Frequently Asked Questions - Airlines and Travel Management Companies

Frequently Asked Questions - Airlines and Travel Management Companies

  1. What are the Whole of Australian Government Travel Arrangements?
  2. Is it mandatory for my entity to participate in and use the Arrangements?
  3. What are the benefits of the Arrangements?
  4. How can I make a booking?
  5. How can I make changes to an existing booking?
  6. Can I book charter travel through the Arrangements?
  7. Is it mandatory to book all air travel through the Arrangements?
  8. Can the Arrangements be used to book personal or leisure travel?
  9. Can I book air travel with an airline that is not a member of the WoAG Air Travel Services panel?
  10. Do entities participating in the Arrangements have to comply with the WoAG Travel Policies?
  11. Can I preference a particular airline or aircraft type when booking official air travel?
  12. What domestic fare types are available through the Arrangements?
  13. How are Tickets in Credit managed through the Arrangements?
  14. When are entities required to provide estimated travel expenditure for AusTender reporting purposes?
  15. How are Frequent Flyer Points managed through the Arrangements?
  16. Can travellers use LRPs to upgrade official travel?
  17. Should Status Credits and Loyalty Reward Program offers be declared as gifts?
  18. Can APS wide promotional travel offers be accepted by APS employees?
  19. What services are available through QBT?
  20. How do I access my itinerary, e-ticket and boarding pass?
  21. What do all the acronyms mean?
  22. Do the Arrangements include an option for "Flying carbon neutral"

Q1. What are the Whole of Australian Government Travel Arrangements?

A1. The Whole of Australian Government (WoAG) Travel Arrangements (the Arrangements) are coordinated procurements established by the Department of Finance (Finance) and comprise Deeds of Standing Offer for:

  • Travel Management Services
  • Domestic and International Air Travel Services
  • Accommodation Program Management Services
  • Travel and Card Related Services
  • Car Rental Services

Q2. Is it mandatory for my entity to participate in and use the Arrangements?

A2. The Arrangements are coordinated procurements and, in accordance with section 4.10 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs), participation in such arrangements is mandatory for Non-Corporate Commonwealth Entities (NCEs).

The following elements of the Arrangements are mandatory:

  • All domestic and international flights originating in Australia must be booked through QBT and paid for using either a Diners Club account (Corporate Travel Service Account or Diners Club card-in-hand) or by other financial arrangements as agreed with QBT (if your entity does participate in the arrangements with Diners).
  • All domestic accommodation and car rental must be paid using a Diners Club account (Corporate Travel Service Account or Diners Club card-in-hand) or by other financial arrangements as agreed with QBT (if your entity does participate in the arrangements with Diners).
  • All domestic accommodation is to be booked through the AOT Group - either through QBT or directly with the AOT Group (except in the instances where an entity pays its travellers an allowance for accommodation and where conference accommodation is provided in an all-inclusive registration).
  • All domestic car rental services are to be booked through Europcar or Thrifty - either through QBT or directly with Thrifty or Europcar. Exceptions to this are rentals in rural locations where Europcar or Thrifty do not have an outlet within a reasonable proximity to the required location. In such circumstances an alternative provider may be used.

Corporate Commonwealth Entities (CCEs) can elect to participate in the Arrangements with the agreement of Finance.

Q3. What are the benefits of the Arrangements?

A3. The Arrangements enable aggregation of government purchasing power to obtain better pricing and value for money outcomes, and reduce the administrative cost of procurement activities for entities and suppliers.  The Arrangements are also designed to promote simplicity and efficiency for official travel.
The objectives of the Arrangements are to:

  • Reduce the cost of supply of travel services to entities.
  • Continue to meet the business needs of entities.
  • Contribute to a competitive and viable travel industry.
  • Result in fair, equitable and transparent process.
  • Optimise government savings through cost reductions, improved efficiencies and promotion of behavioural change.

Q4. How can I make a booking?

A4. The Arrangements allow for travel to be booked via two channels:

Online: QBT offers an Online Booking Tool (OBT) - Amadeus e-Travel Management (AeTM) - which allows Travel Bookers to book air and land travel, car rental and accommodation quickly and efficiently online. Travel Bookers can use AeTM to book travel elements individually, e.g. air travel only, or make bundled' bookings comprising of air travel, car rental and/or accommodation. Travel Bookers should become familiar with the capabilities of the OBTto reduce instances where they require assistance from a travel consultant. Booking travel via the OBT is the most cost efficient booking channel.

Offline: Complex travel, such as group travel, VIP travel and charter travel, can be booked through QBT's consultant team via phone or email.

Q5. How can I make changes to an existing booking?

A5. Existing bookings can be changed online (via AeTM) or offline (with the assistance of a QBT consultant). The process of changing a booking will depend on how the original booking was initiated.

Bookings initiated online (via AeTM): Travel Bookers can use AeTM to make changes to bookings that were initiated online. AeTM allows changes to be made to air travel bookings before and after airlines have issued tickets.
Finance encourages Travel Bookers to use AeTM wherever possible as starting online and staying online' is the least expensive method of making and managing bookings.

Bookings initiated offline: Bookings initiated offline can only be changed via a QBT consultant. Bookings initiated online can also be changed via a QBT consultant. Changes made via a QBT consultant may attract amendment fees.

Q6. Can I book charter travel through the Arrangements?

A6. Yes. Charter travel can be booked through QBT. However, charter travel is not a mandatory element of the Arrangements and entities may book charter travel via alternate means. For the following reasons, Finance recommends that entities consider using the Arrangements each time charter travel is required:

  • QBT have extensive industry knowledge and awareness of airline licenses and safety credentials
  • QBT have access to competitive charter travel rates
  • Booking charter travel through the Arrangements consolidates reporting of travel expenditure

Q7. Is it mandatory to book all air travel through the Arrangements?

A7. All domestic air travel and all international air travel originating in Australia must be booked through the Arrangements. Air travel originating outside of Australia can be booked outside of the Arrangements. However, Finance recommends that entities consider using the Arrangements for all air travel, including air travel originating outside of Australia, for the following reasons:

  • QBT have extensive industry knowledge
  • The Arrangements include discounted fares and negotiated fare conditions for travel originating outside of Australia
  • Booking travel through the Arrangements consolidates reporting of travel expenditure

Q8. Can the Arrangements be used to book personal or leisure travel?

A8. No. The Arrangements can only be used for official travel.

Q9. Can I book air travel with an airline that is not a member of the WoAG Air Travel Services panel?

A9. Yes. The WoAG Air Travel Services panel is a non-exclusive arrangement and entities may use non-panel airlines.

However, entities must still adhere to Resource Management Guide No. 404 - Official Domestic Air Travel - Use of

Lowest Practical Fare and Resource Management Guide No. 405 - Official International Travel - Use of the Best Fare of the Day when booking air travel.

Q10.   Do entities participating in the Arrangements have to comply with the WoAG Travel Policies?

A10.   Yes. Participating entities must comply with the requirements of the following WoAG Travel Policies when booking official air travel:

  • Resource Management Guide No. 404 - Official Domestic Air Travel - Use of the Lowest Practical Fare (LPF)
  • Resource Management Guide No. 405 - Official International Air Travel - Use of the Best Fare of the Day (IBF)

Q11. Can I preference a particular airline or aircraft type when booking official air travel?

A11.   No. Participating entities must comply with the requirements of the LPF and IBF policies. Value for money is the overarching consideration when selecting air travel. Accordingly, entities must select air travel based on an impartial consideration of the available fares, not a personal preference for a particular airline or aircraft type.

Q12. What domestic fare types are available through the Arrangements?

A12.   The Arrangements make available a number of discounted domestic fares and negotiated fare conditions. These fares are grouped into three Fare Buckets.

See the table below for more information.

Domestic Airfare Ticket Type

Fare BucketBusinessFully Flexible
(Economy)
Semi-Restricted
(Economy)
Extra Restricted
(Economy)
Fare Conditions
  • Generous baggage allowances
  • Long TTL period
  • Changes, including name changes, permitted with short notice
  • Changes permitted with nil fees
  • Full refund available for cancellations
  • Full refund available for no-shows
  • Generous baggage allowances
  • Reasonable TTL period
  • Changes, including name changes, permitted with short notice
  • Changes permitted with nil or minimal fees
  • Cancellation refund available for some fares
  • No-show refund available for some fares
  • Reasonable baggage allowances
  • Same-day TTL
  • Changes, including name changes, permitted 24 hours prior to departure
  • Fees applicable to changes
  • Cancelation credit available for some fares
  • No-shows result in fare forfeiture
  • Limited baggage allowances
  • Instant TTL
  • Changes, including name changes, not permitted
  • Cancellations not permitted
  • No-shows result in fare forfeiture

Entities can request a copy of the Air Travel Guide from Finance, which includes further information about the fares available through the Arrangements.

Q13. How are Tickets in Credit managed through the Arrangements?

A13. QBT's credit system automatically apply available credits to future bookings. Entities can configure business rules to control how available credits are applied to future bookings.
Tickets in credit will generally expire after a period of 12 months from the original departure date. If the ticket in credit has not been utilised prior to expiry, QBT's credit system will request that taxes and any other refundable portions of the credit are returned to the entity.

Q14. When are entities required to provide estimated travel expenditure for AusTender reporting purposes?

A14.   Entities are required to report estimated travel expenditure for domestic and international air services and travel booking fees at the commencement of each contract period. Finance will notify entities when contract periods commence and AusTender figures are required.

Q15. How are Frequent Flyer Points managed through the Arrangements?

A15.   Airlines generally award the following two types of points as part of their Loyalty Programs:

Loyalty Reward Points (LRP) - also known as Frequent Flyer Points – which can be exchanged to purchase flights and upgrades.

Status Credits – which accrue in the background and contribute to tier status.

LRPs, such as Frequent Flyer Points (FFP), ceased to accrue from the introduction of the Arrangements on 1 July 2010.

In the event that a traveller receives LRPs for official travel, the entity should contact the loyalty reward program provider and request a reversal of the points. Should the loyalty reward program provider or airline be unable to assist, the entity should escalate the matter to Finance.

Q16. Can travellers use LRPs to upgrade official travel?

A16.   No. As noted in Q15 above, Loyalty Reward / Frequent Flyer points ceased to be awarded for official travel on 1 July 2010. Personally earned LRPs may not be redeemed to upgrade the class of official travel.

QBT is not permitted to accept offers from Commonwealth travel bookers to use LRPs to part-pay for new bookings, or to upgrade official travel bookings to a higher class (i.e. domestic economy to domestic business). Similarly, travellers are not to approach airline counter staff at check-in or in airline lounges seeking to redeem personal LRPs to upgrade the class of official travel.

Q17. Should Status Credits and Loyalty Reward Program offers be accepted?

A17.   Government travellers may receive promotional offers from airlines related to Status Credits and Loyalty Reward Points. Promotional offers that present Australian Government travellers options to accept bonus Status Credits or bonus Frequent Flyer Points should not be accepted. WoAG travellers should not obtain a personal benefit from Commonwealth funded activities, particularly as the acceptance of such an offer may influence the choice of airline for future official air travel.

Q18. Can APS wide promotional travel offers be accepted by APS employees?

A18.   Promotional offers from WoAG Air Travel Services panel airlines are made available to all APS officials and may be accepted. The APSC has confirmed to Finance that these offers are transparent insofar as any potential conflict of interest is likely to be mitigated by the remote nature of the relationship.

Q19. What services are available through QBT?

A19. Services available through QBT's OBT include:

  • Domestic air travel
  • Domestic car rental
  • Domestic accommodation
  • Domestic bundled services
  • International air travel (up to a total of six destinations)
  • International accommodation
  • International car rental
  • International bundled bookings

Please note that making bookings via the OBT will attract a significantly lower transaction fee compared to making the same booking offline with a QBT travel consultant.

Services available offline via QBT's travel consultants include:

  • Air travel
  • Accommodation
  • Car rental
  • Ground and water transport including rail, coach and ferry reservations

Ancillary services available through QBT include:

  • Conference bookings
  • Charter flights
  • Excess and addition baggage

Other ancillary services are available through QBT. Contact QBT or Finance for further details.

Q20 How do I access my itinerary, e-ticket and boarding pass?

A20. QBT issue itineraries and e-tickets to entities via email. Depending on the entity's configuration, QBT will email these documents to the traveller and/or the Travel Booker. Itineraries can also be access via QBT's Portal.
Boarding passes are issued only by airlines and can be collected at the airport or retrieved electronically via the airline's website or mobile app.

Q21. What do all the acronyms mean?

A21. See the table below for a list of acronyms and definitions.

AAIs

Accountable Authority Instructions

AeTM

Amadeus e-Travel Management

IBF

International Best Fare

LPF

Lowest Practical Fare

LRP

Loyalty Reward Points

OBT

Online Booking Tool

PNR

Passenger Name Record

SLA

Service Level Agreement

TTL

Ticketing Time Limit

WoAG

Whole of Australian Government

Q22. Do the Arrangements include an option for "Flying carbon neutral"

A22. The Arrangements do not cover environmental offsets. There are provisions in WoAG Air Travel Services deeds to monitor, track and report on the impact of the Commonwealth's travel on the environment, in terms of its emissions. However, the Australian Government has not yet requested reporting to this effect.

Last updated: 23 March 2017