Qantas fee drop won't reach NZ

LIAM HYSLOP
Last updated 17:51 26/06/2013

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Travellers' hopes that a move by Qantas to reduce credit and debit-card flight booking fees would lead to changes in domestic fees on this side of the Tasman have been dashed.

Qantas has announced it will reduce its Visa and MasterCard debit fees from A$7.70 to A$2.50 (NZ$9.20 to NZ$3) for domestic and trans-Tasman bookings.

It will also drop its credit card booking fee for domestic and trans-Tasman flights by 70 Australian cents to $A7.

While those changes would affect people flying in and out of Australia with Qantas, it appears no changes are in store in the New Zealand domestic market.

Qantas offshoot Jetstar will keep its credit and debit-card booking and service fees at $5 for domestic, $8 for trans-Tasman and $12.50 for long-haul international flights for the time being.

It was completing a regular review of this policy, a spokesperson said.

Jetstar offered two ways of completing a payment without a booking and service fee, the spokesperson said.

They were direct internet banking restricted to at least 14 days before departure or POLi direct payments, a real-time electronic funds transfer which can be used any time before departure.

Air New Zealand's card booking fee, according to their online booking service, is $4 for domestic, $6 for trans-Tasman and $17.50 for long-haul international.

Customers can use POLi or an Air New Zealand Travelcard to avoid the fees.

Air New Zealand did not intend to review its card payment fee structure, a spokesperson said.

Australian consumer watchdog, Choice, estimated last year Qantas was making a profit of about $A100 million a year on credit card surcharges after merchant fees.

The Commerce Commission relaunched an investigation into Air New Zealand’s credit card fees in February, after initially looking into them in early 2012.

The consumer watchdog was yet to finish its latest investigation, but would potentially release its decision next week, communications manager Allanah Kalafatelis said.

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