The airline faced criticism for the hard-line policy that stipulated members’ accounts would be immediately terminated and all points forfeited unless transferred before a person’s death, which was the case of Sydney grandmother Rhonda.
Members were told, starting from October, points could be transferred to an eligible family member within 12 months of their death, but there had been no further information provided about how that could be done. Until now.
Do you have a story to tell? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens to my Qantas frequent flyer points when I die?
A family member can now make an application to have a deceased member’s unexpired points transferred to their own Qantas Frequent Flyer account.
The application must be made within 12 months of your death by an executor or administrator of your estate, “with your authority”.
It would need to be in writing with proof of death supplied.
The points would have the same expiry date as the other points in that family member’s account.
The deceased member’s account will then be closed.
But who is an eligible family member?
Qantas defines an ‘eligible family member’ as someone who can ‘demonstrate to reasonable satisfaction’ they are any of the following:
Husband or wife
Parent or step-parent
Domestic or de-facto partner
Child, including foster or step-child
Brother or sister
Half brother or half sister
Daughter-in-law or son-in-law
Brother-in-law or sister-in-law
Father-in-law or mother-in-law
Aunt or uncle
Nephew or niece
What happens to my Qantas status credits when I die?
Unlike points, status credits cannot be transferred. This means they will expire when a member is confirmed dead.
Why has this been an issue?
Many couples or families accrue points together from joint spending accounts and simply nominate a single account holder.
This meant grieving loved ones could be stripped of points they’d helped earn, which was the case for Sunshine Coast woman Julie Jenner who lost thousands of points when her husband died earlier this year.
The move brings Qantas in line with rival Virgin, which lets Velocity points pass on to a loved one, however it must be instructed to do so in a will.
Most airlines have a similar policy of forfeiting points on the death of a member because the points are not considered the member's property. Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and Emirates have discretionary policies that may allow points to be transferred.
The Qantas change comes as the embattled airline funnels $80 million from its profits into easing customer “pain points”.
What has Qantas promised to change for customers?
New CEO Vanessa Hudson promised a review of all customer policies to “make sure they’re fair”.
Hudson admitted the embattled airline had "let you down in many ways" but promised to improve aspects of the following:
Better contact-centre resourcing and training
An increase in the number of seats that can be redeemed with Frequent Flyer points (more on that here)
More generous recovery support when operational issues arise
A review of longstanding policies for fairness (including the transfer of points in the case of death)
Improvements to the quality of in-flight catering
Backlash came to a head in August this year when Qantas revealed a $2.47 billion pre-tax profit after a marked drop in the quality of customer service.
There's been a class-action lawsuit over refunds during the pandemic, an ACCC investigation they've hit back at over selling cancelled "ghost flights" and $2.5 billion in government subsidies the airline has refused to pay back.
Qantas was found to have illegally sacked 1,700 workers during the pandemic, a Federal Court decision that was upheld in the High Court in September.
Earlier this month Qantas enforced an average fare hike of 3.5 per cent for travellers as fuel costs increased in the face of the Middle East conflict and a weak Aussie dollar.