Qantas yesterday released a new, more generous change & cancellation fee waiver after its previous policy attracted considerable criticism. Jetstar flights are also included in this.
If you have an existing Qantas or Jetstar booking for travel until 31 May 2020, you now have the option to change dates or cancel your trip and receive a credit voucher. This applies to all existing bookings and also includes domestic flights. And unlike with the previous waiver, your new travel dates can be any time within 12 months of the date that you originally made your booking.
If you have an existing booking made prior to 10 March 2020, Qantas says that you will need to change or cancel it by 31 March 2020 to be eligible for this offer. If you make a new booking between 10-31 March 2020, for travel until 31 May 2020, you will have the option to change or cancel your booking for a voucher at a later date.
All Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar flights are eligible for this offer, including domestic Jetstar services within New Zealand. Jetstar Asia flights from Darwin to Singapore are also included, but this particular policy does not apply to other flights operated by Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Pacific or Jetstar Japan.
Qantas also now says that it will waive change fees for Classic Flight Reward bookings, including for travel on partner airlines, for travel until 31 May 2020.
AFF members have reported that they are still being charged 6,000 Qantas points to cancel award bookings. Aside from this cancellation penalty, you will get back the rest of your points and all taxes & carrier charges paid.
Overall, the increased flexibility is great news for Qantas and Jetstar customers – although full refunds are not being offered (unless you booked a fully flexible ticket).
Airlines around the world have introduced more flexible policies in recent weeks to encourage forward bookings at a time when low cash flow could become a critical problem for airlines.
In order to try to stimulate demand, Qantas is also currently running a Double Status Credits promotion on flights to Japan and Singapore. But some AFF members find this promotion to be in poor taste. It is specifically designed to encourage people to travel overseas, and was released a day after the Australian government advised the public to reconsider all international travel.
How to claim your Qantas or Jetstar credit voucher
If you booked directly with Qantas, you can cancel your booking for a voucher without fee on the Qantas website. Simply log in to “Manage Booking”, select “Cancel” and then “Voucher”.
For Jetstar flights, you can go to the “Manage My Booking” page on the Jetstar website after 9am today to claim your voucher.
If you booked via a travel agent or third-party, you will need to contact them to process the voucher.
Qantas is currently advising customers not to contact its call centre due to high waiting times. Qantas has also turned off the chat feature in the Qantas App.
Although the Qantas call centres have been chronically understaffed for years, all airlines are having major issues at the moment. At this time, many airlines are asking customers to avoid calling them unless it’s urgent and/or you’re travelling in the next few days.
Some AFF members say they have had trouble claiming their voucher online, but others have had success.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Reconsider non-essential overseas travel – waiver of QF change fees?