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Qantas defends airpoints policy amidst complaints

Author
Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 6 March 2019, 5:29PM
A New Plymouth man lost 400,000 airpoints he had accumulated over 16 years. (Photo / Supplied)

Australia's largest airline Qantas says the notice it gives customers as part of its Frequent Flyer programme is adequate and it won't introduce new measures for warnings before air points expire.

This despite a number of complaints from customers who claim their points disappeared without warning.

Yesterday it was reported a New Plymouth man who had been saving his Qantas air points for 16 years was horrified to discover all 400,000 of them had expired - despite being advised on multiple occasions that they would not.

The points he had accumulated, according to Qantas' website, were enough to buy about nine one-way tickets between Melbourne and Los Angeles (excluding taxes).

He was frustrated that when he contacted Qantas he was presented the option of being able to "buy back" the points through the further accumulation of points.

The Herald's inbox was flooded with complaints and stories of people in similar situations, who claim their air points had expired without warning.

Two Qantas Frequent Flyer customers contacted the Herald and said they had each had 100,000 points saved which they said had been wiped without notice.

Another reader said she was in a similar situation having had over 90,000 points wiped "without warning or any kind of notice", and given the option to buy back the points.

A handful of others complained about similar experiences on the Air New Zealand's air points programme.

Qantas air points only expire if members do not use or earn at least one point within an 18 month period.

A Qantas spokeswoman countered claims that the customers had not been notified.

"We do give everybody notice of points expiring so I think the people that are saying they didn't get any notice have again obviously not been engaged in the programme."

She added that warnings to frequent flyers - by way of email, on the Qantas app and a banner on members' online accounts page - were sufficient.

Qantas' air points programme was generous and its points did not expire after four years like other airlines' programmes, which is why Wallace was able to save his points for over 16 years, she said.

"There are obviously multiple different ways that you can contact somebody and these are the three ways we have selected to do so at the moment, and that's why we encourage people to keep their details updated," the spokeswoman said.

"We're always looking at ways we can improve the programme and so it may be something that does come up in the future but at the moment this is what we're doing."

More than 12 million people are signed up to Qantas' Frequent Flyer programme.

Offering buyback schemes to reinstate points was about getting customers to participate in the programme, she said.

She said the airline gave customers a 60-day warning before their points are due to expire.

 

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