade certificates and $200 vouchers set to expire before June 30 are extended until Dec. 31.

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