Last updated: 8 January 2021
Due to the current COVID-19 travel restrictions, we regret to inform you that we have temporarily suspended our Award Flight Assist service.
Australia’s international borders are currently closed, with limited exceptions for essential travel and repatriation. At this time, there is no fixed end date for these restrictions. Some internal Australian state borders are also closed.
Some airlines are still operating limited flights for repatriating travellers or those with a travel restriction exemption. Many more airlines are currently selling tickets for international flights scheduled later in the year. However;
- It is very likely that many of the flights currently scheduled will be cancelled between now and the departure date
- Australia has not yet indicated when quarantine-free international travel will be allowed to resume, and continues to extend each travel ban when it is due to expire every 3 months
- Some airlines are actively bumping ticketed passengers off international flights bound for Australia due to the Australian government’s international arrival caps (which were further reduced on 8 January 2021)
- Many travel insurers will not cover claims relating to COVID-19, nor any claims for overseas travel in general while the Australian government’s “do not travel” warning for all other countries remains in force.
Therefore, we cannot in good faith recommend booking international flights at this time.
If you’re thinking about booking flights for later this year or 2022, our recommendation is to wait until there is more certainty surrounding the resumption of normal international travel. You could book your flights now, but you’ll likely end up having to deal with cancellations & flight changes down the track if the airline cancels your flight and/or travel restrictions are not lifted in time. And as we’ve already seen, many airlines are taking months to refund money for cancelled flights (and some airlines are not refunding tickets at all).
Don’t worry about award availability – although we normally recommend booking around 11 months in advance, COVID-19 has thrown the usual rules out the window. We expect there will be ample award availability once travel restrictions are eased, as airlines may initially struggle to fill their planes.
If you do choose to book award travel now, make sure you can easily change and/or cancel your ticket. Qantas Frequent Flyer, for example, is at least allowing free changes/cancellations on Classic Flight Reward bookings until 31 March 2021, and this deadline may continue to be extended until the pandemic is over.
We continue to monitor this situation closely, and we very much look forward to resuming our Award Flight Assist service once international travel restrictions are eased. Just like you, our team can’t wait to travel overseas again! In the meantime, you can keep up with the latest travel news & updates at Australian Frequent Flyer.
Thank you for your understanding. If you need any assistance, please contact us.