Getting back to Australia on points

pye1201

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I’m hoping that more knowledgeable minds than mine may be able to help me here – my husband and I are in the strange situation of currently being in the UK on business class oneworld Qantas classic flights – due to a family emergency. We are fully vaccinated. We’re booked to return to Australia in mid January 2022 (flying Cathay Pacific) - we couldn’t get permission to leave Australia unless we advised we would be away for quite some time. I note we left voluntarily and don't expect special treatment getting home. Having said that, we didn't foresee that Australia's vaccination rollout would be quite so glacially slow.

Does anyone have any idea what our chances will be on returning at that time? The one year timeframe for these tickets is mid February 2022 but our worry is that we might be bumped from the flight as we’re only quantas points passengers as opposed to full fare paying individuals. Does Qantas have an obligation to honour our return tickets, given they were paid for with points, if those caps are still at a low level?

Does anyone have any thoughts?
 

roogirl

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No they don’t and you are at very very high risk of being bumped, if the flight goes at all (Cathay currently not flying U.K. to HK). I would be (a) booking a paid flight pref on singapore airlines and (b) registering with DFAT
 

RooFlyer

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Does anyone have any thoughts?
My only thought - not very helpful, sorry - is that given the travel situation in and to/from Australia is a week to week proposition, forecasting what the situation might be in 6 months to the extent of being helpful is impossible.
 
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levelnine

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Does anyone have any idea what our chances will be on returning at that time? The one year timeframe for these tickets is mid February 2022 but our worry is that we might be bumped from the flight as we’re only quantas points passengers as opposed to full fare paying individuals. Does Qantas have an obligation to honour our return tickets, given they were paid for with points, if those caps are still at a low level?

I would rate your chances of returning to Australia on points at less than 5%.

Does Qantas have an obligation to honour your return tickets? By which I presume you mean ensure you get a seat on the plane. Absolutely not. They'll simply refund your points.

For more information, check out this podcast, but note it was recorded prior to the recent halving of caps. Will those caps be higher in January 2022? Impossible to say at this stage. One certainly hopes so ...


I should also note that there are tens of thousands of Australians currently trying to return to Australia and the country is only letting in about 3,000 people per week. Please do not underestimate just how difficult it is to fly into the country at the moment. The situation is truly dire.
 

Seat0B

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I feel a great deal of sympathy for your predicament, and second the advice above - if it is necessary to come back at that time, start looking for other options. You might also want to contact @madrooster for advice and assistance. He's a travel agent who has helped many AFFers make arrangements to get back home. best of luck.
 

MEL_Traveller

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I’m hoping that more knowledgeable minds than mine may be able to help me here – my husband and I are in the strange situation of currently being in the UK on business class oneworld Qantas classic flights – due to a family emergency. We are fully vaccinated. We’re booked to return to Australia in mid January 2022 (flying Cathay Pacific) - we couldn’t get permission to leave Australia unless we advised we would be away for quite some time. I note we left voluntarily and don't expect special treatment getting home. Having said that, we didn't foresee that Australia's vaccination rollout would be quite so glacially slow.

Does anyone have any idea what our chances will be on returning at that time? The one year timeframe for these tickets is mid February 2022 but our worry is that we might be bumped from the flight as we’re only quantas points passengers as opposed to full fare paying individuals. Does Qantas have an obligation to honour our return tickets, given they were paid for with points, if those caps are still at a low level?

Does anyone have any thoughts?

It's still too early to reliably predict January 2022. Home quarantine is going to be trialed as early as next month (August), and if that goes well it could be a game changer. Also by December we will - allegedly - have everyone vaccinated that wants to be. On the other hand a breakthrough variant of the virus could put us back to the starting point.

If restrictions start to ease I think you points booking will be fine. I wouldn't be racing to cancel it now.

If you see a reasonably priced paid seat that is fully refundable, you might consider purchasing that as a back up. But if we go back to the previous higher caps, or the caps are increased, people have been flying on the cheapest fares and points bookings.
 

pye1201

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No they don’t and you are at very very high risk of being bumped, if the flight goes at all (Cathay currently not flying U.K. to HK). I would be (a) booking a paid flight pref on singapore airlines and (b) registering with DFAT
Thanks @roogirl - we did estimate on being away for a year and we left on the understanding that it was our choice to leave so we aren't in a desperate position as perhaps others trying to return might be. We have had this itinerary changed so many times thus I have no expectation of that Cathay Pacific flight eventuating - the flights on this particular trip have changed so much the itinerary no longer even faintly resembles the original. However qantas has come through each time. I think it will depend on the situation at the end of the year in Australia.
 
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pye1201

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My only thought - not very helpful, sorry - is that given the travel situation in and to/from Australia is a week to week proposition, forecasting what the situation might be in 6 months to the extent of being helpful is impossible.
Thanks @RooFlyer - you're absolutely right - it's a very fluid situation and I would be better served being patient. We made a choice that put family over our chances of returning - we are lucky to have been with our family when we needed to be and are not in desperate straits to get home - I just didn't realise quite how homesick I was going to be. There's really nowhere like home. We'll get back eventually!
 
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pye1201

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I would rate your chances of returning to Australia on points at less than 5%.

Does Qantas have an obligation to honour your return tickets? By which I presume you mean ensure you get a seat on the plane. Absolutely not. They'll simply refund your points.

For more information, check out this podcast, but note it was recorded prior to the recent halving of caps. Will those caps be higher in January 2022? Impossible to say at this stage. One certainly hopes so ...


I should also note that there are tens of thousands of Australians currently trying to return to Australia and the country is only letting in about 3,000 people per week. Please do not underestimate just how difficult it is to fly into the country at the moment. The situation is truly dire.
Thanks levelnine - that will be interesting to see if they do indeed refund our points given we are on a business class oneworld qantas classic flight award and more than half of the flights have been taken. Who knows - maybe they'll refund the entire 280K miles each (LOL). We've had quite a number of those flights changed during this trip due to changing restrictions etc., and qantas has put us on other flights each time. The flight back into Australia of course is an entirely different prospect. And I do appreciate the difficulty of returning - as I said previously, we made a conscious choice to put family needs over our ability to return and we don't regret that. We are in the fortunate position of wanting to get home versus critically needing to get home. I listened to the podcast you recommended and I would hesitate to register with DFAT given so many others who actually didn't make the decision to leave the country voluntarily need seats to get back home.
I think we will just have to wait and see what the situation is like at the end of the year and assess our prospects. We fly business class as I have a knee injury which means that flying economy sees me walking the aisles for almost the entire trip to avoid sitting with my knees bent for that long. Financially, to buy a full fare business class return is rather out of our price range. I am fervently hoping the government can get it's act together and get the vaccination rollout happening!
 

pye1201

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I feel a great deal of sympathy for your predicament, and second the advice above - if it is necessary to come back at that time, start looking for other options. You might also want to contact @madrooster for advice and assistance. He's a travel agent who has helped many AFFers make arrangements to get back home. best of luck.
Thanks @Seat0B - we aren't in a desperate situation as we are with family - just missing the rest of our family back home. If we end up having to pay for our tickets back, I'll be sure to contact @madrooster for advice.
 

pye1201

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It's still too early to reliably predict January 2022. Home quarantine is going to be trialed as early as next month (August), and if that goes well it could be a game changer. Also by December we will - allegedly - have everyone vaccinated that wants to be. On the other hand a breakthrough variant of the virus could put us back to the starting point.

If restrictions start to ease I think you points booking will be fine. I wouldn't be racing to cancel it now.

If you see a reasonably priced paid seat that is fully refundable, you might consider purchasing that as a back up. But if we go back to the previous higher caps, or the caps are increased, people have been flying on the cheapest fares and points bookings.
Thanks @MEL_Traveller, I agree that it's too early to tell. I've got my fingers crossed for a game changer. I have a pilot friend who flies for qantas and he advised that there are people coming back in on miles - whether theirs are unique situations I'm not sure. We on the other hand, are just ordinary flyers with no clout anywhere! Good suggestion to look out for a reasonably priced refundable seat as a backup - makes sense. Thanks for the optimism!! I'll post next year on my progress!
 

jb747

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Thanks @MEL_Traveller, I agree that it's too early to tell. I've got my fingers crossed for a game changer. I have a pilot friend who flies for qantas and he advised that there are people coming back in on miles - whether theirs are unique situations I'm not sure.
I don't know how he would know....it isn't information that's within the pilot world.
 

Flashback

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Is there any reason you can't rebook on EK and just come back sooner? Plans do change and if you ended up coming back earlier than the 3 months for example and you're ever questioned on it, then you could state the uncertainty around being able to return home and your return flights already having been changed multiple times mean you felt safer to just grab whatever was available, regardless of date.
 

pye1201

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Is there any reason you can't rebook on EK and just come back sooner? Plans do change and if you ended up coming back earlier than the 3 months for example and you're ever questioned on it, then you could state the uncertainty around being able to return home and your return flights already having been changed multiple times mean you felt safer to just grab whatever was available, regardless of date.
Thanks for your response, but having read multiple threads on this site and listened to several podcasts, we may have success doing that if we were prepared to pay up to $4k each for a fully flexible economy one way ticket, then the cost of hotel quarantine on top of that, but that's a substantial outlay. We did leave on the premise we would be away until early January 2022 and have made plans with our family on this side of the world until that date - my real concern is whether the January '22 time frame is achievable considering we are flying on miles, albeit a business class booking. I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping for a miracle scenario where the quarantine roll-out in Aus picks up speed and the cap is lifted by the end of the year! There's just no place like home.
 

Flashback

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Thanks for your response, but having read multiple threads on this site and listened to several podcasts, we may have success doing that if we were prepared to pay up to $4k each for a fully flexible economy one way ticket, then the cost of hotel quarantine on top of that, but that's a substantial outlay. We did leave on the premise we would be away until early January 2022 and have made plans with our family on this side of the world until that date - my real concern is whether the January '22 time frame is achievable considering we are flying on miles, albeit a business class booking. I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping for a miracle scenario where the quarantine roll-out in Aus picks up speed and the cap is lifted by the end of the year! There's just no place like home.
If you can switch to QR or EK using those miles then you have a better chance of the flight happening, rather than CX.
 

mviy

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I would be surprised if points bookings for flights to Australia can be made as soon as January 22.

QF may make the first few days of flights departing Australia once they resume flying points flights, but with the large numbers stuck overseas one would think they'd want to do revenue flights in the other direction coming back to Australia.

For points flights to Australia we'd really need flights to operating pretty close to capacity, certainly get back to a point where people can book economy with confidence that they are unlikely to be bumped if they are fully vaccinated and test negative to COVID-19 prior to departure.
 

Seat0B

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I would be surprised if points bookings for flights to Australia can be made as soon as January 22.

QF may make the first few days of flights departing Australia once they resume flying points flights, but with the large numbers stuck overseas one would think they'd want to do revenue flights in the other direction coming back to Australia.

For points flights to Australia we'd really need flights to operating pretty close to capacity, certainly get back to a point where people can book economy with confidence that they are unlikely to be bumped if they are fully vaccinated and test negative to COVID-19 prior to departure.
I think the OP already has the award flight booked as the return leg of the flight that already took them overseas.
 

Flashback

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Thanks for your response, but having read multiple threads on this site and listened to several podcasts, we may have success doing that if we were prepared to pay up to $4k each for a fully flexible economy one way ticket, then the cost of hotel quarantine on top of that, but that's a substantial outlay. We did leave on the premise we would be away until early January 2022 and have made plans with our family on this side of the world until that date - my real concern is whether the January '22 time frame is achievable considering we are flying on miles, albeit a business class booking. I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping for a miracle scenario where the quarantine roll-out in Aus picks up speed and the cap is lifted by the end of the year! There's just no place like home.
If you can switch to QR or EK using those miles then you have a better chance of the flight happening, rather than CX.
I would be surprised if points bookings for flights to Australia can be made as soon as January 22.

QF may make the first few days of flights departing Australia once they resume flying points flights, but with the large numbers stuck overseas one would think they'd want to do revenue flights in the other direction coming back to Australia.

For points flights to Australia we'd really need flights to operating pretty close to capacity, certainly get back to a point where people can book economy with confidence that they are unlikely to be bumped if they are fully vaccinated and test negative to COVID-19 prior to departure.
Ummmmm, they are available already. I have one. Not sure what you're trying to say.
 

mviy

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Well I meant bookings that are actually honoured by letting people fly. I expect points bookings will be the first to be bumped.
 
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