One annoyance when buying flights on Qantas.com is that they hit you for a payment fee when you pay by credit card. This can be up to to $11 for a domestic booking, or $70 for an international booking. While the fee is small, they are charged per person per booking, so if there are multiple passengers on a booking, the fees can really add up.
Thankfully, there are ways of avoiding these fees, and in this article, I will look at these options.
Qantas officially lists a few ways, some of which done by using payment methods other than credit cards. The downside to this, is that they don’t offer Qantas (or other loyalty) Points when they are used.
In order to avoid the surcharge, there are the following options:
- Gift voucher
- BPAY for bookings made at least 7 days before departure;
- Qantas UATP; or
The BPay and POLi options provide a way to use your own cash to buy a ticket – rather than using credit.
Qantas UATP is not relevant to most people, so we will skip a discussion on that.
This leaves us with Gift Vouchers.
Gift vouchers are interesting, as they allow you to use a credit card, while at the same time avoiding a credit card fee. As such, it is pretty much the normal way I buy Qantas tickets these days.
The advantage of using a credit card is that you can still earn points on your purchase. So, avoid the fee and get the points is a win to me.
There are a few downsides to this technique though:
- It is a double step process – you have to buy the voucher, then commence the booking process
- It is only valid for simple one way or return journeys that commence in Australia
- The booking engine that it uses seems to occasionally miss some fare options.
Using Gift Vouchers
In order to use this technique, you first need to purchase a gift voucher, and this is done on the gift voucher page at Qantas.com. You select to Buy the voucher, the number of passengers, and the value of the voucher per person. This should be less than the value of the airfare, although Qantas will re-issue a voucher for the unused funds if the full value is not used.
In most cases, I will limit myself to $50 per passenger. There is no real need to go over this amount, as even a $50 voucher will remove the credit card fees.
On the Details page, you enter your details as the purchaser of the gift voucher, and you can also enter yourself as the recipient. Note that the recipient details are the names of the passengers that will be on the tickets.
Following this step, you go to the payment page to pay by credit card. Qantas will give you a reference number for the voucher, and it may be worth recording this number.
Qantas will also email the electronic record of the voucher to you – although sometimes this seems to vanish into cyberspace.
Once you have the voucher, you can go back through the voucher page, and redeem the voucher. After flight selection, you again make payment via a credit card, and there is no credit card surcharge.
If making a booking more than 7 days prior to departure, Qantas provides a BPay option that allows you to transfer funds from your bank account to Qantas.
In order to use this option, you make your booking as normal, and at the Payment stage select BPay as the payment method. Qantas will provide a Biller number and a reference number for your booking. You use these numbers to initiate a BPay from your bank account to Qantas.
Due to the way in which BPay works, this can take a few days to process before you get your finalised booking.
POLi is probably the most overlooked payment option available. The system works through direct communication with your bank, and offers immediate transfer of funds.
You can use POLi for same day bookings, and there is no booking fee.