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Delta, United Extend Loyalty Memberships For Another Year As Coronavirus Pummels Airlines

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Delta, United Extend Loyalty Memberships For Another Year As Coronavirus Pummels Airlines

Airlines have been some of the hardest-hit companies from the COVID-19 pandemic, and many are stepping up to help out their most loyal customers.

Delta, American Take Action

Over the weekend, Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE: DAL) became the first major airline to announce changes to its customer loyalty programs. Delta said that current Delta Medallion members will have their status extended through 2021 regardless of whether or not they meet the travel thresholds. In addition, Delta said all 2020 Medallion Qualification Miles will be rolled over into 2021.

“These are the times that define us all, and I want you to know we are here for you as you adjust to these extraordinary circumstances,” CEO Ed Bastian said in an email to members.

Delta customers will also have all applicable eCredits extended through May 31, 2022. Finally, Delta said Delta Sky Club members will receive an additional six months of membership for free. Delta is also waiving change fees for any trips through May 31, 2022.

Shortly after Delta announced its changes, United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: UAL) followed suit with its own. United is extending all current Premier members through Jan. 31, 2022. United is also lowering the points requirements for each of its loyalty status levels and has pledged to make adjustments to make it easier for customers to reach Premier status in 2021 for 2022.

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Other Major Airlines

So far, American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ: AAL) has not announced any changes to its AAdvantage program, but the company said it is monitoring the situation closely.

Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE: LUV) has also not yet announced changes to its Rapid Rewards program. Southwest was already the only major U.S. airline that does not impose fees for changes or cancellations.

Airline stocks have been hammered so far in 2020 as air travel has slowed to a crawl. Yet Bank of America analyst Andrew Didora said Monday that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for airline stock investors.

“We note that passenger demand in China took about 5-6 weeks to bottom, which means the US could reach a trough by mid-April,” the analyst said.

Benzinga’s Take

Using China as an example, the bottom in demand may not necessarily mean a boom is just around the corner. Air traffic in China remains down 60% from a year ago, and Didora said he is not expecting a bounce back in U.S. bookings anytime soon.

Do you agree with this take? Email feedback@benzinga.com with your thoughts.

Related Links:

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Latest Ratings for DAL

DateFirmActionFromTo
Apr 2020JP MorganMaintainsOverweight
Apr 2020Raymond JamesReiteratesOutperform
Apr 2020Deutsche BankMaintainsBuy

View More Analyst Ratings for DAL
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Posted-In: airlines Andrew Didora Bank of AmericaAnalyst Color News Travel Analyst Ratings General Best of Benzinga

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