Ok, so since Qatar Airways announced their fantastic new booking policies, frequent flyers and avgeeks around the world have gone crazy. No surprise since the prospect of cheap luxury travel is always something to look forward to when you’re stuck inside for months.
Everyone has been taking advantage of the amazing 5,000-mile radius rule Qatar Airways has implemented (see my last post for all the details). To quickly summarise it:
- You are entitled to unlimited changes with no fees or the need to pay a fare difference on or before December 31, 2020. That’s what our friend Donald would call: huuuuge!
- Flight cancelled? You get a full refund or a voucher with 10% extra value.
- If you change your mind, a travel voucher with 10% extra value.
- Change your departure city to another city in the same country
- Last, the 5,000-mile radius rule we all love. Change your destination city free of charge as long as it’s within 5,000 miles from the original destination. If that isn’t generous… I don’t know what is?
- For all the T&Cs visit this page on Qatar Airways
There are many crazy routes and deals you can fly thanks to this 5,000-mile radius rule, but my favourite (considering I’m based in Perth) is the following.
Colombo (Sri Lanka) to anywhere in Europe for AU$741. One way? No, return, in business and first if you want to play it like that.
How it’s done
The first step is to book a cheap business + first-class ticket from CMB (Colombo) to MCT (Muscat). Since there are no direct flights, you will, of course, go via Doha.
The second leg from Doha to Muscat is classed as F (first class), this means we can later change that to first class on either the London or Frankfurt routes. The only problem with that is that Qatar Airways might not fly any of its A380’s for some time to come.
Alternatively, you can route to any of the European destinations. Many of these routes are running Qsuites which is arguably better than their first class product anyway.
Once you have your ticket booked, you will need to call Qatar Airways and request for your destination to be changed from Muscat to whatever European city you had in mind. This is possible since they are all within the 5,000-mile radius from Muscat.
More Deals Like it?
There are plenty! Five thousand miles is a pretty considerable distance, so play around with ranges on http://www.gcmap.com/ and see if you can uncover some deals routes. The key is to find original routes that are cheap to fly in premium classes; once you have those, you can figure out the options based on the original destination.
Changing your ticket to 2021
There’s been a lot of talk about if it will be possible to change your ticket for travel into 2021. The T&Cs says that the re-routing rules are valid until December 31 2020. However, there’s a contradiction message which reads: Keep your ticket and use it when you are ready with our extended ticket validity, now valid for 2 years from the date of ticket issuance for greater flexibility.
This makes me think that we can potentially “stack” these benefits. So it would go something like this: first, you book, then you change the destinations, and later you change the date. Anyway, let’s see! In the worse case, I’ll take a voucher with 10% added travel credit.