Qantas removes expiry on $570 million in flight credits


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Qantas flight number 4 from Honolulu, a Boeing 747-400 aircraft arrives at Sydney Airport on September 30, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. The Boeing 747, the "Jumbo Jet" celebrates its 50th birthday today having first rolled out of its custom-built assembly plant in Everett, Washington, USA on September 30th, 1968. The "Queen of the Skies" as she is affectionately called has been a favourite aircraft of millions of passengers for her entire flying life.  (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)
Qantas to update COVID refund policy amid ACCC lawsuit. Image source: James D. Morgan via Getty Images

Qantas, which came under fire from senators at a parliamentary inquiry into the cost of living over its outstanding travel credits earlier this week, will now scrap its December 31, 2023 cut-off date for refunds.

The airline told the inquiry Qantas had about $370 million worth of outstanding travel credits, but the wider Qantas Group, which includes Jetstar, had a further $100 million.

Qantas originally expected customers to cash in their credits by December 31, 2023 or risk losing them entirely, but after facing pressure in the wake of the inquiry, it has decided to allow customers to request a refund indefinitely.

“Today we’re scrapping the expiry dates on all travel credits that came out of COVID,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said in a video to customers on Thursday. “If you have a Qantas COVID credit, you can request a cash refund at any point in the future and if you have a Jetstar COVID voucher, you can use it for travel indefinitely.”

“These credits and vouchers will never expire. We’re doing this because we’ve listened.

“We know the credit system was not as smooth as it should have been.”

Alan Joyce

“And, while we’ve improved it recently, and extended the expiry date several times, people lost faith in the process. We hope this helps change that.”

At the same time, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced it launched action in the Federal Court, alleging Qantas engaged in false, misleading or deceptive conduct, by advertising tickets for more than 8,000 flights that it had already cancelled but not removed from sale.

It’s also alleged that, for more than 10,000 flights scheduled to depart in May to July 2022, Qantas did not notify existing ticketholders that their flights had been cancelled for an average of about 18 days and in some cases up to 48 days. The airline could face tens of millions of dollars in penalties.


In response to the action, Qantas said the period in question was a time of “unprecedented upheaval for the entire travel industry”.

“All airlines were experiencing well-publicised issues from a very challenging restart, with ongoing border uncertainty, industry-wide staff shortages and fleet availability causing a lot of disruption,” Qantas said in a statement.

“We have a longstanding approach to managing cancellations for flights, with a focus on providing customers with rebooking options or refunds. It’s a process that is consistent with common practice at many other airlines.

“We will examine the details of the ACCC’s allegations and respond to them in full in court.”


Earlier this month, Qantas Group posted its first full-year statutory profit after tax since FY19, and claims it plans to share benefits with employees and shareholders.

The company revealed it has set aside about $340 million to reward its more than 21,000 staff, including the granting of up to 1,000 Qantas shares (up to a value of $6,000) each, $500 staff travel credit and a $5,000 cash payment to eligible employees as new enterprise agreements are finalised.

Forbes Australia has reached out to Qantas for comment.

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