You’re a Platinum or Gold frequent flyer with Qantas or Virgin Australia. And while you’re enjoying the perks which come with your status, it turns out that you simply haven't done enough flying over the 12 months of your membership to keep that shiny card for the coming year.
Fear not: you won't immediately be kicked all the way to the lowest slot on the frequent flyer food chain. Welcome to the wonderful world of the ‘soft landing’.
How 'soft landings' work
In the frequent flyer schemes of both Qantas and Virgin Australia, travellers who don’t chalk up the necessary number of status credits to retain their current frequent flyer level just move down to the next rung on the ladder: so Platinums step down to Gold, and Golds shuffle down to Silver.
(Bad news for status-lacking Silvers, however: you're headed to entry-level Qantas Bronze or Velocity Red, which are both entitlement-free zones.)
This applies no matter how few status credits you actually earn during that preceding 12 months.
In the case of Qantas, which has top tier known as Platinum One, members who fail to fly often enough fall back to Platinum.
Sometimes you’ll even retain your current high status for another year, gratis, rather than be bumped down a notch.
Qantas has been known to give frequent flyers a one-year period of grace so they can stay at their current level, although it’s not something you should ever count on: if you definitely want to keep your status, you should keep flying.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.