It was a good week for loyalty members at Delta Air Lines. Early in the week, the Atlanta-based carrier kicked off a program called Reclaim My Status, which allows frequent flyers who took a break from travel due to a major life-changing event to fast-track their way back to their former status level.

Through the program, when a SkyMiles member takes a major break from travel after the birth of a child or a major medical issue, it’s now easier to step back into the flow of elite travel.

No tier of elite status is exempt from the program, but it’s handled on a case-by-case basis depending on the life event. Once a traveler signs up, Delta immediately grants status and then extends a sort of challenge to the flyer to ensure that he or she can keep up with the level of flying that’s typical of that tier. After a three-month trial, the status locks into a longer extension that includes the remainder of the year in which the trial was successfully completed and the year after that.

In launching Reclaim My Status, Delta becomes the first U.S. legacy carrier to creatively extend an olive branch to frequent flyers who have to take a break at some point — whether it’s due to family issues or other milestones in life. The effort will do wonders for engendering long-term loyalty within the SkyMiles program, which was once written off by many frequent flyers as too stingy.

— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor

Skift Stories and More Expert Insight

Choice Hotels Looks to High-End Travelers to Boost Revenue: Choice Hotels plans to shift its focus toward higher-end lodgings in a bid to attract upscale business travelers.

Delta to Make It Easier to Keep Elite Status After a Major Life Event: Elite frequent flyer status determines where road warriors sit on the airplane, how much legroom they have, whether they have to pay for food or drink, and how long they wait to speak with an agent when they need rebooking.

Airlines Take Notice of Millennials With New Strategies: Millennials don’t always want to go on vacation to places their parents like to visit. Airlines are starting to take notice.

British Airways Parent Isn’t Interested in Buying Thomas Cook’s Airlines: International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, isn’t going to take part in the bidding battle for Thomas Cook’s airline operations.

Low-Cost Airline IndiGo Shows No Sign of Slowing Down Its Expansion: IndiGo is in talks with Airbus SE for another large plane order in a sign Asia’s biggest budget carrier has no intention of letting up on a blistering pace of expansion.

Hate Paying for Internet at 35,000 Feet? Delta to Test Free In-Flight Wi-Fi: Delta Air Lines plans to offer free Wi-Fi on select flights beginning May 13, the first step in a test to determine whether it will become the second major U.S. airline to offer free in-flight internet service.

Subscribe to Skift’s Free Business of Loyalty Newsletter

Grant Martin [gm@skift.com] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. He is director of product marketing at TripActions. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.

Photo Credit: This week Delta Air Lines launched Reclaim My Status, a sweeping policy that extends elite status to those frequent flyers taking a break due to a major life event. Delta Air Lines