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...