The catch: it's only in Australia.

By Nikki Ekstein
April 18, 2016
Qantas Airline Parental Pause Frequent Flyer Status
Credit: Courtesy of Qantas Airways Limited

Australian women already benefit from far better maternity leave laws than American ones do—Down Under, they're guaranteed to be paid for four and a half months—but now they can also procreate without fear of losing their airline loyalty status. Quantas, the largest Australian airline, has just introduced a new program called “Parental Pause,” which lets new parents maintain their silver, gold, or platinum status for up to 18 months, regardless of how much they can travel during that time.

The “Parental Pause” status hold is available to new moms and dads alike—and it also includes adoptive and foster parents. Members are eligible for the program so long as they are welcoming a new addition to their families in the upcoming three months or have done so in the previous six months. For repeat parents, the program is available twice within the span of five years.

Qantas has long looked for innovative ways to cater to families—it also stocks infant meals on its planes and builds kid zones into its airport lounges, for instance. (It does not, however, have flying nannies, which is a real thing on Etihad Airways.) But maternity leave for frequent flier status? In our book, it's a commendable industry first.