With points-based international flight bookings becoming either too hard to find or too high to justify, Qantas and Virgin Australia will permit frequent flyers to make free changes or cancellations through to end of 2022.
The move is intended to give travellers greater confidence in using their points when they can find an award seat.
“We’re making it easier to turn travel dreams into travel plans with more flexibility on Classic Flight Reward seats,” Qantas promises.
“If you wish to change your travel dates, we’ll waive the change fee. If you wish to cancel, we’ll waive the cancellation fee (and) the total Qantas Points used and any taxes, fees and carrier charges paid will be refunded.”
For overseas flights, including trans-Tasman hops and long-range international journeys, Classic Flight Reward bookings made before 30 September 2022 can be change or cancelled without penalty until 31 December 2022
(The rules are tighter for flights within Australia, with a cut-off for free changes or cancellations on domestic Classic Flight Reward of 30 September 2022.)
Virgin Australia has likewise extended its Flexible Flying policy for international Reward Seats through to 31 December 2022.
This encompasses Virgin’s own short-range overseas flights to the likes of Fiji, Bali and New Zealand, along with its international partners – a growing roster which has recently added United Airlines and Qatar Airways to stalwarts such as Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, Air Canada and Hawaiian Airlines.
Reward Seat bookings can be made across all those airlines with Velocity points.
“We're offering unlimited changes and waiving the change or cancellation fees,” Virgin Australia says. “Changes must be made prior to your travel date, and fare differences may apply.”
“Where you choose to cancel under the Flexible Flying policy, your Points redeemed for the Reward Seat booking will be recredited to your Velocity account (excluding any booking fees).”
More broadly, Virgin Australia is extending its ‘no penalty’ approach to bookings which need to be changed due to Covid-19.
“From 1 May 2022, Virgin Australia will continue to provide guests who are impacted by Covid-19 flexibility to change the date of their booking without a change fee or place their fare into credit with the cancel fee waived,” the airline notes.
“Guests will be able to take advantage of this policy if they are required to isolate in accordance with the rules of the jurisdiction the guest is in or is travelling to due to testing positive to Covid-19 or being designated as a close contact, within 7 days of their travel date.”