Many frequent flyer programs offer soft landings, either officially such as Virgin’s Velocity Rewards or unofficially in the case of Qantas Frequent Flyer. A soft landing is when you drop down to the next status level even if you don’t have the required activity to attain that level. So a typical program might see a Platinum drop to Gold, Gold to Silver and so on. While the two main programs in Australia feature individual program anniversary dates to assess status, many others rely on a calendar year to judge their customers activity.

Hotel programs typically follow this pattern, where qualification occurs during the year, and three months of benefits are given in the following year before assessment. Unfortunately, while hotels may have soft beds, they rarely have soft landings. Come April 1, many of our members were curious to see if a “comp” might be forthcoming, where status is renewed or a complimentary soft landing to the next level down is given despite missing the threshold. Others wondered if their might be a mismatch between their cards and the hotels system

Is the possibility of a status downgrade despite being a cardholder with a 31/03/15 expiry date? In other words can the website trump the card?

Some hotel chains are known for their poor IT systems when it comes to frequent stay programs. Missing points, incorrect points or self cancelling reservations have been known to happen. So anything is possible. With most of those systems based overseas, it’s also important to remember timing, with Australia ahead of the rest of the word we can get a little ahead of ourselves!

Checked today and it still says Diamond. Its still not April-1 in the US of A, so maybe need to check tomorrow?

It seems most frequent flyer/stayer programs consider early April 1 to be a bad choice for changing program status of their members, so a day or two leeway is given. Soon our members started reporting interesting results

And all of a sudden my account shows as Blue, despite the Silver card I received yesterday with a 03/2015 expiry date…I think I might be done with Hilton.

Have you been given a complimentary year of status, or was it a hard landing for you? How will it affect your stays in the future? Join the conversation HERE.

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