Qantas frequent flyer points expired? Here's how to get them back

By David Flynn, July 3 2019
Qantas frequent flyer points expired? Here's how to get them back

Qantas has a strict use-by date on the frequent flyer points sitting in your account. If your account is inactive for 18 months – that is, if no points are earned or spent in that period – then allof your points disappear in a puff of smoke. Expired. Vanished. Gone.

It's a gotcha which has caught countless Australians, often including the friends, family and colleagues of our readers.

Of course, the ideal scenario is to keep the Qantas Points ticking over in your account so that they don't expire. That's easily done, even without flying – using a Qantas Cash debit card or a Qantas credit card, or buying some wine from the online Qantas Wine store, will all keep your points safe from oblivion.

Read more: five simple ways to stop Qantas Frequent Flyer points from expiring

But, when worse runs to worst and that mountain of Qantas Points is levelled overnight, is there a way to have all your missing points reinstated?

Conventional wisdom, and Qantas policy, says no: they're gone for good.

But Qantas does, in fact, have a little-known mechanism for returning all of your vanished points.

It's almost a secret, and one which the airline doesn't like to talk about – indeed, a Qantas Frequent Flyer spokesperson declined to offer an on-the-record comment to Executive Traveller for this article.

How to recover lost Qantas points

As soon as you discover your points have been wiped due to that 18-month inactivity period, telephone Qantas Frequent Flyer and make your case to have them reinstated, and ask if you're eligible for what's sometimes called the Qantas Points 'challenge'.

Let's set some expectations here. The Qantas Points challenge is not a standing deal available to everybody – it's offered on a case-by-case basis, after assessing factors such as the QFF member's previous travel- and points-earning pattern.

Several Executive Traveller readers have shared their own experience in helping friends or family members get their missing points back, and all outline the same process.

Qantas sets a goal such as earning at least 2,500 points, within a period such as six months – and, let's face it, that's not a hard ask. You can often earn more points than that as a bonus offer buying a half-dozen bottles from Qantas Wine, or paying a few bills with your credit card.

Sometimes those points need to be earned from at least two sources, so be prepared to spread the love and think strategically. But with six months up your sleeve, again, this isn't Kilimanjaro.

Once those new points have landed into your account, the entire previous balance magically reappears.

The Qantas Points challenge is much like the Qantas Tier Accelerator status challenge – it's offered at the whim of Qantas – but at least now you know that such an option exists.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 153

To stop them expiring best to get the Qantas health app. You get points each week for walking and sleeping.

This way you will never reach 18 months with no activity..

10 Jul 2018

Total posts 118

Indeed, and we have that included in our list of five easy ways to stop Qantas Points from expiring in the first place.

I can add a data point to this challenge. My aunt had maybe 100,000 Qantas Points earned over the years, lost due to inactivity, I rang on her behalf and QFF extended the same "2,500 points within 6 months" challenge. Easy to accomplish!

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 247

This is one of those things which Qantas doesn't like to talk about, but I can vouch that it exists under the same 2500pts/6m parameters as outlined in the article.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 63

Another simple way is to link a Woolworths rewards card to the account.

It's not hard to get it rolling over regular points from getting the weekly groceries

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 153

Yep that is a good one as well.


24 Apr 2017

Total posts 75

Like "gift cards" the government needs to put some customer protections in place, so these big companies can't just unilaterally declare your points/card invalid.

Personally I think the law should be changed to allow these points/card to expire, BUT the value needs to be refunded to the customer who OWNS when that happens, rather than the value just getting sucked back up into the corporate coffers for free.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2018

Total posts 34

Yes, when is something that you worked hard for ,no longer yours? When they reckon it is, apparently. Why is this situation still tolerated? This happens with most store vouchers too and it makes no sense other than adding to their bottom line.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 58

Thank you for this timely article. I'm now living in the UK caring for elderly family and I'd hate to see my Qantas points simply disappear because I'm not using my AU credit card and my arse isn't sitting in Qantas metal.

If I'm on a BA flight, or on a OneWorld member, does that count towards keeping the clock ticking?

British Airways - Executive Club

28 Mar 2014

Total posts 75

You will earn QF points if you have set your account thus. Otherwise they may go to your BA account (if you have one)

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 247

Yes, you won't earn a lot of Qantas points on BA or another OneWorld member but you'll earn something, and that will keep your account active.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 86

It is true! Sold a house, looked around for four months, bought a townhouse, had two hip replacement operations and wasted 2 years not travelling and poof, points gone. After some very, very fruitful phone discussions with QFF the secret was to re activate my account in the most pleasurable way ( bought a case of wine) and voila: 200,000 points returned. Never got their address to send them a bottle which they deserved.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Aug 2016

Total posts 2

Some might ask the question: if you didn't earn/spend a single point in 18 months, are you really a frequent flyer?

Etihad - Etihad Guest

04 Jul 2019

Total posts 1

Based on my experience, it's not as easy as the article makes out. My wife lost almost half a million points accrued over nearly 20 years. We had to be extremely vigilant and persistent before finally getting the "points challenge".

Both myself and my wife peppered away at Qantas for weeks via email, phone, live chat and as a last resort even took to shaming them on their own FB site. The answer was the same every time. Stiff cheese. I even played the platinum flyer/Qantas shareholder card every time but I may as well have been a bronze nobody. I would have to review the whole sordid saga to know the final count, but I estimate that we were rejected no less than 10 times, possibly 15.
In the end I found Alan Joyce's email address on the internet and sent an email to him. I didn't get a response from him but someone from customer service rang us (that was a first!!) and made the points challenge offer.

So good luck!!

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