Qantas changes expiry on COVID-19 flight credits – with a catch
Qantas and Jetstar customers have another year to use their COVID-19 flight credits – but there's a catch.
Customers were given flight credits over the past three years due to the upheaval of constantly changing border closures and COVID-19 cases.
Travellers with Qantas and its budget airline Jetstar previously had to book and complete their trips by December 31 this year.
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But today, the airline announced a slight change to allow customers more time to plan the trip.
Now, customers who have flight credit can book flights to complete until December 31, 2024, however, they have to book the flights by December 31 this year.
For example, customers could book a flight for August next year but would need to forward plan and book it by the end of this year.
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Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Markus Svensson said the change was made to make it easier for customers who were frustrated by flight cancellations and border closures over the past three years to use their credit.
"We literally had millions of bookings that were cancelled during several waves of lockdowns and border closures," he said.
"No airline had systems that were designed to manage that in a seamless way and we realise there's been frustration for some customers as a result.
"Our main goal is for everyone who has a COVID credit to be able to put it to good use, which is why we're doing one final extension of the travel expiry date by 12 months.
"Whether it's for a domestic flight in Australia or internationally, this year or next, the extension of the travel date really opens up more opportunities for our customers to plan their next trip."
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Credit can be used on sale fares, frequent flyer flight promotions, and full-fare flights.
Qantas claims more than $2 billion worth of flight credits were racked up during the pandemic.
There is still $800 million worth of flight credits remaining for flight cancellations and customer cancellations.
Most of the credit held by customers is for less than $500, Qantas revealed.
It comes as Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) data revealed complaints about Qantas and Jetstar have soared.
New data showed the ACCC was contacted nearly 1740 times over the 2021-2022 financial year, more than any other airline, and 68 per cent up on the previous year.
Leading complaints included issues related to refunds and flight credits related to flights cancelled due to pandemic travel restrictions, and delayed and cancelled flights in mid-2022.
Complaints to the consumer watchdog involving Jetstar declined 33 per cent from 2020-21 to 544.
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