NEWS: Qantas stops all international flights, Lounge & T3 update, Avios booking refunds, Amex Centurion lounges closing & more

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These are unprecedented times for travellers. Information is changing constantly and no one knows how long it will all last. If you have a question about what to do with your current travel. please email us at [email protected] and I will try to cover them in a future article. I can’t promise to know all the answers, as sometimes even the airlines aren’t sure!


Qantas stops all international flights until end of MayQantas a380 sydney

Earlier this week, cuts to 90 per cent of international flying and about 60 per cent of domestic flying were announced by Qantas and Jetstar. With the Australian Government now recommending against all overseas travel from Australia, Qantas are taking drastic action. regularly scheduled International flights will continue until late March to assist with repatriation and will then be suspended until at least the end of May 2020. 

More than 150 aircraft will be temporarily grounded, including all of Qantas’ A380s, 747s and B787-9s and Jetstar’s B787-8s.  

Essential domestic, regional and freight connections will be maintained as much as possible.

I think this gives us all an idea of how long this global crisis is likely to affect our ability to travel. 


Concorde room to close and T3 closure

Concorde Room bar at Heathrow

I previously reported that the North and T5B Club BA lounges would close. According to staff in the Concorde Room, that is due to also close for an undetermined period of time.

It has also been unofficially confirmed that Heathrow T3 will close from 29 March. I expect a similar announcement regarding T4 shortly. 


Avios booking refundsAvios bonus

If you were struggling to get a refund for an Avios booking with BA in the last 24 hours as it kept taking you to a voucher the issue is now fixed. Here are some pointers as Avios booking seem to cause the most confusion.

  • If your flight is cancelled you will receive all the money back and the Avios or you should be able to get rebooked for free if you wish.
  • If your flight is not cancelled you can cancel the booking online up to 24 hours beforehand for a £35 fee. You will receive all the Avios and cash back.
  • If you don’t want to pay the £35 fee you can either change the booking for free or take a voucher to rebook in the future up to when check in closes. You can apply online here.
  • If you part paid with Avios and the flight is cancelled you will get both returned. If you are going for the voucher option, you get the price of the booking before the Avios were deducted, as the voucher, no Avios refunded.


Amex Centurion lounges closing

In light of the spread of COVID-19 Amex are temporarily closing all The Centurion Lounge locations, starting on Saturday, 21 March 21, 2020. American Express will provide notice on their Centurion website here and on the Amex Mobile App when locations reopen.


Mandarin Oriental booking flexibility

Mandarin Oriental bar at sunset

If you wish to cancel any advance purchase or guaranteed booking for stays until 30 April 2020, Mandarin Oriental hotels will waive any associated change or cancellation fees up to 24 hours prior to arrival. Changes to existing reservations will be subject to availability and any rate differences. If your booking was made via an online travel agent or other third-party travel professional, you should contact the booking provider directly to make amendments.

You can find the official announcement on their website.



14 Comments on "NEWS: Qantas stops all international flights, Lounge & T3 update, Avios booking refunds, Amex Centurion lounges closing & more"

  1. I’ve just tried again to cancel my Avios flights (Cathay) and it’s still taking me to the voucher page 🙁
    Any suggestions?

    • If the flight is imminent then I’m afraid the only thing you can do is call. Although I have heard that queues are a little better now. However, have you tried another browser or clearing your cookies in case that’s still causing the issue.

  2. contact CC company, explain situation and refund that way

  3. Had to ring BA yesterday AM at 07.25. Cancelling the Datai Langkawi!! Got through after 40 mins. Wrong dept, but was internally transferred. Full refund to card agreed within 5 mins. Likewise Malaysian Airways long haul from LHR and internal from KUL – all agreed for full refunds within minutes. Just waiting to see if HEX and Chiltern Rail do the same!!

  4. Michelle, I have a 241 booking in F to DXB in both directions for early June. If they cancel us, do they have to keep rebooking us in F regardless of reward availability? Or can they just say “here is your voucher, Avios and cash, your flight is cancelled, good luck finding more reward seats”.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi. I would say they have to rebook you regardless according to their T&C but slightly grey area. I have asked BA to come back to me on this one.

  5. Hi Michelle, are you sure the online Avios refund is fixed? I’m also still getting the Voucher Redirect irrespective of browser, cookies etc.

    I’m guessing they had to ‘hack’ the website to get the Voucher thing in place so just decided to override all bookings as that was easier – or it could have been a ploy, but I doubt it.

  6. Yep. Still seeing the same issue across browsers and mobile app. Did manage one refund using the Javascript workaround.

  7. Hi Michelle, I have a 2 for 1 companion ticket booking. Can I cancel online and will I get the 2 for 1 voucher back plus the avios plus the taxes paid in cash?

  8. I used Avios in total payment car hire, where do I stand as when booked it said non-refundable?

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