Qatar Airways Extends But Modifies Generous Rebooking Policy

Filed Under: Qatar

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.

Bottom line

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)

  1. In these uncertain times any airline that does not offer full cash refund is not generous enough!Qatar Airways only offers a cash refund if they cancel a flight. What if the passenger no longer wants to travel at all? Even through next year. Airlines should offer a refund.Period.

  2. @Ben do you know if this new policy pertains to tickets that were originally booked back in May? If a ticket was booked in May for travel in Nov or Dec, are we able to change them per 5000 mile policy still or just to the new policy?

  3. after i booked a ticket, they changed it to say no open-jaw tickets allowed. that really annoyed me. Open jaw was about the same price, and only mildly more convenient. With the new rule, I guess I’ve lost my rights.

  4. First point under updated T&Cs: Unlimited route change option is only applicable when your original travel has been impacted. Sounds like it is not possible to voluntary reroute unless your originally booked flight is cancelled/changed by the airline.

  5. Actually they define it: Impacted travel means flight cancellation for operational reason and/or airport closures; schedule changes; travel restrictions imposed by government authorities outside passenger’s control; passengers testing positive for COVID-19.

  6. @JimC origin change still possible however may only be possible in case of involuntary changes to booking. This document has the examples however does not clearly define the regions (what is Australasia vs. Far East and Indian subcontinent).

  7. Why have you not mentioned that this new change allowance only applies if your travel has been ‘impacted’? I would say this marks a huge difference and does not mean that you can just change a flight to Casablanca with a flight to Capetown unless your trip has been ‘impacted’…

  8. Pre-COVID, I purchased LAX-DOH-BKK RT for mid-November.

    Although my flights have NOT been cancelled yet, Thailand certainly is not going to accept a “disease-ridden American” in about 7 weeks (LOL)

    My plan was to wait and see how they handle it, but the fare was so great (originally scheduled as Q-Suites on all 4 legs) that I would prefer to just change the dates to sometime around mid-August 2021.

    I don’t think the changes have any impact on me, do they?

  9. NOT 5000 miles anymore??? I tried within 4200 miles in July many times and they ALWAYS denied… This is Fraud. I booked business class and now I’m screwed with spending $4000 … And now within the same region??? Meaning what??? Baltimore-DC region??? How do they define same
    Regions now? Grrrr

  10. I trust that folks like me who booked way back when the policy was first introduced (thanks to Ben’s tip-off) will still have the original promise honoured by Qatar Airways.

  11. 6 weeks ago I was denied check-in by Qatar in Manila due to not having been told I needed a PCR test – a policy brought in a few days earlier. I flew with Cathay Pacific the following day (no PCR test required) and Qatar gave me a full cash refund within 2 weeks. The silly thing is they require the PCR test to have been done at most 96 hours prior to the flight, but at the time the waiting list for testing in Manila was more than a week ! Now I’m about to head back to Philippines, I can’t risk booking a return flight with Qatar due to the testing requirement. Nice to be back on Cathay though – always a firm favorite and thankfully not making a song and dance over big pharma / globalist induced hysteria 😉

  12. Per my earlier comment, I am booked LAX-DOH-BKK and back.
    I just called about pushing my flight back to next year – same route’; just different dates.
    Contrary to the implication in this post that I could change it with ease, they are not charging a change fee, but ARE charging the difference in fare.
    People who booked a cheap fare and are hoping to “upgrade” it are going to be sorely disappointed.
    For me, my cheap (2500 RT) fare isn’t going to cover HALF of a fare next year on the same route!

  13. @Craig, interesting. So even if you found another date with a “Business Saver” fare they asked you for the fare difference? I was of the understanding that as long as its the same Booking class no fare difference is payable? I was thinking of doing something similar but if they are charging fare difference there is no point…

  14. Shocking airline, clearly says when booking that any changes can be made without charges, book with confidence, even today I go on their website and in the terms it says in the terms that I am entitled to a refund but when you try to speak to them they are clueless about it. What a pathetic airline and these clowns think they were going to take on Emirates.

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