As countries move past peak health concerns, and into sustainable plans to reopen the world, the biggest threat to airlines is confidence. People aren’t sure when, or how to book, with so many unknowns still remaining. Qatar Airways is taking fantastic steps to inspire confidence in future bookings and current bookings with a variety of new measures.
Free Re-booking, Refunds, Miles, Or Boosted Vouchers
Airlines have been in the habit lately of hiding refund rules and rights, when flights are cancelled. In an impressive move, Qatar Airways has an updated “Travel With Confidence” landing page, specifically stating refund rights in the event of a cancellation, but also offering good reason to let them hold onto the money for future travel.
Any unused tickets on the airline for travel up to December 31st, 2020 can be exchanged for a voucher, with a 10% boost on the amount. This includes newly purchased tickets for travel up until those dates. Qatar Airways lays out a variety of ways you can use your current ticket, or any new tickets, should plans change, including…
Holding on to your ticket
Keep your ticket and use it when you are ready with extended ticket validity, now valid for 2 years from the date of ticket issuance for greater flexibility.
This is great news for people who wish to travel on the same route, but would like to move to a later date. This is particularly useful for travel involving Asia and Pacific, where borders may not open in 2020.
“You can change your travel date or destination free of charge, as often as you need. You can change your origin to another city within the same country or any other destination we fly to within a 5000 mile radius of your original destination.”
Qatar Airways website currently notes a 5,000 mile radius and Qatar Airways has confirmed to GSTP that this is the correct figure, against all odds!
Keep in mind this only applies for new tickets, or tickets already issued for travel currently scheduled for before the end of 2020. The catch here is that the “totally free” changes only apply if you plan to travel by the end of 2020. If that’s not your plan, you’ll be subject to fare difference, in which case the 10% boost may help.
Swap for Qmiles
“Swap your ticket for Qmiles and redeem them towards reward flights, extra baggage or cabin upgrades when the time is right. 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. Not a member? Simply join before you submit your request.”
This basically means you can buy Qatar Airways miles at 1 cent per mile, so $1000 would buy 100,000 miles. The process is “irreversible” so only go this route if you have immediate plans to use QMiles, and know how to extract solid value.
Exchange for future travel
“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”.
This is an interesting proposition, which effectively gives you a 10% bonus on the fare value of a ticket, even if you immediately request it to become a voucher. It’s worth noting that the fare is often only a percentage of the total price, so don’t think you’ll be getting $1100 for a $1000 ticket, it’ll be somewhere in between.
The key here is that Qatar Airways takes in cash, and once you accept the 10% boosted voucher, it’s non refundable, so it’s attractive to both sides.
Refund your ticket
Rest assured, we will refund your ticket to the original form of payment if your flight gets cancelled.
It’s fantastic to see an airline acknowledge their duty and legally bound rights to refund passengers when flights are cancelled. Nobody wants to book travel if they think they’ll never be able to recover funds should things go sideways, and this is a big confidence boost.
Good Moves From Qatar Airways
The devil is in the details with these things, and while Qatar Airways policy is ultimately very, very friendly towards customers, there are elements which need greater clarification. If you have a booking with the airline, or are on the fence about making one, this is an extremely helpful new set of options, but you just may need to call and get some specific answers to see how much they can be put to use for you.
Here are a few travel trends we expect to see take off as the great travel reboot begins to take shape.
Not sure why more airlines are not doing this instead of illegally holding passengers’ money without paying any interest charge (and begging governments that they are in a desperate situation, as if the passengers are not…)
I also do not clearly understand what the terms are because the language is confusing as you note. Could you update it if you hear from them? The main issue with the same country is that it puts many small countries in disadvantage, like many small european countries where there is only one international airport but countries like China and US would benefit it from this a lot. So distance measure sounds more reasonable, or they could say, closest 5 airports that Qatar Air serves or something like that. But it would be a nice deal if it is actually 5000miles. But 500 miles is too short for many airports…
Thanks for posting this, I was reading about it last night. As an example, if I wanted to book a ticket for Christmas, Europe to Australia mid Dec to return mid Jan, does this cover me should I want to change the ticket if Australia still has the 14 day quarantine period in December? Can I book now whilst the ticket is still relatively reasonable and does this mean I can hold the ticket and use it a few months later? Thanks – Nick
The requirements seems to be travel in 2020 – so pushing into Jan is not possible. I was wondering that myself as i have a GOT>DOH>PER>DOH>ARN booked for xmas (returning 2 Jan) and i wanted to start my journey in london and fly back out of syd instead of per – but the rules says 2020 travel only.
I may give Qatar a call – but as im still waiting for my march trip to be refunded im a bit p!ssed off with them at the moment…
I’ve got an arn >hk booked in November, and I could change this to London->sydney instead?
Correct, as to destination to my understanding and the underlying document
Without paying the fare difference?
Rerouting is possible free of charge on Qatar Airways operated flights only from the same country of origin and/or within 5000 (five thousand) miles radius from the original destination booked.
So, changing the origin from ARN to LON should not be possible (not same country)
Please beware. I booked a flight and tried changing the date by just a week. The US hotline quoted me a big fare difference and even the supervisor told me that the only fee they are waiving is the “change fee”.. Fare difference is only waived if your original flight was cancelled by Qatar Airways. If the agents don’t enforce the “generous” rules, they are absolutely useless..
Basically the exact opposite of the British Airways contemptuous treatment of their customers on every point!
I hope people remember when making future bookings #FlyAbBA
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