Qantas has announced a fourth and “final” extension to its so-called “Covid credits”, allowing customers to complete their travel by December 2024.

A total of A$2 billion travel credits were issued by the group as a result of Covid-19 travel restrictions, with around A$1.2 billion having been used or refunded (where applicable) so far.

The validity of the credits have been extended three times, the last time until December 31, 2023, and earlier this year Qantas encouraged customers to use up remaining credits with a double Frequent Flyer base points offer.

Qantas encourages use of Covid travel credits with double points offer

But the group has now recognised that a further extension was required – Qantas and Jetstar customers are still required to make bookings using the credits by December 31, 2023, but the validity of travel has now been extended beyond that date.

The group said that as Qantas travel can be booked up to a maximum of 353 days in advance, customers with credit now effectively have until December 19, 2024 to complete trips booked using the credits.

Qantas also plans to launch a “Find My Credit” tool next month, “to help those who have lost track of their original booking details”.

The group said that the travel date extension made its credit programme “more flexible than our main domestic competitor and one of the most flexible among global carriers”.

Recent analysis showed that 52 per cent of the unused Qantas 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.

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

“We literally had millions of bookings that were cancelled during several waves of lockdowns and border closures. No airline had systems that were designed to manage that in a seamless way and we realise there’s been frustration for some customers as a result.

“Now that we’re flying again, a huge amount of effort has gone into making it easier to use your credit, from putting 250 specialists into our call centres to building dedicated websites.

“Our main goal is for everyone who has a Covid credit to be able to put it to good use, which is why we’re doing one final extension of the travel expiry date by 12 months. This is on top of all the system changes we’re making, so people can be reunited with credits they might have forgotten they even have.

“Whether it’s for a domestic flight in Australia or internationally, this year or next, the extension of the travel date really opens up more opportunities for our customers to plan their next trip.

“Our Covid credits can also be used on sale fares and frequent flyer flight promotions, so customers can get maximum value.”