Qantas and Jetstar are giving customers an extra 12 months to use their COVID credits, which are 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.
Before today, customers had to book and complete their travel by 31 December 2023. Following this change, they will still have to book by 31 December this year but have until December 2024 to complete their travel.
This extension follows a number of other initiatives introduced over the past year to make using COVID credits easier. They include a dedicated Qantas help line with specially trained staff, monthly reminder emails on credit balances and prompts to use flight credits in the online booking engine. Qantas customers can call the Travel Credit Concierge Team on 1300 171 505 or visit the Travel Credits Hub. Jetstar customers can use LiveChat to locate their voucher details.
Today’s change also adds to offers introduced to encourage customers to book travel before their credits are due to expire, including a double points offer for Frequent Flyers last December and a Qantas “Find My Credit” tool, which will launch in April to help those who have lost track of their original booking details.
The travel date extension makes the Qantas and Jetstar COVID credit program more flexible than our main domestic competitor and one of the most flexible among global carriers – some of which have already expired their COVID credits.
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.
“Our COVID credits can also be used on sale fares and frequent flyer flight promotions, so customers can get maximum value,” added Mr Svensson.
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.
A recent analysis of the $800 million in COVID credits still held by Qantas and Jetstar customers shows:
- 76 per cent of COVID credits are worth less than $500.
- 24 per cent of COVID credits are worth between $500 and $5000.
- Less than 1 per cent of COVID credits are worth over $5000.
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. Qantas customers were still given the flexibility to switch their flight into credit if they chose not to travel, however the expiry date of those credits remains at the standard 12 months and is unchanged from today’s announcement.
Qantas and Jetstar customers holding a COVID credit will be emailed the changes to their vouchers. Customers who booked through a Travel Agent should contact their Agent directly to book travel using their COVID credit.
 At any point Qantas travel can be booked up to a maximum of 353 days in advance, which reflects system range. On 31 December 2023, this will mean travel can be booked up to 19 December 2024. Jetstar vouchers can be used to book any flight, which are generally made available for booking 12 months in advance of travel.
 As reported at Qantas’ half year results, around $800 million in COVID Credits were yet to be redeemed at 31 December 2022.
 Qantas’ Fly Flex allowed customers a fee free date change or flight credit on bookings made before 30 April 2022 for domestic travel and 30 June 2022 for international travel. Post these dates, all standard terms and conditions apply.
 Jetstar systems will be progressively updated and customers will be emailed changes to their vouchers by the end of March 2023.