Aviation

Qantas declines to reinstate Frequent Flyer points to cancer sufferer

Hannah Edensor

Australian traveller and long-time Frequent Flyer with Qantas, Elizabeth Greenhalgh, is urging the national carrier to reinstate her FF points after they expired while she recovered from treatment for ovarian cancer.

According to a Fairfax report, Greenhalgh​ received an email warning her that her 150,672 Frequent Flyer points would expire at the end of October 2017. Those points clock up more than enough to take her from Sydney to London and back in Economy.

Due to her health condition, Greenhalgh​ neglected to notice or respond to the email warning, and is now pleading for her points to be restored to her.

Per Fairfax, Greenhalgh​ wrote to the Airline Customer Advocate, a mediator between consumers and airlines, however was unable to persuade Qantas to bend its FF rules. Qantas responded by saying it had offered a “fair and reasonable” remedy.

Following Greenhalgh emailing Qantas her medical records, Qantas responded with the offer of a remedy to reinstate points by taking part in a points challenge. Per Fairfax reports, this process would require her to build up 2500 points in six months through the use of a Qantas card or having Woolworths rewards points converted.

However, Greenhalgh estimates that will cost her thousands of dollars. While Qantas told Fairfax it could not publicly comment on individual cases, a response from Qantas, seen by Fairfax, stated this offer was “a discretionary gesture of goodwill” that was not included in its terms.

“While we certainly appreciate Dr Greenhalgh’s very difficult circumstances, according to our terms and conditions, points are not reinstated after they’ve expired,” said the Qantas response, as seen by Fairfax Media.

“Having given Dr Greenhalgh a solution that we consider fair and reasonable, we don’t think that compensation is appropriate.

“The goodwill challenge gives Dr Greenhalgh the opportunity to re-engage with our program, which is what any member must do to keep an account active in the first place, so we’re not asking for anything that’s hard to achieve.”

The Frequent Flyer terms and conditions state that members must remain active, and points will expire at the end of the 18th consecutive month that they are not redeemed or earned. They also state that members will be given 60 days notification of the impending expiry date.

“Points cannot be re-credited once they have expired,” the terms state.

 

“I would have expected somebody who’s been a frequent flyer for 16 years to be treated somewhat more flexibly and with more compassion,” Dr Greenhalgh told Fairfax.

 Her husband Michael added, “My wife and I have been married for 51 years, and I’m not having her neglected and insulted by Qantas”.

 

The Airline Customer Advocate has, per the publication, requested Qantas to take one final review of Greenhalgh’s case.


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