Over the past several months we’ve seen airlines introduce flexible booking policies to make people comfortable with the idea of planning future travel in these uncertain times. Arguably Qatar Airways at one point had the world’s most generous policy in this regard, though restrictions were eventually added.
Well, there’s good and bad news when it comes to Qatar Airways’ “Travel With Confidence” policy — the good news is that it has been extended, while the bad news is that it isn’t as generous as it used to be.
Qatar Airways’ incredibly generous policy
In May I wrote about Qatar Airways’ unbelievably generous rebooking policy. With this policy, you could book a ticket and do any of the following immediately after booking, should you no longer want to fly that exact itinerary:
- You could hold onto your ticket value for two years from the date of issuance, so you could travel at a later date
- You could exchange your ticket for a future travel credit, and get a further 10% bonus
- You could make unlimited changes to the travel dates and destinations free of charge; not just that, but you could change the origin to another city within the same country, or could change the destination to fly to anywhere within a 5,000 mile radius of your original destination
- You could swap your ticket for Qmiles, with each USD worth of airfare getting you 100 Qmiles, so that’s a rate of one cent per mile
- If your flight got canceled, you could get a cash refund
The most intriguing option was the ability to change the destination on your ticket to anywhere within 5,000 miles of your destination. Readers had incredible success with this — for example, a reader was able to swap a Philadelphia to Kiev ticket for a Chicago to Hong Kong ticket.
Not surprisingly, Qatar Airways adjusted its policy after a few days, though it was still quite generous. With the new policy you could only voluntarily change your routing at least 14 days after you booked your ticket. This prevented people from booking a ticket and then changing it an hour later.
Qatar Airways let you change your destination to anywhere within 5,000 miles
Qatar Airways extends & adjusts rebooking policy
There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that Qatar Airways’ rebooking policy has been extended:
- Previously it was valid for tickets booked September 30, 2020, for travel through December 31, 2020
- Now it’s valid for tickets booked through December 31, 2020, and for travel through December 31, 2021
The bad news is that it’s significantly less generous than before. With this new policy:
- If you are a Qatar Airways Privilege Club member, you may change the original destination within the same country or same region
- If you are not a Qatar Airways Privilege Club member, you may change the original destination within the same country or a 500 (five hundred) mile radius from the original destination within the same region
- Regions are defined as Africa, America, Australasia, Europe, Far East, GCC (inclusive of Levant, Iran, Iraq), Indian Subcontinent
Anyone can join Qatar Airways Privilege Club, so that shouldn’t be a barrier here. In other words, everyone should be able to change their destination to somewhere in the same region.
I’d say this is still potentially quite generous, though not as generous as being able to change your destination to anywhere within 5,000 miles. With this new policy you can still book a ticket to Casablanca and reroute to Cape Town, for example.
Qatar Airways has extended its rebooking policy to allow travelers to change their destination at no cost. This is now valid for tickets booked through the end of the year, for travel through the end of next year.
The catch is that you can no longer reroute to anywhere within 5,000 miles of your destination. Rather you can now only reroute to a destination within the same region. This is potentially still quite lucrative, though not as lucrative as it used to be.
If you’ve booked a Qatar Airways ticket in recent months, have you used this generous rebooking policy?
(Tip of the hat to Jimmy)