As airlines around the world scramble to deal with the new reality brought about by the widespread COVID-19 outbreak with massive cuts in flight schedules, heightened cleaning and disinfecting practices along with reduced onboard offerings for whatever remaining flights that are still in operation, some carriers have taken the initiative to make updates to give their most loyal customers greater peace of mind.

Alaska Airlines is the latest major carrier in the United States to report it is extending the elite status of its most loyal frequent flyers. Alaska Airlines is reassuring customers that their current Mileage Plan status will be extended through December 31, 2021. All their usual tier benefits will apply 2021, including things like confirmed upgrade vouchers for MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members.

However, keep in mind the 50,000 bonus miles associated with earned MVP Gold 75K status will not be awarded again next year. In the near future, Alaska Airlines will illustrate how MVP Gold 75K members can earn extra bonus miles for travel this year. Alaska Airlines is reminding its customers to keep their eyes peeled for even more benefits as the carrier inches toward its joining of the oneworld alliance next summer.

Additionally, the carrier will also be extending the expiry dates of all companion certificates poised to expire this year. Customers holding these companion certificates will have until December 31 of this year to book new travel through November 21, 2021.

Those who have signed up for a status match challenge between December 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020 don't have to fret. Your trial status will be extended through the end of 2021.

Alaska Airlines is not the first carrier to make these welcome customer-friendly changes. Delta Air Lines led the pack by first announcing the carrier will roll out measures to extend the benefits its Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members deserve and enjoy. The Atlanta-based carrier is also extending the expiration dates for SkyMiles Members who have Upgrade Certificates or $200 Travel Vouchers that they have yet to use. SkyMiles Select members will also get to enjoy an extension to the Priority Boarding benefit and any unused drink vouchers they may have.

Shortly after Delta made its move, United Airlines followed suit by declaring that the Chicago-based carrier is also extending the current Premier elite status of MileagePlus frequent flyer members through the end of January 2022. At this time, American Airlines has yet to make similar updates to its Aadvantage frequent flyer program.

Other major carriers with similar plans include Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Air Canada. In view of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore Airlines had earlier announced it will renew KrisFlyer Elite Silver and Gold memberships for one membership year. The Singapore-based carrier is also extending Elite Gold Rewards poised to expire between July and December 2020 to be valid till March 31, 2021.

Qantas will hold your status in place for an extra 12 months. That means that all Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One statuses are being frozen in place if your membership year anniversary date falls between March 2020 and February 2021. Your perks are protected even if you don't fly for a while.

Closer to home, Air Canada is rolling out automatic extension of all Altitude status for 2020 through the end of 2021. Should an Air Canada Altitude customer attain a higher status before 2020 comes to a close, he or she will enjoy the higher status upon qualification, and maintain the higher status through 2021, too.

That's not all, Air Canada has also implemented a temporary pause to the expiration of Aeroplan Miles. Between now and May 14, 2020, any Aeroplan Miles which would have expired will not be expiring. While the Canadian airline did mention that its normal expiration policy will apply once May 15 rolls around, this date could be pushed further if the COVID-19 situation remains a thorn in the flesh.

Denise Bay is a staff writer at Email: