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Qatar Airways has rightly faced a good deal of criticism recently for being less than forthcoming with refunds that passengers are entitled to and for being unnecessarily opaque and hurried when it comes to how it has been dealing with elite status extensions…but the airline is in the road to redemption.
Qatar Airways has now announced that in place of the targeted status extension offers that it was sending out to elites earlier this month, the airline is now extending all Privilege Club elites statues that are set to expire by 31 January 2021 by a period of 12 months.
Under the original status extension announcement, Qatar Airways elites were offered status extensions of up to 6 months, it was unclear if all elites were being offered the same deal and the airline was forcing flyers to “claim their offer” by 24 March (I have no idea why).
This latest announcement is considerably more flyer-friendly.
“Qatar Airways’ loyalty programme, Privilege Club, is going further to honour the loyalty of its members by extending or reinstating their tier status for 12 months, for memberships due to expire before 31 January 2021. Members can retain their current tier benefits such as upgrades, Shop & Pay with Qmiles, extra baggage, lounge access, and more, for 12 months.“
That’s pretty clear – Everyone who has Privilege Club status that runs out by 31 January 2021 is getting their status extended by 12 months and that should relieve any anxiety that some may have been having about retaining status for next year.
In addition, Qatar Airways has also announced two positive changes to its Qcredits (credits which can be used for upgrades, lounge access, extra baggage allowances etc…):
- Qcredits held by Gold and Platinum members will now be valid for 2 years (as long as members retain their status)
- Qcredits are now refundable
It should be also noted that as an enhancement to its “travel with confidence” campaign Qatar Airways is now offering passengers a bonus if they accept a voucher for future travel in the place of a refund.
“If you have already booked or planning to book for travel up to 30 September 2020, you can choose one of the following options:*.
1. Change your travel date free of charge
2. Exchange for a future travel voucher with 10% additional value.
3. Refund your ticket“
Here are the headline terms and conditions:
- Valid for tickets issued on/before 30 September 2020.
- Valid for travel on/before 30 September 2020.
- Valid for any of Qatar Airways’ fares only purchased either directly from Qatar Airways or through travel agents.
- If you have booked your ticket through a travel agent, please contact your travel agent to amend your booking or exchange your ticket for a travel voucher.
- If you have booked your ticket on qatarairways.com or through any of our offices, you can re-book or exchange your ticket for a travel voucher by calling any of our offices or our Contact Center.
- Rebooking fees will be waived if reservations are amended at least 3 days prior to departure (for travel on/before 30 September 2020).
Full terms and conditions can be found on this Qatar Airways webpage
I think it’s a bad idea for passengers to give up a cash refund for a travel voucher (even if the voucher offers a bonus) but some may have a different risk profile to me and feel differently.
We’re starting to see more and more airlines offering status extensions to their elite members but we have yet to hear from the likes of American, Delta, United, Air France/KLM or Lufthansa so it will be interesting to see how long it is before these guys feel compelled to act (in one way or another).
As far as Qatar Airways goes, it’s good to see the airline realizing that its original status extension plan was inadequate (although not quite as inadequate as the plan BA has come up with) and that it needed to do more to keep its elites happy…now let’s hope a few of the big US and European airlines decide to follow the same path.