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I’m delighted to be able to hold my hands up and say that I was wrong. Earlier, when I wrote about the latest changes to Qatar Airways’ cancellation policies, I stated that I thought one of the options was far too good to be true and that I would be very surprised if the option worked as a number of people suggested it would. Well, not only am I very surprised, I’m stunned!
OMAAT has found/been given a link to a Qatar Airways Passenger Guidelines document which is intended for travel agents dealing with various Qatar Airways flight disruptions (.pdf link) and the guidance clearly states the following:
For tickets issued on or before 30 September 2020 for travel booked through 31 December 2020, passengers can voluntarily amend their travel dates and travel route with all differences in fares, taxes, fees, surcharges waived, and all rebooking penalties waived as long as travel is completed before the end of this year.
Here’s the relevant page of the guidance:
It’s very clear that changes made to reservations that result in travel falling after 31 December 2020 will only have the rebooking penalty waived (all other parts of the fare will be repriced), but for travel in 2020 differences in fares will not be charged to customers.
That’s amazing news and it opens up a world of possibilities for anyone happy to travel in 2020 (I’m not sure I am).
As things stand, it’s possible to book a roundtrip Business Class fare between Oslo and Singapore for NOK 17,115 (~$1,675)…
…and, courtesy of the new rules Qatar Airways has put in place, it is also possible for flyers to change their destination to anywhere within 5,000 miles of Singapore without paying a dime more than they have already paid (as long as travel remains within 2020).
As this map from Great Circle Mapper shows, that opens up an incredible number of other possibilities:
A Qatar Airways customer could pay ~$1,675 and ask to change their destination to Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo, Osaka…or anywhere else Qatar Airways serves within that 5,000 mile radius.
That’s a mind-blowingly good deal.
If you’re based in the USA you could take full advantage of the amazing fare between NYC and Kiev that I recently reminded readers about (currently bookable from late October onwards) and request to be rerouted to anywhere within 5,000 miles of Kiev:
This would allow a US-based Qatar Airways customer to pay under $1,700 for a roundtrip Business Class fare between New York and anywhere the airline flies in Europe, most Qatar Airways destinations in Asia, and a significant number of the airline’s destinations in Africa.
Considering you’re guaranteed to be flying in a Qsuites cabin between New York and Doha, this is a deal we’re unlikely to see bettered any time soon.
I’m stunned that Qatar Airways is offering a rerouting/cancellation policy that’s as generous as this one but, based on what the travel industry has been told, this appears to be very real. Naturally, a key consideration here has to be how safe it will be to travel later this year and how many countries will be allowing foreign nationals to enter but, for anyone happy to take a gamble, this could be an opportunity to score a fantastic deal.