Qantas cited clause 8.1 of the Qantas Frequent Flyer terms & conditions in its unilateral decision to suspend this member’s account for 21 days. The reason given was that this member has returned a “significant number” of items bought through the Online Mall after the Qantas points for the purchases had already been credited. As such, these purchases were not eligible to earn Qantas points.
The Qantas account suspension has generated a lot of discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum. Some members believe that instead of taking such harsh measures, Qantas should fix the loophole that caused points to be incorrectly awarded in the first place. But others believe the airline’s actions may be justified.
Under clause 8.1, Qantas can suspend or terminate accounts – or cancel a member’s frequent flyer points – if there is a “material breach” of the Qantas Frequent Flyer terms and conditions. It does not matter whether the breach was intentional or not. Where such action is taken, the Qantas Frequent Flyer member is notified of what the airline intends to do and why. The member then has 21 days to respond, during which time their frequent flyer account cannot be accessed.
This AFF member says they use the Qantas Online Mall for many purchases, and do occasionally return items that are not suitable. But they claim that their returns were all legitimate and believe the account suspension is unfair. Our members agree that there are many genuine reasons it might be necessary to return items that are bought online. In fact, some Online Mall retailers offer a free returns policy to encourage customers to try out the products and make sure they are happy with them.
The problem here is that Qantas points for Online Mall purchases are credited after 30 days. But most online retailers will accept returns beyond this 30-day period. Products that are returned are ineligible to earn Qantas points. But it seems that Qantas’ systems do not allow for points that are already credited to be later retracted if products are returned more than a month after purchase. Many on the forum agree that instead of punishing customers, Qantas should fix this system so that points are not incorrectly awarded in the first place.
Without knowing the full details of the amount or number of allegedly suspect transactions, it is difficult to know whether Qantas’ actions were justified. But it’s a timey warning that frequent flyer programs can and do take action if they suspect a breach of the program terms & conditions. Velocity Frequent Flyer has previously taken similar action against members it suspected of exploiting the “family pooling” scheme. There is often little recourse available when this happens.
If you wish to return something bought via the Qantas Online Mall, make sure you do so as quickly as possible to avoid unnecessary complications.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas Account: Notice of suspension