Qantas gets customers to pay surcharge during promo. What’s the scam?

by Kim Wingerei | Mar 4, 2024 | What's the scam?

Is Qantas jacking up fares to pay for a time-limited promotion? That is illegal under the Consumer & Competition Act administered by the ACCC. What’s the scam?

While a Jetstar flight attendant tells a customer to pay $5 for a pen to fill out a landing card, parent company Qantas appears to increase the price of fares during a promotion offering discounts. MWM has seen evidence that some customers who took advantage of the promotion paid up to 26% more for their flights than they otherwise would.

On February 21, Qantas launched a “double Status Credits offer” targeting its frequent flyer customers. The offer was available until February 27 for travel over the next 12 months. Status credits are the ‘currency’ used to determine the level of perks for members of Qantas’ frequent flyer program. According to PointHacks, a frequent flyer program specialist, the double status promos are very popular.

So far, so good. But a travel agent* has alerted MWM to several examples where the price of the fares went up during the promo period. In one example, an economy fare to the US was priced at $2139.50 the day before the promotion started and increased to $2696.50 on February 21. After the promo finished, the same fare for the same destination on the same date reverted back to $2139.50. That’s a 26% fare increase.

In another example, a return business class fare to the US was $16,106 during the promo period but $1300 less before and after the promo period. The $1300 comprised ‘surcharges’ not otherwise applicable to the same fare.

Fare during promo

Fare during promo

Fare before and after promo

Fare before and after promo

The mystery surcharge

The mystery surcharge

According to our source*, the normal fuel surcharge had been applied in both cases.

We have asked Qantas if this is normal practice during such promotions. If so, we would imagine that the ACCC would take a keen interest. The case against Qantas for allegedly selling cancelled flights is ongoing, with a case hearing scheduled in the Federal Court on 15 March 2024.

Welcome to West Air – our latest flight of Qantas fancy!

* The travel agent is known to MWM and has asked to remain anonymous.

Kim Wingerei is a businessman turned writer and commentator. He is passionate about free speech, human rights, democracy and the politics of change. Originally from Norway, Kim has lived in Australia for 30 years. Author of ‘Why Democracy is Broken – A Blueprint for Change’.

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