Qantas scraps expiry date on Covid refunds

A win for passengers waiting on an estimated $400m of refunds from flights cancelled during the pandemic.

By David Flynn, August 31 2023
Qantas scraps expiry date on Covid refunds

Travellers holding around $400m of cancelled Qantas tickets for flights cancelled due to Covid restrictions won’t have to race to claim a refund by December 31, with the airline confirming it would scrap the contentious year-end expiry date of travel credits.

Refunds will now be available “indefinitely”, the airline says, for all Qantas and Jetstar passengers whose flights were cancelled by the airlines due to Covid lockdowns through to October 2021.

Qantas will also ramp up its efforts to contact customers eligible for a refund, including notifying travellers by SMS in the coming weeks.

Travellers will still be able to choose between claiming a refund or converting the cost of their untaken flights into travel credit which can be used when booking a future flight.

In addition, cancelled Qantas bookings which have already been converted into travel credit can be turned into a cash refund indefinitely.

“If you have a Qantas Covid credit, you can request a cash refund at any point in the future,” promises Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce. “And if you have a Jetstar Covid voucher, you can use it for travel indefinitely. These credits and vouchers will never expire.”

The airline says it is “also working with travel agents to coordinate refunds for travel not booked directly through the airlines.”

This follows three prior deadline extensions for Covid travel credit, with Qantas noting some airlines have already expired their travel credits and many more run out completely at the end of this year.

“All up, this is one of the most flexible approaches that any airline has taken to its Covid credits,” Joyce claims.

So what are your options from here?

1. Find out how much Qantas owes you

Following the waves of lockdowns, border closures and false starts across 2020-2021, it’s no surprise that many would-be travellers have simply lost track of their original booking details, as well as tickets on cancelled flights which have already been converted into travel credit.

It didn’t help that bookings were converted into credit under one of four confusing brands: Qantas Flight Credits, Qantas Pass, Qantas TravelPass and Qantas Credit.

The airline claims the Find My Credit tool on the Qantas website will simplify the process of helping passengers find how much Qantas travel credit they’re owed by using their original flight booking reference.

(For Jetstar flights, brace yourself and use Jetstar’s online Live Chat service.)

2. Request a refund

Most Qantas and Jetstar flights cancelled under Covid are fully refundable, but many people have found the process to get your money back proved frustrating and overly complicated.

“The majority of the Covid credits we hold can be converted into refunds, but we can’t do it automatically as the credit cards used for the purchase as far back as 2019 may have expired,” explains Qantas chief customer officer Markus Svensson.

Svensson says for bookings made directly with Qantas, customers can call the Qantas travel credit hotline on 1300 668 885 or 1300 171 505 to request a refund.

“If a booking was made through a travel agent, customers should contact the agent directly to request a refund.”

But what about those 20% who for various reasons are not counted as eligible for a refund?

“Customers with Covid credits who do not have the option of a refund but whose circumstances have changed and who are no longer able to use their credit, are also encouraged to contact Qantas to discuss a refund,” Svensson suggests. 

3. Make a booking with your travel credit

If you convert your cancelled flight into Qantas travel credit, Qantas says it will offer double Qantas Points “for any flights booked with a Qantas Covid credit” from 4 September to 31 December 2023.

“Due to system limitations, Qantas Covid credit can’t be converted into a travel booking after this date, but can be taken as a refund at any time,” the airline adds.

More to follow...

21 Jun 2022

Total posts 3

Hope Air New Zealand sees this.  They refused to refund my airfare when they cancelled a flight and then gave me 6 months to use a very (useless) flight credit.   


09 May 2020

Total posts 562

Now that they announced a huge profit, they cannot fob off the issue anymore.

Frankly surprised this has gone this far after so long. (It was presumably largely 2020 and 2021), a win for those who now need the cash refund now that the costs of travelling is a lot more since start of Russia-Ukraine incident which gets the blame more than anything else for inflation of anything in the world more than the pandemic 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 May 2018

Total posts 6

Is "Qantas Covid credit" yet again a new variant of credits? Or is it just a general term and does it mean that any flight booked with a travel credit will get double points? (Similarly as they did it with 2x previous promotions)

Also, I have an existing travel credit with an attached "Double status credits" condition. (there was a time you could choose double status credit/points or 10-20% added value)
Qantas never mentions any of these, I assume these added conditions are also extended, anyone knows anything specific on this?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Nov 2011

Total posts 28

AJ has done a lot of damage to QF's reputation, I'm sure this is not how he would like his legacy to be but here we are.  Shocking to see how much negative publicity about the airline, but I do think it is warranted.  $24k in business to JFK via AKL is so ridiculous, and that is merely one example of widespread price gouging.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 319

Agree, In the past they normally respond with a few extra points and a double status credit promotion and everyone forgets the terrible service and late or cancelled flights, this time it won’t be that easy. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Oct 2012

Total posts 41

It was inconceivable that people with credits could be in the situation that they expire.  It is as bad as a gift card rort.  Also, the ACCC needs to review other fees.  For example: how can Qantas justify charging a $400 change fee for something that I do online.  Or charge ridiculous fare difference change costs for the same flight and fare type.  There is no guidance given how they are calculated.   For too long these things have gone on.  The whole customer proposition needs to be completely reviewed by the new CEO. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Feb 2020

Total posts 32

This is welcome and overdue but still murky. I just received a welcome refund on 2 Business tickets to SCL (19K..) for December that I had to cancel. I was expecting to be offered credit only as the outbound was on a saver fare so am pleasantly surprised. In saying that I still have a bunch of credits from domestic sectors that were booked and rebooked a number of times, but I’m told they will NOT be refunded. and WILL expire between now and December.  Will be interesting to see if that changes now with the litigation and publicity.

11 Nov 2012

Total posts 5

Interesting. My Qantas credit has to be booked before end of 2023. If I don't make a booking then I can ask for a refund at any time in the future. Surely it is better for Qantas to just extend the booking expiry. 

My Jetstar credit expires end of 2023. If I don't book by then they say  they will just issue me with a new one upon request.

Why can't Qantas do the same?

30 May 2018

Total posts 33

Interesting timing: the government blocks new competition from Qatar for international flights and Qantas suddenly relents on its stonewalling of its creditor customers….

22 May 2011

Total posts 85

When will virgin follow the same?

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