Qantas encourages Aussies to claim $400m in flight credits


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$400 million in COVID flight credits waiting to be claimed, one in four adults to pocket an insurance refund, and  one in two Aussies fail to shop around to save. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

$400 million in Qantas COVID credits waiting to be claimed

Remember the early days of COVID when we were given flight credits after airlines were grounded?

qantas launches new "find my credit" tool to help Aussies claim $400 million in flight credits

A whopping $400 million worth of these flight credits is still waiting to be claimed with Qantas alone - and they expire on December 31, 2023.

To encourage Aussies to use or lose it, Qantas has launched a new 'Find My Credit' online tool, which helps locate bookings up to three years old.

Qantas customers who book a flight before July 31, 2023, using COVID credits will receive double Frequent Flyer points.

Or you may be able to request a refund, with Qantas claiming it has streamlined its claims process.

Markus Svensson, Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer, explains, "The majority of the COVID credits we hold can be converted into refunds but we can't do it automatically as the credit cards used for the purchase as far back as 2019 may have expired."

Find My Credit can be accessed via the Qantas website. It can also be used to locate Jetstar vouchers.

You'll need to provide your original booking details and surname or email address. Trips paid for with COVID credits can be taken through to December 2024.

5.6 million Aussies to pocket an insurance refund

Money watchdog ASIC says more than 5.6 million Australians are owed cash from insurance companies following a spate of pricing failures that date back to 2018.

We're not talking nickel-and-dime stuff.

A whopping $815 million will be refunded.

Insurance Australia Group, whose brands include NRMA, RACV and Coles Insurance, faces the biggest remediation payment - a massive $447.2 million, to be shared across 4.2 million policies.

ASIC deputy chair Karen Chester says the pricing failures reflect complexity in pricing promises and practices and "persistent" underinvestment in systems, controls and data.

Chester adds, "Earlier action by insurers would have avoided much of the consumer harm we now see, with $815 million in remediation."

Only one in two shop around for a better deal

At a time when many of us are having to stretch our dollars further, research by Compare the Market (CTM) shows plenty of people aren't proactively chasing a better deal.

While the cost of fuel, groceries and rising electricity prices are the pain points that keep us awake at night, almost half of Australians (45%) say they haven't shopped around for a better deal to try and save during the past 12 months.

The big surprise is that lower income earners are less likely to shop around, despite having more to gain than those with bigger pay packets.

CTM's Manager of Money, Stephen Zeller, says, "What could be small change for some households could make a world of difference for people doing it tough."

With electricity prices set to jump by between 19.6% and 23.9% in NSW, South Australia and south-east Queensland, now is definitely the time to shop around and compare power plans.

Inflation dives - could we see rates on hold?

Inflation rose 5.6% in the 12 months to May 2023, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

It's a big drop from the peak of 7.3% in December 2022, and it takes us closer to the Reserve Bank's Goldilocks zone of 2-3%.

While some pundits are tipping this could see the Reserve Bank pause interest rates next week, there are no guarantees.

Michelle Marquardt, ABS Head of Prices Statistics, says, this month's annual increase of 5.6% is the smallest increase since April last year.

However, if items like fuel, fruit and vegetables, and holiday travel, which tend to have volatile prices, are excluded from the latest readings, inflation is sitting at 6.4%, meaning the decline is more modest.

The biggest downward push on inflation came from an 8% fall in the price of fuel in May.

NAB tackles financial abuse

In a bid to stamp out financial abuse NAB is updating its terms and conditions to allow bankers to cut-off customers who've been identified as committing financial abuse.

NAB's head of customer vulnerability Michael Chambers, says financial abuse is a common tactic used by perpetrators to control individuals.

"Concerns about financial abuse remain one of the top reasons customers get in touch with our customer support team," notes Chambers.

"If a NAB account holder is now found to be perpetrating financial abuse, we will be able to suspend or terminate their services."

Since January 2022, the bank has blocked more than 200,000 abusive transactions, using technology that searches for key words and phrases.

"Right now, we're blocking around 15,000 abusive messages each month sent through payment channels," Chambers adds.

NAB offers support to individuals who have experienced financial abuse through a range of initiatives including grants of up to $2,500 for customers fleeing domestic violence.

Customers who need support can contact NAB on 1800 701 599.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.