Virgin Atlantic has announced a fifth extension to tier status benefits within its Flying Club programme.

The airline is offering an extra six months for Gold and Silver members to maintain their tier status “in recognition of the continued impact of Covid-19… on its customers’ ability to fly, particularly to the US”.

In addition the validity of rewards including Companion, Upgrade and Clubhouse vouchers will also be extended.

Last year it  applied two sets of six month extensions, and added two three-month extensions in February and May 2021. In total, members will have been given an extra two years to maintain their tier status and redeem various benefits.

The changes have been automatically applied to members accounts, so customers will not need to contact the airline to update their status. Members will be able to download or print their digital membership card from the airline’s website or app.

Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented:

“With travel to the US still facing restrictions, we wanted to offer continued flexibility as our customers make plans to travel in 2021 and beyond.  I’m delighted we can continue to offer our customers reassurance and flexibility with a further six month status extension.

“It’s now essential that the reopening of the transatlantic corridor is not delayed any further. President Biden has a clear opportunity to reciprocate and safely ease restrictions for fully vaccinated UK citizens, helping loved ones to reunite and businesses to restore ties with the US, our largest trading partner.”

Members of Virgin’s Flying Club can also now join Virgin Red and link their accounts together, expanding earn and burn opportunities.

The move follows a number of changes made to the carrier’s booking policies, including unlimited free-of charge changes to travel dates, origin or destination up until April 30, 2023, for bookings made by April 30, 2022.

Meanwhile, the airline recently announced plans to introduce a second configuration for its A350 aircraft, which it says is “designed specifically with the airline’s leisure customers in mind”.