With over 13 million members, the Qantas Frequent Flyer program is one of Australia’s largest loyalty programs. In fact, Qantas described the $341 million profit earned by the program as the ‘largest single positive contribution’ to the Qantas Group’s profits, in its 2020 annual report. At a time when opportunities for Australians to fly are much more limited than a couple of years ago, these results suggest that to keep its bottom line looking healthy, Qantas may prioritise looking after its Frequent Flyer members and ensuring they have as many opportunities as possible to earn and use Frequent Flyer points.
One example of this is that starting in March 2020, Qantas announced a series of bonuses to members to compensate for the shortfall in travel rewards resulting from the COVID-19 travel restrictions. Eligible frequent flyers received a 12-month extension to their frequent flyer status and, from July 2020 to March 2021, a 50% boost to their status credits, but has this consideration extended to points balances?
Canstar takes a look at the rules around the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme and offers some tips that could help you ensure you don’t lose any of your hard-earned Qantas Points while waiting for your travel plans to take off once more.
In this article, we cover:
Do Qantas Points expire?
Qantas Points expire when you don’t earn or use any points over an 18-month period. If flying is not on your radar right now, the silver lining is that Qantas gives its Frequent Flyer members a few other opportunities to earn and use points without needing to board a flight. For example, any Qantas Points you may earn from the airline’s program partners – such as credit card providers, Woolworths and BP – all count towards your account activity. This means, when you do your weekly grocery shop or fill up your petrol tank, the Qantas Points you may earn from these transactions over time will keep your account active and your points balance protected. In the same way, you could choose to spend some of your Qantas Points with partners including, hotels, car rental companies and even insurance providers, and doing so will keep your Frequent Flyer account active for another 18 months.
How do I know when my Qantas Points will expire?
If you want to know when your Qantas Frequent Flyer points are due to expire, you can log on to your online account on Qantas’ website and check your activity statement. The expiry date is determined by the date of your last activity, meaning it will be 18 months after the last time you either earnt or spent Qantas Points. If you subscribe to the monthly Qantas Frequent Flyer newsletter, and have opted in for account balance notifications, Qantas says it will remind you two months before your points are due to expire.
What should I do if my Qantas points are about to expire?
If your Qantas Points are about to expire, you can reset the expiration period for another 18 months by earning or spending at least one point. Booking a flight using points or taking a flight to earn points are the most obvious ways to ensure your account remains active, but Qantas has expanded the program in recent years to include credit cards, an online store, a wine shop, hotels, rental cars, supermarkets, petrol stations, utility providers and a wellbeing app. Through these partnerships, Qantas Frequent Flyer members can both earn and spend points, although it’s a good idea to consider the dollar value of the points you’re spending or earning, to make sure you aren’t paying too much for a product or service.
In other words, you may find that the amount of money you can save by spending your points varies where you spend them, and likewise the rate at which you earn points can vary based on where you shop or how you’re earning them. Should you decide that the Qantas Frequent Flyer program is no longer of value to you and it’s not worth your while to put any remaining points towards a purchase, there is also the option of donating your points to a selection of charities or transferring them to a family member. It’s important to note, family transfers are not considered an activity that will keep your account active for the purposes of extending your expiration date and you can generally only transfer points if your balance is above a certain level.
Can I get my expired Qantas Points back?
If your Qantas Points have expired, this means they are gone and no longer available for you to use, according to the Qantas Frequent Flyer terms and conditions. However, in a statement to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in October 2019, Qantas stated that members who contacted them after their points have expired may be offered a “points recovery opportunity” if they meet certain eligibility criteria.
The criteria include that the member’s points must have expired less than 12 months before they contacted Qantas, and the member must earn a minimum of 2,500 points through two different sources within six months of accepting the “points recovery opportunity”, in order for the expired points to be recovered. According to Qantas’ statement, one option is to shop using a Qantas Points-earning credit card and book a stay at a hotel partnered with Qantas to earn the required 2,500 points. The statement advised that points may also be recovered due to “exceptional circumstances”, such as a medical condition or “other such compassionate grounds”.
Bear in mind that at the time of writing, Qantas’ Frequent Flyer terms and conditions on its website do not mention this concept of a points recovery opportunity, so before your points expire it could be worth checking with Qantas what your recovery options could be based on your situation.
How could COVID-19 affect my Qantas Points?
Qantas has advised its members to keep their Frequent Flyer accounts active by earning and spending points with its partners, or through its online Qantas shop, whilst the pandemic restricts domestic and international travel. As restrictions on interstate and trans-Tasman travel have begun to ease, members may also be able to start spending points on eligible flights or flight upgrades once again. Naturally, Qantas suggests travellers should check the latest state and/or federal government travel restrictions before they fly.
While Qantas has provided extensions and bonuses to help Frequent Flyer members retain their status credits, this isn’t the case for points balances, so the 18-month expiry period continues to apply. For further information, you may like to visit the Qantas website to check for COVID-19 travel updates.
Although you can spend as little as $1 to keep your account active for a further 18 months and earn points without spending a cent on the Qantas Wellbeing app, it’s a good idea to consider your own financial situation. Ultimately, it may not be worth your while spending money you wouldn’t have otherwise just to keep your Qantas points balance active, particularly if you have used it so infrequently in the past that your points have almost expired.
Cover image source: Iryna Kalamurza/Shutterstock.com