Qantas is now offering customers free flight vouchers in exchange for switching to a different flight time. The “Qantas Flight Switch” offers are being made to selected customers by SMS text message or email.
The invitations to switch to an earlier or later flight are generally being received within a week of the flight’s departure date. In return for changing flights, the customer receives a Qantas gift voucher for an amount specified in the Qantas Flight Switch offer. These vouchers can be used for one-way or return flight bookings originating in Australia and are valid for 12 months.
AFF member JohnK received a Qantas Flight Switch invitation last week for a flight from Sydney to Brisbane. Qantas offered a $70 voucher to both passengers on the booking to change to a flight 1-2 hours earlier. JohnK was originally booked on the 6pm flight (QF544) but was offered the choice to change to either the 4pm, 4.30pm or 5pm departure.
It appears that these offers are being made on flights that are likely to be fully-booked or even oversold. We checked the loadings of the four Qantas flights in question using Expert Flyer, and the 6pm service was clearly much more full than the earlier flights. At the time we checked, there were only 5 Economy seats and no Business seats left for sale on QF544. The earlier flights had many more seats available.
The Flight Switch invitations are a clever way for Qantas to free up seats on more popular flights. It would potentially cost Qantas much more than $70 to re-accommodate a passenger that is bumped from an overbooked flight. It’s also possible that Qantas will be able to re-sell the seat on the more popular flight and make more than the $70 back in the process. It’s also worth noting that it costs less for airlines to offer gift vouchers than it does to compensate the passenger with cold, hard cash. And customers can freely choose to either accept or reject the offer, so it seems like a win-win situation.
JohnK decided to accept this particular offer. However, by the time he did, the invitation had already been withdrawn. When sending Qantas Flight Switch offers, the airline only has a certain allocation of passengers it’s willing to move. The offer will typically be made to more passengers than the quota. Invitations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. So, if you’re interested in taking up one of these offers, you’ll need to be quick!
I answered the SMS within 47 minutes of offer and the immediate response was the offer was no longer available.
Other AFF members have received similar Qantas Flight Switch offers in the past. Stevo.1702 recently received a $65 Qantas voucher for catching a different Brisbane-Townsville flight on the same day.
2 months ago I booked my mother (Bronze) a QF redemption BNE – TSV. Couldn’t get the preferred flight time but got the next best. A week prior to the flight we received an email asking if she is willing to change flights (to the original preferred flight) and for her flexibility has been given a $65 gift voucher.
Have you received a Qantas Flight Switch invitation? Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: SMS with offer of flight voucher to change flights