Last week I ran an article about Qatar’s new rebooking policy. At the time details were scant and the wording a bit ambiguous. Readers have kindly let me know what they have been able to do and clarification of what Qatar has said.
Edit: 6.20pm 17 May
The official Qatar policy has now been amended and is definitely of less use than before:
The offer is for new bookings or rebooking valid for tickets issued on/before 30 September 2020 for travel up to 31 December 2020.
The options are:
- Keep your ticket and use it when you are ready with the extended ticket validity, now valid for 2 years from the date of ticket issuance. You need to call to extend the validity.
- Unlimited changes. You can change your travel date or destination free of charge, as often as you need, for travel until 31 December 2020. You can change your origin to another city within the same country or any other destination we fly to within a 5,000 mile radius of your original destination.
- Swap your ticket for Qmiles and redeem them towards reward flights, extra baggage or cabin upgrades. For every 1 USD, you will earn 100 Qmiles that are valid for at least three years, so you can have the flexibility to choose how, when and for whom to redeem them.
- You can exchange your ticket for a future travel voucher with 10% additional value. Vouchers are now valid for two years from the date of voucher issuance.
- Rerouting for voluntary purposes (i.e. where there has been no flight disruption) is possible 14 (fourteen) days after making the booking. New flights must be booked in the same booking class (RBD), be operated by Qatar Airways and can be changed within the same country of origin and/or within a 5,000 (five thousand) mile radius from the original destination booking. If the same booking class is not available, a fare and taxes difference may apply.
- Rerouting following operational disruption (i.e. flight cancellation) is possible free of charge on Qatar Airways operated flights only from the same country of origin and/or within a 5,000 (five thousand) mile radius from the original destination booking.
- Rerouting is not possible free of charge if the original booking was on a fifth freedom route not touching Doha (such as PNH-SGN and vice versa; GRU-EZE and vice versa).
So far, here is what we know:
- You can indeed rebook to anywhere within 5,000 miles of your original destination and a number of people have managed this successfully
- BUT both your new and old travel have to be complete by 31 December 2020. There are no changes fees payable for new travel if your travel is complete by 31 December 2020.
- You could theoretically book to Asia and change to Australia or New Zealand if it is within 5000 miles of your original destination
- BUT you need an Australian or New Zealand passport to change it. Of course, there is a small chance this could change so there is nothing to stop you hoping to do that at a later stage this year.
- My suggestion is if you are thinking about booking something with a view to changing it, book something you would actually want to do and then have a second plan to switch it if possible.
- Some people have been offered a $100 voucher for future travel after flying the first leg.
Here is the official Qatar policy page.
So is it as amazing as it seems?
No. Not at the moment, unless you already have a booking that you wish to change. For example, I have a booking to Singapore in November. My plan was to go to Langkawi but Singapore was cheaper. So now I can change my booking to direct to Langkawi for example for free. Or I could decide to go to the Maldives instead. This would be a great deal as I paid around £1200 for my flights from Oslo and it would cost a lot more to fly to the Maldives usually. I could also decide to travel in December instead if I wanted.
If you were looking at booking something new, Qatar have removed pretty much all the cheap fares and business class prices start at around £2000 upwards even from the cheapest ex-EU locations. Sometimes they do this before a new sale, or more likely they have tried to limit the damage from people trying to take the fullest advantage of the new offer. Hopefully, they will have some new sale prices soon.