Singapore Airlines Saves the Day After Qantas Blunder

Singapore Airlines Saves the Day After Qantas BlunderSingapore Airlines has come to the rescue after a Qantas blunder that left an AFF member seeing red.

fitzy recently decided to change a Classic Flight Reward booking made with Qantas. Upon calling the Qantas call centre, this member was told that the change would cost 5,000 Qantas points, but that they would receive a refund of $270 due to the lower fees and taxes on the new itinerary. Instead of receiving the refund as promised, this member’s credit card was charged an extra $593.53 for the change.

Understandably upset, fitzy contacted Qantas again to ask for an explanation. The airline acknowledged that the price previously quoted by the Qantas call centre representative had been incorrect. However, they declined to honour the previous quote, stating that the amount charged was in fact the correct price.

On calling the Contact Centre I was advised that this amount was correct and that the agent I had spoken to last week had been incorrect in advising me that I would be receiving a refund due to an issue with how the internal workflow tool presents pricing changes, and that the correct taxes on the Doha flight are $593.

I asked to change back to my original HEL route but was advised that this is not possible as there are no Business award seats available any more. As an alternative, I then requested that Qantas honour the price they had given me over the phone. This request was also refused, after referring to their supervisor.

By this time, there was no longer any award availability on the original flights. So reversing the change was not an option. The only other options provided by Qantas were to change to flights with timings that didn’t work, or to cancel the booking. The airline repeatedly refused to refund the additional charge.

Some AFF members suggested that fitzy take the matter to the Airline Customer Advocate. The industry-funded “ombudsman” can help you to get a satisfactory response from the airline if they are refusing to help you.

In this case, however, fitzy decided to simply cancel the Qantas booking and book a new award ticket on Singapore Airlines. The best part is that taxes and carrier charges with Singapore Airlines were around $1,000 lower than Qantas wanted for the same route!

Thanks again for all the advice – I called again and they refused to do anything (again). Thankfully I found some SQ J awards on a similar route/day so got Qantas to cancel the ticket (they waived the cancel fees). Overall I’m still 5k points in the hole from the initial change fee but I have given up on that one.

The kicker – the SQ taxes total AUD$115 compared to the $1100 I’m being refunded from QF so even after a couple of extra nights accommodation I’m still better off (and I get a longer holiday too!)

fitzy never did receive a refund from Qantas for the 5,000-point change fee paid when making the original change to the Qantas booking.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Contact Centre mistake on award taxes and surcharges


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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]