My experience booking four round the world OneWorld reward flights with Qantas Reservations | Australian Frequent Flyer
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My experience booking four round the world OneWorld reward flights with Qantas Reservations

MikeG

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OK, so I had the paid help from Award Flight Assist, which was great - Matt was very helpful and insightful, coming up with a great combo of flights for 2x Business and 2x economy RTW tickets for Mid-2020. I gave Qantas Reservations a call to get help, and it was a living hell over three days.

20/08/2019 7:45pm on hold for 90 minutes, then spoke to a consultant for about 30 minutes giving her the flight details, and then when she put me on hold to book the flights, the line dropped. No call back...
20/08/2019 11:28pm I SMSed Qantas an told them what happened. No answer until after I'd gone to bed around midnight.
21/08/2019 8:30am I called Qantas and got a callback option this time. Apparently 3 hours+ in the queue. Until-midday to and fro with Qantas SMS, with most responded being unhelpful and saying flights are subject to availability, rather than wanting to resolve the problem. I went back to Matt and we found some alternate flights for flights that had become unavailable overnight.
21/08/2019 1:30pm SMSed the entire itinerary to Qantas so they could book it. One flight was available on the Qantas website but not available in their system, so we needed to find an alternative.
21/08/2019 1:45pm got the callback from Qantas 5 1/2 hours after the callback request. The lady seemed really helpful, but hung up on me again around 3pm
21/08/2019 3:30pm SMSed Qantas again asking why I was hung up on. No answer
21/08/2019 5:50pm SMSed Qantas again repeating the request, got an answer back 6:30pm apologizing, and offering to have someone call me.
21/08/2019 6:45pm Qantas called me back FINALLY. Spoke to this lovely person and finalised everything up to a point where there was a question over the number of stopovers in North America. They even waived the 6000 point fee due to the fact the flights could not be booked on the website, and the service was so bad. I asked if I could decide which flights to remove from the RTW ticket, and call them back. (that was a bad move).
21/08/2019 9:45pm SMSed Qantas to see if I could finalise the tickets - no response until around midnight.\
22/08/2019 5:30am SMSed response stating there was no booking reference (yet). Shortly after the SMS ticket was "hung up" WTF???
22/08/2019 5:58am SMSed new job reiterating.
22/08/2019 6:25am got a response from Qantas asking again for a booking reference (even though the booking wasn't completed) Note I had not been issued with a booking reference yet...
22/08/2019 7:15am responded with my FF number. Asked for this to be escalated to a supervisor
22/08/2019 8:27am got a response saying they pulled the booking from my FF record. Proceeded to to and fro about which flights to remove, and finally got pricing for fees and points... around 9am
22/08/2019 9:30am the end of the SMS trail, after paying for taxes, and getting booking references for both bookings.

Around this time, I logged into qantas.com and found that I as charged the 6000 point fee per passenger even though I got agreement (21/08/2019 6:45pm) to waive those fees.

Later on I SMSed qantas and complained about this and the great consultant I got told me "The booking was made on 21 Aug with Capetown and that consultant waived the fee. The second consultant in AKL charged the fee on 22 Aug. The team should be able to see that in the booking." "Anna-Maria" was the consult who told me this, so she could probably see that I had been screwed around by Qantas.

So 1 1/2 days to book these flights. Not bad :S

M
 
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Hey MikeG - was this a Oneworld Classic Reward booking? I'm going through similar hell at the moment being told that my departure/return city is a 'stopover' and so bumps me up to 6 stopovers - and throws it all out of whack and past the 280K QFF points cap. This is ridiculous as the rules state the fare is considered a return journey. Since when is your departing/return city considered a stop over? I don't seem to be able to finalise the booking as the SA call centre and chat feature through the chat are pretty ignorant of the rules (in the chat feature I sent them links to the relevant pages on the Qantas website). 'Tonie' is firm on my departure/return city counting as a stopover.

Any tips?

My itinerary whihc they are trying to quote at 455k (suspiciously at the new cap for for first class come 18 September 2019):
- MEL to NRT (stop)
- NRT to SEA (land to LAX) (stop)
- LAX to MEX (LAX to PHX to MEX)(stop)
- MEX to LHR (stop)
- LHR to BCN (stop)
- BCN to MEL (BCN to DOH to BKK to HKG to MEL).

As far I see, this in within the rules (and just over 30K in miles).
 

MikeG

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My booking was a bit more complex with:
- CBR to SYD (Stop???)
- SYD to HKG to EWR (Stop)
- LGA to CLT to HSV (Stop)
- HSV to CLT to MSY (stop) <-- deleted
- MSY to DFW to MCI (Stop) <-- deleted
- MCI to ORD to LHR (Stop)
- LHR to NRT (Stop)
- NRT to MEL to CBR

And I had to make this work with tickets for business (the wife and I) and economy (the two teens).

I ended up having to delete two legs from the Journey so their system would accept it. The first stop is only because there's an overnight wait for the connecting flight. Not sure this is a stopover really... So now we have 4 stopover technically and I have two flights to book out of my own pocket.

I think I'll be going back through Qantas complaints and the Airline Ombudsman to get compensation for the other flights...

My advice is to get the booking done at all costs, and make it know (in the recordings) that you do not agree and why, and then take note of the date and time of those conversations so when you complain, they can easily access the recordings.

If I had the whole thing to do over again, I'd give Qantas a miss entirely. Its a nightmare...

I've since booked the HSV to CLT to MSY separately with points, but it was now only available in Business Class. But thankfully the taxes were only like US$8 pp.

Waiting for the direct Southwest airlines flights MSY to MCI to come up for sale - two months until they release them...

M
 
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Hey thanks for your reply,
Your itinerary looks complicated due to the number of US domestic flights - which I presume are all on AA?
All the blogs and forums I have read suggest that a stopover is a break in journey of 24 hours or greater. Even Qantas defines it as so: Frequent Flyer - Using Points - Qantas & Partner Classic Awards - Using Points Calculator . How else could someone use up all 16 sectors which is permitted by the rules?

The Qantas multi-city booking feature simply doesn't work for flights that transit more than once - you have no option other than calling Qantas bookings. I have used the chat feature through the app today and at first was told something absolutely wrong, so I sent to the chat operator a couple of links to the Qantas oneworld rules on their website and asked her to review. Sure enough, she came back to me accepting her interpretation was incorrect, but finding a new reason to say my proposed flights were outside the rules - the 'your return city is considered a stopover' - which is the most absurd thing I've ever heard (which of course I didn't say to her as she's holding all the power). But when I said it might be best if I call up to discuss over the phone, she said I'll be told the same thing over the phone as what she's told me as it's the same 'policy'.

I think I've just discovered what she's done wrong - she's referred to a 'round the world classic reward'. This is distinctly different to a oneworld classic flight reward. I will get up early and try to get someone at the Aust call centre: Classic Flight Reward Tables | Qantas Frequent Flyer

If all your flights are ticketed (and you haven't left) - you might be able to call up and try rebooking with a different Qantas call center operator. Best of luck if you do.

This is all weird as all the forums and blogs just talk about flights being unavailable. For both of us, it seems that flights are available, it's just some weird interpretation of the fare rules. Frustrating as all hell.
 

MikeG

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Well I ended up getting Qantas to agree to refund the 4x6000 point booking assistance fees. Next is to get compensation for the lost flights from the itinerary due to misinterpretation of their own RTW rules. I'm amazed Qantas is still in business when they treat their customers so badly.

That said, credit where credit is due, there have been sparkling examples of brilliant customer service, and I am sure to thank each of these people when I come in contact with them, to make sure they know that I appreciate their help. Sadly, due to what seems like gross overwork of staff, most Qantas phone and SMS support people seem to be struggling to perform their duties and hence have particular poor customer service. Their creed seems to be "the customer is almost never right".

M
 

ms1

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I feel a really underrated perk of Gold/Platinum status is being able to speak to the local premium phone support teams. I’ve booked my fair share of Oneworld awards and in my experiences the South African call centre was useless more often than not. Ditto for Manilla. The online chat was a little bit better but you have to wait for the website to prompt the chat (not sure if there’s a link to start automatically?). The premium desk know exactly what they’re doing 9 times out of 10.
 

Familyman1

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If anyone from Qantas reads this, can I just say that I have experienced similar problems and a simple solution would be to ensure that anyone calling about a 35,000 mile Oneworld award booking (which can get very complicated) should be put through to the best call centre - which from my experience is the one in Australia. I have got to the stage of trying to pick the accent from the initial "hello" and hanging up if it does not sound local. This is a very time-consuming process but worth it in the end.
 

Mattg

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If anyone from Qantas reads this, can I just say that I have experienced similar problems and a simple solution would be to ensure that anyone calling about a 35,000 mile Oneworld award booking (which can get very complicated) should be put through to the best call centre - which from my experience is the one in Australia. I have got to the stage of trying to pick the accent from the initial "hello" and hanging up if it does not sound local. This is a very time-consuming process but worth it in the end.
Indeed, the staff in the Qantas South Africa and Philippines call centres are rarely ever able to successfully book one of these for you. The poor level of training, frankly, is disgraceful, let alone the fact they often can't "see" many flights which are in fact available.

The "premium" call centre in Australia is usually pretty good, though. I agree that Qantas should just automatically forward these kinds of bookings to the Australian call centre, but until they do, you just have to HUACA until you get the right person unfortunately.
 

Isochronous

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Qantas has the worst call centre of any airline I've ever tried calling. At least when the USDM agents back in the day showcased their stunning ignorance of geography it wasn't after waiting 1 hour to speak to someone!
 

AustraliaPoochie

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And if you ever watch YouTube you will see that QF YouTube ad, so proud to "help" by picking up a stopped book...
Not sure if he is the CSM on board that aircraft.
If only QF had a purely wholly Aust based call centre, I would be happy to pay more.
"Spirit of Australia" my foot!
VA is not much better.
 

p--and--t

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Qantas has the worst call centre of any airline I've ever tried calling. At least when the USDM agents back in the day showcased their stunning ignorance of geography it wasn't after waiting 1 hour to speak to someone!
YMMV

Totally agree extremely variable, depends on time of day and day of week and call volumes (and consequently the call centre reached).

But I must have lucked out a few times getting straight through to someone who knew exactly what to do (Aussie call centre)

Last year I booked 2 x complete 280K OWA with 13 sectors in one go on one call with one operator without dropouts, call backs, texts or anything of the like.

I was prepared with all the information required including Flight Number, dates and times and pre-checked availability (on QF where possible and also BA and AA websites), planned my time to call to get the right call centre, picked up the phone with low expectations and was very pleasantly surprised.

Note: I have had at various times similar inconsistent really cr.. service the op experienced calling Krisflyer, PR, BA and MH.
 

Pleb Status

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I would estimate that if I calculated the total wait time from every call I have made to every airline I have ever dealt with over the past 18 months (excluding QF), that total wait time would be far less than the wait time for a single callback from QF as an LTG....
 

mikeact

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I'm not sure if all One world carriers offer multi partner awards, but BA certainly do, but extremely frustrating like the original poster pointed out....same problems. As an example, I used their 20000 mileage maximum option and 200000 Avios.. From London I used a combination of Qantas, Cathy and BA all in business down to Perth with the help of great circle mapper....charges were reasonable at around £500. But,, I had flights lined up on a spread sheet, with back ups just in case seats had gone and then hit the phone...impossible, nobody knew what I was talking about...eventually when I had calmed down, tried again, bingo...helpful agent. And I had enough mikes left over to sneak in a weekend away in Amsterdam. Would I do it again? Yes,if I can get up enough patience.
 

drron

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The problem is really the QF lack of training for their OS call centre staff.Other airlines do it much better including AA.On one occasion I mistimed my call and instead of the Tulsa centre when the Sydney office was closed I got Manilla.To add to my concern the agent told me I was her first customer.However I was soon calm as she went through everything step by step.It became complicated as one of the sectors operated by AY became unavailable.She went to great lengths even finding an AA codeshare on KLM.She said she would have to ask a supervisor about this and said she would ring back in 15 minutes.10 minutes later she called back and the supervisor had somehow managed to get another award released on the AY flight.Her training and the fact she was obviously wanting to succeed meant it became one of my best interactions with an airline.
I probably also helped with her training on a couple of points when she was unsure-but she listened to me and followed my suggestions.
 

MikeG

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Sadly qantas suffers From big fish in a small Pond syndrome and due to the massively profitable SYD-MEL have little or no interest in improving support for international travelllers- or so it seems.
 

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