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POINTS: Qantas & Virgin Australia extend free redemption changes to end 2022

POINTS: Qantas & Virgin Australia extend free redemption changes to end 2022

Well, this would be great news if there were any points redemptions available in any other class than economy!

However, I suppose if you already have a points redemption fare, then if you can find one to change to – good luck with that – you won’t pay any penalty. Also, if you choose to cancel that redemption fare, you won’t have to pay any penalty either.

a row of seats in a plane
Qantas Boeing 737 Business Class

Qantas rules

There are a couple of conditions you have to meet for Qantas Classic Rewards:

  • for Australian domestic Classic Flight Rewards before 30 September 2022 and you can change or cancel your booking fee-free until 30 September 2022
  • a Trans-Tasman or International Classic Flight Reward before 30 September 2022 and you can change or cancel fee-free until 31 December 2022

Meet those conditions, and there is no change or cancellation fee and you will get a refund of points including any used for fees, taxes and carrier charges.

a group of people walking in front of an airplane
Virgin Australia and new international partner, Qatar Airways

Virgin rules

Virgin has also extended its ‘Flexible Flying‘ policy, including with international partners for Reward Seats to 31 December 2022. That includes Virgin’s regional pacific and asian routes to Bali, Fiji and New Zealand. International partners include: Air Canada, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines. You can make unlimited changes without additional charges or cancellation fees, however, you will need to pay any fare difference, and booking fees will not be refunded.

If you booking with Virgin, and you are impacted by COVID-19, then you can also change, credit or cancel without penalty. That includes if within 7 days of your flight you contract, or are a close contact and required to isolate within the country you are booked to fly from, according to that region’s rules.

a plate of food on a tray
Virgin Australia Business Class meal

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

One of the advantages of travelling during COVID has been the lack of penalties for changing or cancelling flights. I know the reason to do this was the unpredictability of lockdowns, the catching of COVID or being a close contact, but it gave us a taste of flying flexibility.

Personally, I hope that the airlines consider this a permanent state of affairs. You could chop and change your booking only at the cost of an inevitably higher fare because your change was closer to the date of flying rather than because of a specific penalty. Will Qantas and Virgin Australia do this and face losing the penalty stream of income – probably not. Maybe REX should take it up as a point of difference?

I can wish, can’t I?

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