Qantas cuts fuel surcharges, but it’s not all good news

For the second time this year, Qantas has cut its fuel surcharges following an ongoing decline in fuel prices. These cuts will reduce the price of frequent flyer redemption tickets by up to 25%, depending on the route and travel class.

Our members are mostly pleased to see a reduction, however agree that Qantas’ fuel surcharge still remains very high despite the recent cuts. Flights to the United States saw the biggest reduction, with the fuel surcharge lowered by around 25%, however the surcharge still adds $430 to the cost of what is supposed to be a “free” ticket. Some routes saw reductions of a mere 3% for economy tickets.

Furthermore, our members are unhappy that the savings will not be passed on to customers redeeming their hard-earned frequent flyer points to fly in business or first class. Business and first class customers will continue to be slugged with a fuel surcharge at the higher rate of $670 for a return trip to the United States, and around $1,000 for a return flight to London.

So J and F pax still have to pay inflated fuel fines? Shame.

Fuel surcharges remain a pet peeve of frequent flyers as they need to be paid additionally to the points and other taxes required for a frequent flyer redemption ticket. Qantas charges one of the highest fuel surcharges in the world, much to the annoyance of its frequent flyers.

Better than nothing; but Qantas is still way up there in world of fuel fines.

By contrast, Virgin Australia does not levy a fuel surcharge at all. As a result, reward seats on Virgin Australia – as well as costing slightly fewer points in most cases – are significantly cheaper once the fuel surcharge add-on is taken into account.

From 1 July, Qantas also began absorbing fuel surcharges into their base fares – but only on regular revenue fares. This means it does not apply to reward tickets. This is good news for travel agents who earn a commission based on the base fare (and not the surcharge), however this will make little difference for flyers. Qantas now finds itself in a unique situation where fuel surcharges are levied on top of tickets bought with frequent flyer points, but not on regular tickets. This leads some members to question the legitimacy of the charge altogether.

Join the conversation HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]