Qantas extends travel credit use-by date to December 2024

Those ‘Covid credits’ will be valid for an additional 12 months, but there’s still a catch or two…

By David Flynn, March 16 2023
Qantas extends travel credit use-by date to December 2024

Qantas is scrapping the end-of-year expiry date on an estimated $800 million worth of unused Covid travel credits and giving customers an additional 12 months – through to December 31, 2024 – to use their outstanding credit on a Qantas or Jetstar flight.

But those flights must still be booked by December 31 this year, so travellers will have to plan well ahead.

Qantas flights can be booked up to a maximum of 353 days in advance, so by December 31 2023 you’ll be able to book flights up to mid-December 2024.

The move follows criticism from consumer groups and would-be travellers over the looming ‘use them or lose them’ deadline for Qantas travel credits.

Qantas also plans to launch a Find My Credit tool in April “so people can be reunited with credits they might have forgotten they even have,” says Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer, Markus Svensson.

Find My Credit will help those who’ve lost track of their original booking details and credit across the waves of lockdowns, border closures and false starts across 2020-2021.

Current measures for managing travel credit include a dedicated Travel Credits Hub online and a Travel Credit Concierge Team hotline on 1300 171 505.

“We literally had millions of bookings that were cancelled during several waves of lockdowns and border closures,” Svensson explains.

“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.”

“Now that we’re flying again, a huge amount of effort has gone into making it easier to use your credit.”

With inflation continuing to spiral and airfares still more than 20% higher than pre-pandemic levels, the 12-month extension should also help travellers take advantage of steadily dropping international airfares as international capacity slowly returns to pre-pandemic over the coming year.

Qantas' Covid travel credit will remain active until the end of 2024, but you still need to book your flights by the end of this year.
Qantas' Covid travel credit will remain active until the end of 2024, but you still need to book your flights by the end of this year.

However, Qantas appears to be keeping in place a rule that travellers who booked a flight after September 30 2021 but then cancelled that trip due to uncertainty or health concerns can use their credit only against airfares at the same price or higher than their original ticket.

On fares below the credited amount, passengers must still buy a new ticket, rather than retain the balance in credit or even choose to forego a small difference.

Qantas says the majority of the $800 million in outstanding travel credits are not subject to this condition, and stem from when the airline itself was forced to cancel a flight.

Those people can book fares lower than their travel credit amount, although they also “remain eligible for a cash refund of their credit should they prefer.”

As previously reported by Executive Traveller, some people calling to request a refund of their travel credit have instead been offered incentives such as an additional 10-20% of the value of their booking, or the ability to earn twice as many frequent flyer points or status credits, if they opt to retain the credit.

A breakdown of Qantas’ outstanding travel credit shows 76% of Covid credits are below $500, with 24% held between $500 and $5000, while less than 1% of Covid credits are worth over $5000.

11 Jul 2018

Total posts 7

Now if only I can use them without having to call the contact centre. 

29 Mar 2017

Total posts 16

I can understand why Qantas only provided travel credit in lieu of cash refund during COVID.  However, their financial position has improved significantly and they have began share buyback with their free cashflows.  Hence, I am completely at lost to understand why they do not just offer people a cash refund instead of this never ending game of postponing the expiry date of the travel credit.  I am hopeful that there are others who see things the way I do.  

In 2020, I had no difficulties in obtaining cash refunds from Singapore and Qatar with a simple online message saying that I cannot travel due to border restrictions but with Qantas it is just a completely different proposition.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1024

In 2021, while the New Zealand travel bubble was open, I booked a 1 week trip to NZ (CBR-AKL via MEL each way).

Sydney then got Covid and exported it to the rest of the east coast. NZ closed the travel bubble to NSW, then later everywhere else, so my flights were cancelled.

Qantas never gave me an option to refund, change, cancel or get credit. Just repeated emails saying "flight has been changed" with no options to pick anywhere.

I finally got a reply from them in August last year. I had been looking at a travel credit to then spend on the trip to Singapore I was trying to book, but they responded after I had to book that trip, so I got a refund.

They were meant to refund me $434.95 and 61480 points. I got the points back with no issue. However, they only sent back $237.68.

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