Qantas has announced an increase in the validity period of Qantas Gift Vouchers. As of March 31, any new Qantas Gift Vocuher will be valid for 3 years, rather than 1 year. Vouchers bought prior to March 31 retain their 1 year validity period.
In a brief note on the Qantas Gift Voucher webpage, Qantas write
Qantas Gift Vouchers issued on/after 31 March 2018 are valid for 3 years from date of issue, irrespective of the expiry date shown on the voucher.
The change brings the vouchers into line with new requirements set by the NSW government. These changes came into effect on March 31, and require most Gift Vouchers sold in NSW to have a minimum validity of three years.
Saving on Fees with a Qantas Gift Voucher
Qantas designed their Gift Vouchers to be given as, well, gifts. However, they contain a feature that can make it worthwhile to buy them for your own use.
That feature is that credit card fees are not charged. You are not charged a fee when you purchase the voucher. In addition, you are not charged a fee when you apply it to a booking.
These fees pop up when you pay for a booking using a credit or debit card. An the fees can add up. Qantas can slug you up to $11 for domestic flights or $70 for international flights. Even worse, if you gave multiple passengers in a booking, the fee is charged per passenger.
While there are fee free options, these often result in you forgoing the points you would earn from making a credit card payment. For example, paying with a Qantas American Express Ultimate card would rake in 2.5 Qantas Points per dollar on the booking.
Things to know
The first thing to keep in mind is that you can only apply Qantas Gift Vouchers to bookings that originate in Australia. They can be domestic or international, but they need to start out in Australia. For example, you can buy a Sydney – Auckland – Sydney flight. However, you cannot buy Auckland – Sydney – Auckland.
In addition, you can only use vouchers for simple one way or return journeys. You can’t apply them to multi-city itineraries.
Qantas have implemented their gift vouchers differently to the way you may think about gift vouchers. Effectively, in the Qantas world, they are a booking shell, with a credit attached.
This results in a couple of quirks in the way they work. The most important point here is that you have to book through a special voucher redemption process. You can’t just do a search and apply the voucher as a payment method at the end.
How they work
Buy a Voucher
First up, you need to purchase one. You do this at Qantas.com, where a dedicated page has been set up to purchase and redeem Qantas Gift Vouchers.
Once there, select the details of the voucher the click on ‘Buy Voucher’. If you are buying a voucher for someone else, you can select from one of the values provided. On the other hand, if you are buying one for your own purpose, there is usually little to be gained by buying vouchers with a value greater than $50.
If you do buy an high-priced voucher and you buy a fare less that the value of the voucher, Qantas will issue a new voucher with the remaining funds. However, this is process that seems to have its own issues. I avoid these by just buying $50 vouchers.
From there, you simply make your way through some pages asking for recipient details and finally payment. Once you have completed the process you will be given a booking reference number. In addition, the voucher will be sent to the email address you gave.
I find it worthwhile to record the booking reference, as sometimes, the email does not arrive. While Qantas can track it down, it is a bit of a hassle.
Redeem a Voucher
To redeem a voucher, you first go to the page where you bought the voucher. Select redeem and enter the travellers surname and booking reference.
From there, you will be presented with a search screen to enter your travel details. This page is a little like the old Qantas search engine, and while it mostly presents the same options, sometimes there are minor variations.