Qantas has launched a double points incentive for customers to use up so-called “Covid credits”.

The carrier said that a total of $1.2 billion of travel credits issued during the pandemic have already been used, but almost 900,000 customers still hold $600 million in credits.

Analysis shows that 52 per cent of the unused Covid credits are worth between $100 and $499, with 15 per cent worth between $1,000 and $5,000, and 1 per cent worth over $5,000.

All Covid credits will expire at the end of 2023, and to encourage more customers to use them in the coming months, Qantas is offering double Frequent Flyer base points on flights booked with credits before February next year.

Note that the credit doesn’t need to cover the whole cost of the ticket for double points to be earned. Qantas gave an example where a family of four flying economy return to London could each receive an additional 18,600 bonus points by putting a single $50 credit towards the booking.

Meanwhile the airline has announced plans to increase domestic capacity on the east coast and between the east and west coasts from late March 2023.

Services between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane will increase by 57 additional return services per week, and more seats are being added to routes from Perth to Melbourne and Sydney through the use of widebody A330 aircraft.

The group now plans to operate at 104 per cent of pre-Covid domestic capacity levels in the fourth quarter of FY23.

Qantas recently brought a sixth refurbished A380 out of storage, as part of plans for the upcoming peak summer holiday period, including new and resumed routes, and the rostering of larger aircraft.

Qantas to bring sixth refurbished A380 out of storage

Commenting on the news Qantas Group chief customer officer Markus Svensson, said:

“The data shows most customers have already redeemed their Covid credits but there’s still a significant number who are yet to put them to use.

“Our systems were never designed to unwind literally millions of bookings due to a pandemic and there have been some obvious challenges for us and for customers that we’ve worked hard to fix.

“We’re committed to reminding customers to use their credits over the next year. Throughout the pandemic we’ve made using travel credits easier, including extending their expiry, and we’re now encouraging the remaining customers to put their travel credit towards their next holiday.

“We know that people start planning their next holiday while they are on their current one, which is why we’re launching this offer at the start of the Christmas break.

“With our operational performance now effectively back to pre-pandemic levels we’re gradually adding more domestic capacity from early next year. We’re the only airline flying widebody aircraft domestically and we know how much our customers in Business class value having a lie-flat seat on longer flights to and from Perth.”