You’re a Platinum, Gold or Silver-class frequent flyer with Qantas or Virgin Australia.
And while you’ve been enjoying the perks of your status, you’ve simply not done enough flying over the 12 months of your membership to keep that shiny card for the coming year.
Fear not: you won't be kicked all the way to the lowest slot on the frequent flyer food chain.
Welcome to the ‘soft landing’. If you’re new to business travel, it’s a pleasing and very welcome surprise.
How 'soft landings' work
With 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 a top tier known as Platinum One, members who fail to fly often enough fall back to Platinum.
(Note that it takes fewer status credits to retain a level of membership than to initially reach it. For example, flying with Qantas you’ll need to earn 700 status credits in a 12 month period to reach Gold but only 600 to retain that status.)
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.
Our Business Travel Basics series of articles is designed to give newcomers an introduction to the world of the frequent flyer.
Get the latest updates for business traveller and frequent flyers: follow @AusBT on Twitter.
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.