Qantas with PayPal: is it worth using?
The pros and cons of Qantas' newest payment option.
Qantas has begun offering PayPal as a payment choice for flight bookings, following a recent trial with a small group of users.
That means you can use your PayPal account to pay for your flight, drawing on a credit card, a debit card or your existing PayPal balance.
If your PayPal-registered credit card can earn Qantas Points, you'll also earn points for the booking. So why might you consider this option?
Qantas PayPal rates are lower than for regular credit cards
The most obvious reason is that the credit card fees charged are lower. Qantas charges 0.69% of the ticket value when paying with PayPal, versus 1.03% when using a credit card. On a fare of $200 (about the lowest you'd ever pay for a return with Qantas), that amounts to $1.38 with PayPal, versus $2.20 for the credit card.
Two caveats: these fees are capped at $11 for domestic and trans-Tasman flights, or $70 for international flights. In practice, that means if your domestic/trans-Tasman flight costs more than $1,595 or your international flight costs more than $10,144 (both possible with Business flights or bookings for multiple people) , there's no saving from using PayPal.
Secondly, that assumes you're booking in Australian dollars. If you book a flight with Qantas that starts from a non-Australian destination, you'll be charged in the local currency for your country of origin. In that case, PayPal will charge you a conversion fee of 4% above the exchange rate. Whether that's cheaper than your credit card will depend on its exchange rate and international fees. (Note that credit cards with no international transaction fees typically don't let you earn reward points.)
If you're paying by debit card, it's a different story altogether. Qantas charges 0.36% of the ticket value for debit card payments, which is lower than the PayPal rate. So you'll pay lower fees by going direct through Qantas. (If you want to avoid fees altogether, you can use POLi or BPAY, though the latter only works for bookings 7 days or more in advance.)
Where you can't use PayPal with Qantas
You can use PayPal to pay for flights, or for the cash portion of Points Plus Pay seats. You can't use PayPal to pay the carrier charges for Classic Reward seats. You also can't use it for multi-city bookings or around-the-world flights. PayPal isn't available for non-flight options such as Qantas Wineor Qantas Insurance either.
Is paying for Qantas with PayPal worth it?
Fees aside, there's the question of convenience. Qantas' site and app store your credit card details for future use when you're logged in, so booking with your preferred credit card doesn't require any more effort than entering the CVV security number each time you make a booking. Using PayPal will require you to click through several screens.
Bottom line? If you're paying with a credit card, then the PayPal option may be worth exploring to save on fees. For debit card users, sticking with Qantas itself will be a little cheaper. Just remember: you won't earn any points that way.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.