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"Fees" for Free Tickets-I think FRAUD

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Amerrican

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Jun 16, 2006
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We are Americans currently living in Cairns due to business reasons. We love Australia and will be sorry to get transferred elsewhere eventually.

Booked a "free" mileage ticket for my wife CNS/SYD/LAX (stopover) ORD/SFO/SYD/CNS great deal at 60,000 miles, on United. Additional charge? $80.

Booked a "free" mileage ticket for my travel CNS/SIN/CNS on Qantas. Additional charge? $337!

ARE YOU PEOPLE NUTS TO LET YOUR NATIONAL AIRLINE DO THIS TO YOU?

I have come to know that Australians are generally not as confrontational fighters as some other cultures, however this is in my view BLATANT FRAUD on the part of Qantas. NO AMERICAN airline would think of trying this stunt, as they would be slapped with a class action lawsuit so quick their head would spin! I know the concept of "lawsuits" is sometimes overdone, however it's a valid and useful tool to keep the big companies in check.

Why has not some lawyer/lawfirm in Australia recognized their duty to protect the consumer in this issue?

This kind of thing is real disappointing about living in Australia; the consumer protection laws here are basically non-existent compared to the US or UK, and as a result the big companies just screw people and no one does anything about it but *****.

I put the blame squarely at the feet of the legal community, who have a responsibility for pro-bono work on behalf of the public. Are all the Australian lawyers this gutless?

Jim
 

Kiwi Flyer

Senior Member
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Sep 24, 2004
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Welcome to AFF Amerrican :)

Yup annoys us as well. The fuel surcharge is NOT a tax and devalues all the points (even more than the high award costs).

What has been disappointing is the lack of consumer organisations taking up the issue - both in australia and other countries where the airlines do this (pretty much everywhere except US/Canada).
 

markis10

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2004
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30,091
I would rather pay for the odd award flight and live in a society that is not running to the courts at every opportunity it gets.

Someone has to pay for those free drinks in the QP, the relatively new fleet of aircraft and the piece of mind you get knowing the carrier is not declaring bankruptcy at any moment (which has a flow on to other businesses). Nothing is really free in this world, it all just comes down to accounting.

Welcome to Australia, we live a good life I think and have differences to other countries as a result, thank goodness for those differences!
 

Dave Noble

Senior Member
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Oct 10, 2005
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6,419
According to Qantas in todays SMH

"We believe it is reasonable that the fuel surcharge should apply to all customers"

The founder of website frequentflyer.com.au , Clifford Reichlin, said that the surcharge could not be justified becuase "fuel is a cost of business". unlike noise levies and other taxes which are beyond an airline's control

Dave
 

Dave Noble

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markis10 said:
I would rather pay for the odd award flight and live in a society that is not running to the courts at every opportunity it gets.
If you had to pay for an award flight, how would it be an award flight.

Dave
 

Amerrican

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
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28
markis10 said:
I would rather pay for the odd award flight and live in a society that is not running to the courts at every opportunity it gets.
Yes, that's one point of view that you're entitled to have.

However there need to be limits on everyone, and this includes our corporate citizens as well. They can't promise one thing and then renege when they discover they've "overpromised".

Keep in mind Qantas have already "shifted the goalposts" this year by raising the redemption thresholds.

When the US airlines did this (in lockstep) in the early 1980's, a class action was successful in moderating what was essentially a unilateral contract change.

You're free to run your society any way you see fit, including allowing the corporations unlimited power to rape the citizens if that's what you want. I would guess however that this is clearly "over the line" to most people.
 

Yada Yada

Established Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Messages
1,872
Amerrican said:
Booked a "free" mileage ticket for my travel CNS/SIN/CNS on Qantas. Additional charge? $337!

ARE YOU PEOPLE NUTS TO LET YOUR NATIONAL AIRLINE DO THIS TO YOU?
Hi Jim. Welcome to AFF.

I agree that the additional charges are over the top. I've posted elsewhere here that QF has almost completely gutted their FF program with these "fines". Using points for an upgrade (which now cannot be confirmed until nearly checkin) or for award long-haul tickets are the the only viable options now. Points are useless for shorter domestic sectors because often the airfare is about the same as the fines.

However as the only airline in the country that flies to all major domestic and international ports either directly or via the OW alliance, it is in a position of advantage over its main rival and can get away with this.

Hopefully Virgin Blue will join Star Alliance one day and we will begin to see real competition.

As for the lawyers, I feel that policing this situation is the role of the federal government via the ACCC. However it seems that the politicians are in Geoff's pocket most of the time so it's not happening. :( I guess that may be because of past ownership.
 

ksthommo

Active Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2004
Messages
690
Cairns to Melbourne One Way extras, Qantas is $52.05, Virgin Blue $39.00

Step Daughters Qantas Reward flights Cairns/Darwin/Denpasar $196.77
& Jakarta/Sydney/Cairns $174.28
 

oz_mark

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Amerrican said:
We are Americans currently living in Cairns due to business reasons. We love Australia and will be sorry to get transferred elsewhere eventually.

Booked a "free" mileage ticket for my wife CNS/SYD/LAX (stopover) ORD/SFO/SYD/CNS great deal at 60,000 miles, on United. Additional charge? $80.

Booked a "free" mileage ticket for my travel CNS/SIN/CNS on Qantas. Additional charge? $337!

ARE YOU PEOPLE NUTS TO LET YOUR NATIONAL AIRLINE DO THIS TO YOU?
I agree it is annoyoing, but on the questions of fraud, where does Qantas say that reward flights are free?
 

dajop

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Yes commonly echoed complaint, but at the end of the day unless ur in the mega miles category, there is little value in putting too much effort in to stopping it (other than stopping patronising QF).

Classic case of this "fraud" is flying JQ where the fuel fine is supposed to be less than QF. Trouble is with award flights booked on JQ they are booked on a QF code, therefore you pay the QF fuel fine.

This led to the situation recently where the taxes and charges on some shorter JQ award flights were dearer than the paid fare (MEL-LST 1 way in 2 for 1 sale was $39 per ticket - fuel & other fines on an "award" seat on the same flight were $49 per ticket).
 
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222

Newbie
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
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i've only used my points twice. both times were around the world. once on the old, once on the new. travel was three years apart.

the taxes and 'fraud' on the old system was $270.

the taxes and 'fraud' on the new system was $590.

and the points only went up by 12,500.

the second trip would have cost me $3500~ if I had done it as a normal ticket.

all in all, I think that's great value.


where I become a little bemused is why qantas won't accept points to use against taxes and charges. qantas sell top up points at a clearly defined value. why can't that situation be reversed? $590 in taxes? sure, here's 22,000 points to cover that. charge a fee of 2,500 pp to process or whatever (i'm sure qantas would anyway).
 

Dave Noble

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222 said:
i've only used my points twice. both times were around the world. once on the old, once on the new. travel was three years apart.

the taxes and 'fraud' on the old system was $270.

the taxes and 'fraud' on the new system was $590.

and the points only went up by 12,500.

the second trip would have cost me $3500~ if I had done it as a normal ticket.

all in all, I think that's great value.

I disagree that it is great value. As you mention, both the number of points and the taxes n fines have gone up. It is cheaper than actually buying a ticket but that is not the point

Fuel is a basic fundamental requirement for operating a flight and should be covered in award bookings unlike airport/country taxes

When compared against many other schemes, the QF scheme is v poor

Dave
 

Yada Yada

Established Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
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1,872
222 said:
where I become a little bemused is why qantas won't accept points to use against taxes and charges. qantas sell top up points at a clearly defined value. why can't that situation be reversed? $590 in taxes? sure, here's 22,000 points to cover that. charge a fee of 2,500 pp to process or whatever (i'm sure qantas would anyway).
That's a very good point! It probably lays bare the fallacy that these "fines" are fair dinkum.
 

browski

Established Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2004
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1,490
It is obvious that Qantas is very deliberate in its strategy of gaining extra revenue.

This is a decision made purely on the basis that "they can".

It is not up to individuals to sue the airline for fraud - it is not even really up to the regulatory body (ACCC) to force the airline to include fuel as a base cost. As the ACCC will not / cannot do this then the members just have to suck it up. No-one is going to sue anybody.

The reason the ACCC does not do this is probably 3-fold:
1. The ACCC is essentially a government body and there is no "will" (or encouragement) from the government to pursue this.
2. The ACCC has not been armed with particularly sharp teeth by the government. If they were given stronger powers then the ACCC could likely upset other (gouging) companies (Oil companies, Media organisations etc) that pay large donations to the political parties. The government will not be so silly as to kill the goose that lays the golden egg - as immoral as their actions may be.
3. The ACCC may feel that with out real competition (ergo other Aussie based airlines) then even if they forced Qantas (and Virgin) to include the fuel cost into the base fare, Qantas would just turn around and create this as an "Administrational" Charge anyway. It is not as if the ACCC can force Qantas to not include a charge on flight redemptions Their role is just to stop Qantas from misleading subscribers that their FF Product offers free awards.

Qantas act outside the spirit of the program. Essentially they don't act in good faith. Good luck to them. If the world changes and viable alternatives are available (such as credit card points being transferred to other programs like AA) then we will all have an opportunity to show the same disdain to Qantas as they show for us. Until then........
 

Kiwi Flyer

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
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5,453
With NZ airpoints you can (now) pay for taxes and fuel surcharge with airbucks, but only on domestic flights. This is a change consequent to the court decision that required all inclusive pricing (decision late last year - change made early this year). However on international flights you also need to pay taxes and fuel surcharge with credit card even when it is an award flight. I suspect that will also change soon as next week Air NZ is introducing all inclusive pricing on all its international flights (having already done so for trans-tasman flights).

However such a change is more palatable for Airpoints than it is for QFF. This is because 1 airbuck = $1 (NZ or aussie depending on where you live) and so by including the "taxes" the number of airbucks required for the award increases automatically.

Indeed it makes a mockery of Airpoints previous claim that "taxes" had to be paid with credit card to provide maximum value for your airbucks.

That said, I really hope that QF (and other FFPs/airlines) stop charging fuel surcharges and include them in the base price. Other businesses don't get away with such nonsense so why should the airlines?
 

Dave Noble

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browski said:
If the world changes and viable alternatives are available (such as credit card points being transferred to other programs like AA) then we will all have an opportunity to show the same disdain to Qantas as they show for us. Until then........
It is possible to transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards to AA

Dave
 

Soundguy

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Messages
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Dave Noble said:
It is possible to transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards to AA
Would you care to elaborate more on this Dave? Transferring through SPG the ratio seems about 3:1 (if I read correctly) which is not pretty. Perhaps what is needed is a US based AMEX card which can be transferred directly maybe? I might contact AMEX platinum and ask them what the go is next week.

Chris
 

Dave Noble

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Soundguy said:
Would you care to elaborate more on this Dave? Transferring through SPG the ratio seems about 3:1 (if I read correctly) which is not pretty. Perhaps what is needed is a US based AMEX card which can be transferred directly maybe? I might contact AMEX platinum and ask them what the go is next week.

Chris
If you have a 1.5 points per $ earned it itsnt that bad compared to US cards

66,667 Amex points converts to 20,000 SPG points iirc (.33 SPG points per AMEX point )

20,000 SPG points transfers to AA as 25,000 AA Miles

This works out that 66,667 AMEX -> 25,000 AA

At 1.5 AMEX points per $ spent, this works out that $44,445 -> 25,000 AA points ( $1.77 approx for 1 AA mile )

Comparing against US cards which tend to offer 1 AA mile per USD this equates to 1 AA mile per USD1.31 . Not as good admittedly, but not too bad


Dave
 

Soundguy

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Dave Noble said:
This works out that 66,667 AMEX -> 25,000 AA
Thanks for that..... now I need to compare the travel value of 25,000 AA miles against 66,667 potential QFF points (always plus heavy fuel fines and taxes of course).

Hey is there an AA calculator available, something like the QF one for checking points required to various destinations etc?

Chris
 
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