fitness

Qantas launches Frequent Flyer initiative to ensure fairness for new parents.

Taking parental leave has historically been met with an array of disadvantages.

In the legal profession, taking time off after having a baby has been described as the ‘kiss of death’, because success and promotions are often determined by ‘billable hours’ – a business model that inherently gives the upper hand to those who don’t take time off for child-rearing.

For a long time, frequent flyer points schemes have actually worked in a similar way.

Your frequent flyer status is determined by the number of credits you’ve earned from flying. But – and for parents, this is a big but – you have to earn a certain number of credits every year to maintain your status.

Frequent flyer programs inherently disadvantage new parents. Image via iStock.

This is a problem for mums or dads who take time out to raise a child, and aren't flying as frequently as they used to. Taking parental leave would then result in a drop in frequent flyer status.

But from today, this might not be the case if you're a Qantas Frequent Flyer.

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Qantas has launched 'Parental Pause', a new initiative designed to ensure that parents keep their membership status while on parental leave. In a statement, Qantas said,

"The Status Hold initiative lets eligible Silver, Gold and Platinum Frequent Flyers keep their status for up to 18 months, even if they are not earning the number of Status Credits usually required to retain that tier. These members will also continue to enjoy their existing tier benefits, which may include lounge access, bonus points offers and preferred seating options."

In addition, Qantas has changed its policy on Family Transfers. While there used to be a limited number of Family Transfer points, and a restriction on the number of transfers, the press release today stated:

"Members can now make an unlimited number of transfers to eligible family members up to 600,000 Qantas Points each year, compared to 400,000 previously."

Qantas Loyalty CEO Lesley Grant said the initiative was inspired by feedback from frequent flyer members, who requested more flexibility from their membership while they were taking parental leave.

 “The Qantas Frequent Flyer program is about rewarding loyalty and someone’s Silver, Gold or Platinum status is a symbol of the loyalty they’ve shown Qantas over the years so we really want to recognise that,” Ms Grant said.

“Status Hold is designed to suit their evolving lifestyle and family needs. A new addition to a family is an exciting time, so this initiative means new parents don’t have to worry about losing their hard earned membership benefits for up to 18 months."

Ms Grant also confirmed that Status Hold is available to different types of families.

“We recognise that all families are a bit different, so Status Hold will apply to men and women and those welcoming a foster or adopted child,” she said.

The changes are the most recent addition to the many family-friendly programs promoted by the airline.

Such initiatives include Qantas 'Joey Club' (a frequent flyer club for kids under 10), and their inclusion of Family Zones in Qantas Lounges.

We hope not only that other airlines follow suit, but that this move will encourage more businesses to consider how their policies and practices might inadvertently disadvantage parents.

Full details on eligibility and how to apply for Parental Pause can be found here

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