Home Airfare Deals Qatar Airways Appears To Be Pulling Its Best Business Class Deals

Qatar Airways Appears To Be Pulling Its Best Business Class Deals


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Last Thursday, we discovered that Qatar Airways had introduced one of the most amazing cancellations/rebooking policies most of us have ever seen which opened up a wealth of possibilities for anyone willing to book speculative travel for later this year. Within 24 hours of this policy being confirmed, we started to see the airline taking measures to limit how easy this policy is to game with a number of rule changes and, over the weekend, it looks like the airline went even further.

Late on Friday, Qatar Airways introduced two amendments to its incredible cancellation/rebooking policy:

  1. Voluntary date and routing changes can only be made 14 (or more) days after a booking was first made.
  2. Rebookings can only be made into the same booking class as was first booked (if you booked a deeply discounted Business Class fare – R class – any new routing would have to have R-class fare availability for a rebooking to be possible)

(HT: OMAAT)

Point 1 isn’t really an issue but point 2 will probably stop a lot of customers from finding super-cheap Business Class fares which they then can change to considerably more expensive Business Class fares 14 days later.

Still, none of this is too drastic or dramatic and, all other things being equal, this should still leave plenty of opportunities to make the most of the great cancellation/rebooking policy…but all other things may not be equal.

Just before I wrote Thursday’s post on the new Qatar Airways cancellation/rebooking policy, I checked the Business Class fares on a number of routes that are well known to be a gold mine for great Qatar Airways deals. Sure enough, as I expected, it was easy to find Business Class fares between the Nordic Countries and various cities in Asia for under $1,600 for travel from September onwards. The best deals were for travel to cities like Singapore, Bangkok, and Phuket, but there were good fares to Beijing, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong too…but not any more.

Over the weekend something changed and a quick search using Google Flights showed that most of these great fares had suddenly disappeared. Where fares had been as low as $1,483 for roundtrip travel, these are the best Qatar Airways fares on offer for the same destinations now:

  • Oslo – Bangkok – $1,954
  • Stockholm – Singapore – $1,992
  • Stockholm – Hong Kong – $1,939
  • Oslo – Beijing – $2,571

The one route on which I can still see a good fare is for travel between Helsinki and Shanghai where a roundtrip Business Class booking can still cost as little as $1,583.

Based on the rules that I checked on Thursday, all of the great Qatar Airways fares I had spotted (for travel from the Nordic and elsewhere) were scheduled to be available through 31 May but, from what I’ve seen, it looks like Qatar Airways has been purging a lot of the the “R Class” Business Class fares from its inventory over the weekend and just leaving the more expensive I Class, C Class and D Class fares in place. (VFTW noticed that the great USA – Kiev fare disappeared over the weekend too)

This is less of an issue now that rebookings have to be made into the same fare class as the class that was originally booked, but it will still make it a lot harder for travelers to book some of the more exceptional deals (e.g book the R-fare between Helsinki and Shanghai and exchange it for an R-fare between Helsinki and Sydney), and it also means that all the travelers who have no interest in making the most of the cancellation/rebooking policy and just want a great deal, will find it a lot harder to book the kinds of cheap fares that were available just a few days ago.

Bottom Line

There’s no doubt in my mind that Qatar Airways knew what it was doing when it unveiled its new cancellation/rebooking policy and that the airline fully expected a small number of travelers to take advantage of the airline’s generosity. However, based on what we have been seeing over the weekend, it may be that the airline is having second thoughts and is now keen to limit the scope to which its policy can be gamed without having to retract the whole policy.

Link to the new Qatar Airways cancellation/rebooking policy

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Imagine that… people taking advantage of a deal, with bloggers saying things like ‘I think it’s totally ok, it’s moral, the airlines know what they are doing’

    You guys all promoted dishonest behavior.
    Just because Qatar seemed ok with it, didn’t make it honest.

    I’m going to book some Qatar paid business stuff this week – but I’m going to pay full price and fly from the place I want, to the place I want.

    You know, being honest. Not morally shady like every blog was saying was ‘totally fine, it’s ok to be dishonest because the airline knows you are being dishonest’

    Good grief

    • What evidence do you have to suggest that Qatar Airways didn’t know exactly how some people would use its new cancellation policy? The mere fact that, despite all the publicity you have unilaterally decided is “dishonest”, the airline hasn’t stopped the system from being used as described would suggest that the airline knows exactly what it’s doing.

      Did it ever occur to your sanctimonious mind that the airline wants as much publicity as it can get which is why it has brought in a policy that’s so out of the ordinary that it was guaranteed to get everyone in the miles/points/travel blogosphere talking about it?

      The amount of free publicity that Qatar Airways is getting from this move will so outweigh the incredibly small number of people (comparatively speaking) that will successfully game this new policy that this is amost certainly (a) very deliberate move by the airline and (b) very positive for the airline.

      • I should add that all this moralizing is more than a little amusing coming form you.

        Despite most of the world being in agreement that social distancing is the best way to slow down and prevent the spread of the virus that is ravaging the planet, you’ve decided that you know better and are bragging (on multiple blogs) of all the non-essential air travel you’re doing right now.

        If it’s all the same with you I’ll take my moral directions from people who aren’t so convinced that they always know what’s best and who actually show some care for people other than themselves.

  2. Do you know if you booked on May 15 when the May 13 rules were out are you covered under that policy?

    That still allowed lowest RBD so I bought this anticipating I could book into J C D or I if necessary.

    I booked through my travel agency and no one can get a straight answer.

    • I can’t get a straight answer either. I’ve talked to a couple of contacts at the airline but they’re not proving to be particulalry useful in this respect. I’ll be sure to report back if I get any more info.

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