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Using travel credits: how do they stack up?

by on April 1, 2022
 

Claiming travel credits can be a challenge at the best of times, but as we come out of the pandemic, it’s time to redeem all those credits you’ve collected but been unable to use. Check out how people are faring in this UPDATE.

Claiming travel credits post-covid

One important thing to note: You must always deal with the airline directly before you make a complain to any higher authority. Only after you have exhausted these avenues, should you contact the appropriate authority in the country where you booked.

In Australia the Airline customer service can assist you. This is a government body.

In Malaysia, the Malaysian Aviation Commission will assist with complaints.

In the EU, travellers rights are well protected, whether your credits are for air, sea, road or rail transport. This site details the rights and provides forms for making claims.

For India, you can download the information you need at the Ministry of Aviation portal.

Singapore’ s Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS)  doesn’t seem to have any specific aviation related complaints portal. If you have a dispute with an airline that you have been unable to resolve directly, you can seek help from the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE).

Qantas

Although Qantas has been getting a bit of a bad rap for offering only higher fare scales to some people trying to use their travel credits, the airline has refuted this, saying people will get exactly what they paid for. The article indicates that Qantas has made changes to the rules for claims made on flights booked after 30th September 2021, whereby flight credits can no longer used to make multiple bookings, but only for an equivalent or more expensive seat, which must be used within 2 years from the original booking, before the end of 2023.

However, their website indicates that this is not the case and that they may be used for multiple bookings and for any number of passengers.

Using your Qantas credits

  • Book your flight.
    • on the ‘Payment’ page, select ‘TravelPass and Credit’ on the payment panel
    • enter your details.
  • No card payment fees apply when booking online.

Please note that

  • Qantas Credits are non-transferable.
    • However you may book flights for someone else
  • Qantas Credits can only be redeemed at qantas.com or through your local Qantas office. You can also contact Qantas Help and Support.
  • If you have a complicated booking e,g. multiple sectors as in a round the world ticket (or similar), it’s probably easier to contact their Call Centre.
    • Be warned though, it may be easier to talk to someone, but you could be in for a long wait getting through.

Jetstar

Do you have a credit voucher for flights with either Jetstar Australia or Jetstar Asia? They will honour Jetstar Airways (JQ) and Jetstar Asia (3K) credit vouchers, even those with expiry dates to 9th March 2022. These have a new expiry date of 31st December 2022. If your flight was impacted by COVID-19 from 17th March 2021 on, it will be valid for 18 months.This has been updated in their system.

You can redeem the value listed on your voucher when booking Jetstar flights or making changes/adding extras to an existing Jetstar booking. If you have multiple vouchers, they can be used together on the same booking. They can also help you if you made your booking through a third party like a travel agent.

This page is very helpful with lots of answers to FAQ. It also steps you through the booking process.

Virgin

If you’ve got Virgin Atlantic tickets you need to change, they offer this without an admin fee charge until August 2022. Claim travel credits as you make your booking. There does not seem to be any FAQ on this process. You can also use points and earn credits from your instagram holiday poses.

Virgin Australia travel credits are easier to use. Their dedicated page is well laid out and easy to navigate.

AirAsia

AirAsia is ramping up its services as confidence returns and international borders reopen. You have two years from the time you acquired them to use your travel credits. We’ve also done a quick summary here. Your Credit Account is non-transferrable once it’s been issued, so you may not transfer any of your Credit Account amount to others travelling with you on your original booking. However, you can use your Credit Account to book new flights for other people including friends and family.

AirAsia X has resumed its commercial service between Kuala Lumpur and Sydney since 14th February. You may reinstate an existing flight booking or utilise your credit account to book the flights, which are currently operating once a week.

Using AirAsia travel credits AA and AAX

You can claim your credits during the payment part of the booking process, where you can also utilise BIG points. Check the status of your credit account when you log into your account, it’s listed un the pull down under your account name. You can also get help 24 hours a day via AVA, AirAsia’s multilingual virtual Allstar.

All their fees & charges and fares table are available here, although the fares do not include fuel surcharges which are separately identified and may be added or removed.

MAS including Firefly & MASWings

Malaysia Airlines has given us refunds twice during the pandemic, but both times, these were for flights booked that were cancelled by the airline close to the flight date. However, many others we know have been issued credit account vouchers which must be booked by 30th June and utilised by 31st December 2022.

If you are holding their MH E-vouchers, these do come with some conditions. We suggest that you check that the conditions as per your account have been updated to reflect the information on this page. One issue that has been reported to us is that the vouchers are non transferable and don’t seem to be able to be combined, which may be an issue if you have quite a few.

Malindo Air

Been holding travel credits from Malindo, but can’t use them because your routes aren’t yet available? The airline is slowly extending their network again as borders begin to reopen. They will also be returning to Australian skies from 27th March, so you can make use of those travel credit vouchers.  Malindo Air have released their updated terms and conditions. It’s a long list, covering everything from voluntary cancellation (i.e., by you) to involuntary (e.g. flight cancellation) to various ancillary items. The terms for using your travel voucher are all listed here. You may like to contact them if you need further information as the time frames are quite tight.

Singapore Airlines

Using Singapore Airlines travel credit seems to be one of the more flexible options. They offer complimentary rebooking for all tickets issued up to 31st March 2022 and seem to have a mix of credits and refunds and the page in the link gives a number of examples. We have had to use their booking system once in the past year and found it easy to use.

Other airlines travel credits

As you can see from the above, the process for claiming and using travel credits is fairly similar across airlines. However, as a general rule, you should:

  • Check the terms and conditions on your ticket.
  • Search their website for ‘travel credits’
  • Check their ‘Manage Booking’ page
  • Most travel credits have an expiry date, so ensure you don’t waste them
  • Be persistent

If you are affected by border closures or other factors beyond your control check to see if there’s an extension to the validity date.

Travel credits for Agent bookings

If you booked through an agent, that’s your first port of call. If they’re not helping, or worse, have disappeared for whatever reason, then you have reduced options.

Early in 2020, as Covid-19 border closures decimated the travel industry in many countries, many travel agents either closed shop, disappeared, or changed their refund and credit conditions. In at least one case of which we have personal knowledge the Agent changed the conditions relating to refunds and credits, to impose a huge (multiple times the price of the ticket) fee for any changes to the itinerary. They held to this despite the flights being cancelled by the airline because of border closures.

In this case it had been necessary to book through an agent as there was no direct flight on the required route and it was not possible to book on the airline’s website because of visa requirements in the transit country.

Fortunately this has a happy outcome, with the travellers receiving their full payment, but that was only as the airline (Qantas, thank you) agreed to intervene. It must be stressed though, that persistence was necessary, so even if it’s hard work, Do Not Give Up!

Happy travels everyone!

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