CHOICE membership

Reward points rip-off

It will be interesting if Qantas respond and indicate what the other $181.76pp is. I wonder if it is the fuel surcharge alluded to on a number of websites. Surcharge is included in a paid airfares but may be added to the services and charges when QFF points are used. Is this reasonable?

It would be nice if the fees and charges could be paid with points so they are an efficient use of the points, but suggest that Qantas won’t do this as such charges/taxes are fixed costs and some are third party (not Qantas) charges. I expect that QFF won’t really want to pay for these when their own value in reality is QFF points…means that it is likely to be a real cost to Qantas rather than dealing in non-tangible QFF.

Will be interested in knowing the Qantas response if and when it comes through. You can post the whole response, with personal/flight information redacted, if you wish.


They offer that option, but surprise, it is not a value proposition. It is like an opaque product redemption

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The first response from Qantas was an automatic acknowledgement on 20 Feb. This was followed on the same day by an email that read:

"Dear Mr Xxxxxx,

Thank you for contacting the Qantas Frequent Flyer Service Centre.

Your email has been redirected to our Qantas Direct Contact Centre team for their specialised attention.

Did you know you can change your flight, check in online, add special requests, update your contact details, request a Frequent Flyer upgrade and more through Manage Your Booking at Our webchat team are on standby ready to help if you have any questions.

Alternatively, for your travel arrangements including Classic Flight Rewards or upgrades, you can contact Qantas Direct Contact Centres on 13 13 13. If calling from overseas, you’ll find your local contact number by visiting

Kind regards

Qantas Frequent Flyer Service Centre"

Today, 27 Feb, after waiting for one week, I replied to the above email and asked about a response to my question. Again I received an automatic acknowledgement. This had a different case number reference, even though my email quoted the original reference in the header. After about 5 ½ hours, I received the following email:

"Dear Mr Xxxxxx,

Thank you for contacting the Qantas Frequent Flyer Service Centre.

For new and existing Flight Reward and Reservations enquiries, please contact Qantas Direct Contact Centres on 13 13 13. If calling from overseas, you’ll find your local contact number by visiting

To find out more about earning and using points, please visit where you’ll also find details of your membership benefits, along with our latest news and offers.

Kind regards,

Qantas Frequent Flyer Service Centre"

Clearly my question has been completely ignored. For reference, here is what I asked:

“Refer Booking ABCDEF. This is a Frequent Flyer points booking from Gold Coast to Honolulu via Sydney and return to Sydney (not Gold Coast). There is a payment of $406.26 for each passenger for Fees and Charges.
For ALL 3 flights in this booking, would you please provide me with a detailed breakdown of these Fees and Charges in terms of the amount for each component such as Transportation Tax, Passenger Service Charge - Dom., Passenger Facility Charge, Immigration User Fee, Safety and Security Charge, Passenger Services Charge - Intl., Passenger Civil Aviation Security Service Fee, Passenger Movement Charge (PMC), Customs User Fee, APHIS User Fee and any other components.
Please reply by email.
Thank you & regards, Xxxxxx Xxxxxx”

In the absence of any meaningful response, the word arrogant springs to mind.

Does Choice have an interest in following this up? If not, should I maybe refer it to ACCC or some other body?


Hi @flight, I’ve shared your story within CHOICE for further consideration, and I can also recommend you to get in touch with our Help service (member service). I can also suggest getting in touch with your local fair trading or consumer affairs who are better positioned to deal with individual cases rather than the ACCC.


Thanks Brendan. I have sent in a request to Choice Help Service as you suggested. I’ll also think about whether Fair Trading is the place to go, as the situation isn’t really an individual case so much as a general opaque trading practice by Qantas. I’m not sure but maybe ACCC would be the way to go.


Well, I have referred the matter to ACCC. They have acknowledged the report and indicated that they usually reply within 15 business days. Hmmm we’ll see.


Just received a solicitation for a QF linked credit card . It shows a number of award ticket routes, including a 1-way SYD-LAX at 45,000 miles+$255.74 ‘taxes, fees, and charges’.

Curious on value I checked the Qantas fares leaving a month out.

A round trip would be 90,000 miles+$511 cash. A coach ticket can be had for $1,064 so the value of a mile is about ( $1,064-$511 ) / 90,000 = $0.00614, fractionally more than redeeming the miles for a product that is usually about $0.005. Fares quoted are for the buying while a classic reward is capacity controlled and might not be available.

If one did not have the ‘extra’ $553 above the ‘taxes, fees, and charges’ the value proposition for an award becomes compelling. Obviously the points value would be higher if you could get an award seat on a day with a higher fare, but.

Another award route shown is SYD-LHR at 60,000+$270.84 each way, or 120,000+ $541 round trip.

The fares are

Those miles are thus worth $0.006325 so it is approximately consistent.


Qantas fees for award redemption are substantially higher than most other carriers, it’s a bit of a rort really as most of the “fess and taxes” are usually just profit fees for them.

It’s often not worth redeeming non domestic economy flights on points as they are often not much cheaper than paying a full (discounted) fare AND you lose a swath of points.

However, comparing to Jetstar or other LCC (or even red-e-deal/discounted economy flights) isn’t fair either. The award(points) bookings are fully flexible tickets - you can cancel them for example and receive a full refund of points and charges, minus a small points fee of 5-6k points.

General rule of thumb is to redeem points for business and first class flights as this is usually a substantial saving and good use of points. For example, last week I had to redeem a flight from London to Perth (on qf10 the direct flight) at the last minute - 10 hours before it left - due to an emergency. It cost me 112k points + about $900AUD for a business class seat. The same seat was about $6000 if I paid cash.

Of course, the other issue with award flights is availability. Qantas isn’t great unless you have high status.

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