Qatar Airways has added additional restrictions to its “Travel with Confidence” policy, the second set of changes in less than 48 hours.
The new T&Cs stipulate a 14-day waiting period in the case of voluntary reroutings, and the need to rebook into the same fare class.
I personally think that much of the allure of these bookings has gone ever since fifth freedom flights were excluded, but if you’re still thinking of getting onboard, here’s what you need to know.
Revisions to Qatar Airways’ “Travel with Confidence” policy
Here’s the Qatar Airways “Travel with Confidence” policy as it now stands:
In red, I’ve marked the changes that were made on 15 May, and in orange, the changes added on 17 May.
The latest changes stipulate that reroutings for voluntary purposes can only be done 14 days after the booking has been made. This means no more calling up customer service immediately after you’ve booked to swap your destination/origin. It also means greater “holding risk”, insofar as no one knows what further changes Qatar will make during that time.
Furthermore, it states that new flights must be booked in the same booking class as what was originally ticketed. Contrast this to the original policy, where they’d just rebook you into whatever was available, with no additional fares (or even taxes) applicable.
|💡 By the way, the “RBD” mentioned in the T&Cs doesn’t mean “R, B, or D” fare codes. RBD is a technical term referring to booking class; it’s short for “reservation booking designator“. You can find the booking class on your e-ticket. In my case, I’ve been booked into ‘I’. This stayed the same even when I changed SGN-PNH to SGN-DOH-SYD.|
This one’s potentially problematic, depending what fare bucket you originally booked into. Based on reports on Flyertalk, those who booked into ‘R’ fares are not seeing any space for future dates. It could simply be the result of the feeding frenzy we saw over the past few days, or Qatar has zeroed them out.
The advice I gave a few days ago still holds- if you were lucky enough to book and change a fifth freedom ticket, it’s best to hunker down for now until things become more clear. We haven’t heard any reports of Qatar Airways cancelling existing tickets, so that’s a good thing. However, the true test will come when people start flying these, and we should get some data points towards Q4 of this year.
Look out for your bonus voucher too
On another note, I was surprised to receive an email about a US$100 voucher a couple days after booking. Apparently this is part of a separate campaign which awards a voucher and miles depending on your status in the Qatar Privilege Club program:
- Platinum: US$175 + 12,000 Qmiles
- Gold: US$150 + 10,000 Qmiles
- Silver: US$125 + 8,000 Qmiles
- Burgundy: US$100 + 6,000 Qmiles
- Not a member: US$100 + 5,000 Qmiles upon joining with the code THANKU20
This is valid for all bookings made by 31 May 2020, with travel by 15 December 2020. You’ll only receive the actual voucher code 48 hours after completing the first flight of your original trip, so sit tight.
Qatar continues to roll back its admittedly very generous rebooking policy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually get rid of the 5,000 mile rebooking sphere. Whether they’re able to apply the revised policy retroactively to tickets purchased on the basis of the original terms is debatable, but that’s something for the lawyers to work out.
As for me, I’m treating this like a mistake fare. If Qatar decides to honor it (and they have honored these in the past), great. If they don’t, well, I’ll at least get a refund (if they cancel the tickets) or a 10% credit bonus (if they don’t cancel but instead specify that everyone has to fly their original routes- hard to see happening, but who knows).
It’s going to be a long wait till December…