My Annoyingly Foolish Mistake You Should Learn From


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I spend a lot of my time searching for great Business Class fares (sometimes Premium Economy fares) to various destinations around the world and I like to think that I have a fair amount of experience when it comes to (a) finding great deals and (b) booking the deals once I’ve found them. Still, sometimes I screw up.

I’m in the middle of planning a trip to Angkor Wat for 2020 and I had managed to find a great set of flights that worked fantastically well for me.

A Qatar Airways Business Class fare (which I wrote about 10 days ago) would fly me between Europe and Bangkok for just $1,594 and, from there, Bangkok Airways would ferry me to/from Siem Reap for a 4-night stay in the vicinity of Angkor Wat.

Things really couldn’t have been looking better.

  • At ~$1,594 for roundtrip Business Class travel between Oslo and Bangkok the Qatar Airways fare was great value.
  • The itinerary didn’t require any long layovers
  • 3 of the 4 long-haul sectors were to be flown in the excellent Qatar Airways A350/787 Business Class cabins….and the chances are that the A330 flying the 4th sector wouldn’t be operating the route come 2020.
  • I was scheduled to arrive in Bangkok early enough to have a good rest before flying on to Siem Reap the following day.
  • I’d earn a massive 560 Tier Points from my Qatar Airways Business Class flights – over 37% of the Tier Points I’ll need to re-qualify for British Airways Gold status in 2020.

The only issue I had was choosing between two sets of dates that worked with my other plans (so far) for 2020.

On the face of things, I had no need to hurry my decision as the Qatar Airways fare rules clearly showed that the fare just had to be booked before 30 June 2019. I had plenty of time to mull things over and to do some research into the hotels I could book for the two sets of dates I’d selected.

Qatar Airways 787 Business Class

Over this past weekend, I made my decision as to which dates I’d fly and I headed over to QatarAirways.com to book the flights.

There was a small problem.

The best fare on offer was now around $300 more.

This wasn’t just a price increase – the fare I had planned to book had been pulled.

Grrrrrr……

$300 probably doesn’t sound like much in the grand scheme of things but…

  1. I don’t like paying more than I absolutely have to for my trips (that’s partly how I can afford to fly around as much as I do),
  2. $300 is almost 20% more than I had planned to pay
  3. Because I keep a very close eye on Qatar Airways Business Class prices I know that an $1,800+ Business Class fare for travel between Europe and Bangkok isn’t a good deal at all.

To put the price increase I inflicted upon myself in a little more perspective…

$300 represents 75% of what the Le Meridien is currently charging for 4 nights in Siem Reap and, as I’ll be using the Citi Prestige’s ‘4th night free’ benefit to book the property, the $300 is actually close to 100% of what my accommodation is set to cost.

Le Meridien Angkor Wat – Image courtesy of Marriott

Bottom Line

I really should have known better…and I feel particularly dumb for not having booked the fare when I first saw it.

I know as well as anyone that just because a fare says that it has to be booked by a specific date doesn’t guarantee that the fare will be around for that long, so I shouldn’t have procrastinated.

I’m not sure why I thought it was safe to wait 4 – 5 days before I booked the fare (clearly I wasn’t thinking straight) but it’s a mistake I won’t be repeating….and you should learn from my mistake too.

I’m definitely still going to go to Angkor Wat (I’m too excited by the idea of the trip not to go) so the only question I now need to answer is this:

Do I swallow the $300 fare increase or do I wait a few weeks to give Qatar Airways a chance to offer another great deal to Bangkok?

I’m tempted to wait as I’m reasonably sure I’ll find a better fare sooner or later….but then waiting hasn’t exactly worked out great for me this time has it?! 🙂

3 COMMENTS

  1. A tough one for sure. Given your comparative lack of flexibility, waiting too long could end up costing you more. If the rates at the Le Meridien are cancelable without penalty, could you make a second set of reservations, then cancel the one you don’t need once your flights are finalized? The hotel can be awfully popular in Winter, and availability can dry up. My wife and I stayed at the hotel in January and the hotel tried to walk me in advance via email. As a Titanium via SPG, I advised them of the cash and points expense that Marriott charges to walk me, and they decided to leave my (cheap on points, again through SPG) reservation intact. Nice spa on property, and the pool is lovely and largely empty after a hot day exploring temples.

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