Qantas relaxes refund rules, merges domestic flexible fares

By Chris C., January 16 2015
Qantas relaxes refund rules, merges domestic flexible fares

  • Flexible domestic economy fares merged into a single fare type
  • ‘No shows’ to result in full loss of the economy fare
  • Qantas website to display business and economy fares on single screen

Qantas will rejig its domestic fare structure next month to streamline the rules and conditions attached to economy bookings, including making full refunds available on all flexible fares.

However, failing to turn up for your flight could mean having to buy a completely new ticket for the journey home, as opposed to today's rules that allow 'no shows' on the most expensive bookings.

The new system, which kicks into gear from February 18, will see the two economy 'flexible' fare types – Fully Flexible and Flexisaver – replaced by a single Flex category.

Some of the Flexisaver sub-categories or ‘fare buckets’ will move into the new Flex group, while others are being demoted into the Red eDeal segment.

This will reduce the total number of Qantas domestic fare types to just three: Business, Flex and the cheapest Red eDeal rates.

No change to cost of Qantas domestic flexible fares

While fares will remain 'dynamically priced' in line with demand, the actual price you’ll fork out for a flexible economy ticket won’t change as a result of this consolidation.

Instead, it means your business won’t need to shell out even more cash to secure a fully-refundable ticket as any flexible fare will now offer refunds on or before the day of departure.

’No shows’ in Qantas domestic economy

Meetings run long, traffic backs up and cars break down – but if you don’t arrive at the airport before your flight departs, you risk forfeiting your fare under the new Flex rules.

Your best strategy if delays are keeping you from the airport: jump onto the Qantas website (or fire up the smartphone app) before check-in closes and switch to a more suitable flight.

Better yet, plan ahead by booking a flexible fare on a later service – if you happen to reach the airport early, put your Flex ticket to good use and ask to be moved to an earlier flight.

Earning Qantas Frequent Flyer points, status credits

Tickets sold as Red eDeals will earn points at the Discount Economy rate, while all Flex fares are treated as Flexible Economy.

However, the L and V ‘fare buckets’ will be downgraded from the Flexi Saver/Flexible Economy category to instead be classed as Red eDeals/Discount Economy.

Discount Economy does earn fewer points and status credits than Flexible Economy, but as the L and V buckets will now be used for less expensive tickets, base-level flexible fares will instead book into K and M class – both of which continue to accrue points and status at the Flexible Economy rates.

In other words, you’ll still earn Discount Economy points and status credits when booking a domestic Red eDeal and Flexible Economy points and status on all flexible fares: making the change more of a behind-the-scenes rejig than a frequent flyer ‘enhancement’.

Book business class and economy on the same ticket

From late March Qantas will show business and economy fares on the same booking screen – something which was available until the Qantas website was revamped last year to become more ‘tablet-friendly’.

Having everything in one place makes it easy to book one leg of a journey at the pointy end and the other back in economy, as seen here in our sneak peek of the new website layout before its official launch:

It also highlights the cost difference between the most expensive economy ticket and the most affordable business fare, which can sometimes be surprisingly small.

Existing Flexi Saver, Fully Flexible bookings

The new Flex fares won’t appear until February 18, so if you’ve already made a reservation – or you’ll be making a booking before that date – the current fare rules and conditions apply.

And if your existing Flexi Saver booking uses the L or V fare bucket, don’t fret: Qantas has confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that your points and status credits will appear at the Flexible Economy rate as originally promised.

That includes flights booked before but taken after February 18, as the original ticket would have been sold and purchased as a Flexible Economy airfare.

Qantas international fares and ticket types remain unchanged.

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Apr 2013

Total posts 146

At last!  Finally a business class and economy ticket can be booked on the same booking. 

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 229

Thanks Chris

Can you explain what the various 'Fare Classes' mean? How are they different to the 'Fare Family'?

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2509

Hi Fonga,

Qantas uses the term 'fare classes' (in the table provided) whereas we use 'fare buckets' – they're one and the same.

'Fare family' means the name of the fare, such as Red eDeal – 'fare bucket' means the single letter booking code that it represents, used mostly by travel agents and advanced frequent flyers.

You'll find more information in our guide here as linked above: Expert tips: working with ticket booking classes & 'fare buckets'

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 314

I always liked the old format which showed economy and business comparisons on the same line. I think they probably lost out on a lot of business because people couldn't compare directly unless they were searching back and forth so people would just search economy. Good change Qantas!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 207

When will QF allow mixed travel class bookings on international itineraries? It'd be great to book one leg between Australia and the US or Europe in Business and the other in First (or Premium Economy and Business or Economy and Premium Economy).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2212

Or indeed in Economy and Business for the Asian routes where PY isn't available.

12 Feb 2013

Total posts 5

I flew on a V class ticket on Thursday night  (19 Feb) and purchased well in advance of this change. I was only awarded points and status credits at discount economy rates. I'll have to call and complain. I suggest anyone in this situation definitely check 

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