New parents can now elect to pause their Qantas Frequent Flyer membership for up to 18 months. The family-friendly change has been welcomed by our members, but how does it compare to Virgin’s “Membership Pause” policy?
Qantas’ new “Status Hold” is available to new parents, including foster parents, for up to 18 months. During the hold period, eligible members retain all of their regular status benefits, including lounge access. Members can pause their membership twice in any five-year period, but only if they have taken at least six months of parental leave from work. At the end of the hold, the status will expire unless the required number of status credits are earned prior to the end of the 18-month period.
Our members have largely welcomed the changes. They see this as a generous policy that will benefit many people. But some members believe that Qantas is merely copying Virgin Australia’s existing “Membership Pause”. Virgin allows new parents to pause their membership for 6 months. However, the existing status applies for a further year following the end of the pause period. This effectively means that Virgin status can also be held for 18 months. Further, Virgin does not require proof that the member has taken at least six months off work.
Cathay Pacific also happened to announce a similar policy last week. Cathay now allows Marco Polo Club members to put their status on hold for up to a year. However, there are two key differences. While the status hold applies to a range of circumstances, including illness or a change of job, the member does not receive the benefits of their status during the hold.
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