Qantas and Jetstar have extended the period in which customers can use their COVID credits by an extra 12 months. The credit system is a carry-over from the unprecedented upheaval to borders and travel during the pandemic.
Credits have been extended three times since 2020, and this final extension to the travel date is designed to make it easier for customers to use their remaining credits for domestic or international travel.
Passengers will now have up until 31 December this year to book their travel, but have until December 2024 to complete their travel.
The Australian national flag carrier says that the most recent travel date extension makes the Qantas and Jetstar COVID credit program more flexible than their main domestic competitor.
Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer, Markus Svensson, said both Qantas and Jetstar are focused on helping customers use their credits.
“We literally had millions of bookings that were cancelled during several waves of lockdowns and border closures. No airline had systems that were designed to manage that in a seamless way and we realise there’s been frustration for some customers as a result,” said Mr Svensson.
“Now that we’re flying again, a huge amount of effort has gone into making it easier to use your credit, from putting 250 specialists into our call centres to building dedicated websites.
“Our main goal is for everyone who has a COVID credit to be able to put it to good use, which is why we’re doing one final extension of the travel expiry date by 12 months.”
“This is on top of all the system changes we’re making, so people can be reunited with credits they might have forgotten they even have.
“Whether it’s for a domestic flight in Australia or internationally, this year or next, the extension of the travel date really opens up more opportunities for our customers to plan their next trip.
COVID credits through the pandemic
During the pandemic, Qantas and Jetstar provided customers with more flexibility for flight changes and credit redemptions than ever before.
Each time borders closed, more travel credits were created as people were unable to take planned trips, amassing a total of $2 billion in credits over more than two years.
More than $1.2 billion of this has already been refunded or used for travel, with millions of dollars in COVID credits being accessed by customers each week.
There are two main types of Qantas COVID credits in the system – those that were triggered when the airline cancelled a flight (which are the most flexible for that reason) and those triggered when a customer elected not to travel.
All Qantas customers in the first category remain eligible for a cash refund of their credit should they prefer.
As lockdowns ended, Qantas switched back to pre-COVID terms and conditions from 1 October 2021.